Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default When reported speech and third conditional come together...

    Hello, everyone.

    We know, as a general rule, when we change a sentence from direct speech into indirect speech, we have to move the tenses in the quotes backwards, if the main clause is in past tense.

    She said:"I am twenty years old."
    She said that she was twenty years old.
    How should we make the change if a direct speech contains a hypothetical conditional sentence?

    My guess is that we treat it as we would do to other ordinary direct speeches. Here are some examples where second conditional sentences appear in direct speeches.

    She says:"If I were you, I wouldn't do it."
    She said that if she were me, she wouldn't do it.

    She said:"If I were you, I wouldn't do it."
    She said that if she had been me, she wouldn't have done it.
    Then when it comes to third conditional sentences, I am not quite certain whether it's still correct to follow the same route.

    She says:"If I had been there to help you, you wouldn't have lost the battle."
    She says that if she had been there to help me, I wouldn't have lost the battle.

    She said:"If I had been there to help you, you wouldn't have lost the battle."
    She said that if the had been there to help me, I wouldn't have lost the battle.
    The last two sentences especially make me feel uncomfortable. I know that if in the quoted part of a direct speech the past perfect is used, we have to keep the same tense even when the main clause is in past tense, for we can't shift the past perfect backwards any further. But I have never seen sentences like these before.

    What would you think of this question? I would be so glad to hear your comments.

    Many thanks

    Richard

  2. #2
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: When reported speech and third conditional come together...

    Would anybody be kind to share his thoughts with me?

    Many thanks

    Richard

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    17,304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: When reported speech and third conditional come together...

    I don't think you'll like this answer, because the answer is "it depends."

    Does the opportunity to "do it" still exist?
    If so, then use: She said that if she were me, she wouldn't do it.
    You could still say something like "She usualy gives good advice, but I'm still undecided."



    Has the opportunity to do it (regardless of whether you did it or not) past?
    If so, then use: She said that if she had been me, she wouldn't have done it.
    You could at that point say something like "I'm glad I listened to her. If I had done it, it would have turned out horribly." or "I'm glad I didn't follow her advice. I did it, and it turned out great."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: When reported speech and third conditional come together...

    Hello, Barb_D.

    I forgot to mention that I am with you on this one.

    I have thought about this issue again in the past few days. Now it seems to me that we would have the same reported speech sentence whether we follow that tense changing rule or not.

    She said:"If I had been there to help you, you wouldn't have lost the battle."
    It's quite clear that the imaginary situation was set before the time she uttered the words. So, if we want to honestly express her meaning in a reported sentence, we would have She said if had been there to help you, you wouldn't have lost the battle, as you pointed out.

    Even if I decide to follow another rule and want to move backwards the tenses in the quoted part of the sentence, I can't move them back any further. We would still have She said if had been there to help you, you wouldn't have lost the battle.

    I guess my question is really a bit silly and meaningless.

    Richard

Similar Threads

  1. Conditional clause in reported speech
    By sbrodsky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Aug-2010, 15:02
  2. [Grammar] A conbination of second conditional and reported speech
    By cubezero3 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-Jun-2010, 17:06
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 22-Nov-2008, 19:35
  4. reported speech and conditional
    By bosun in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 22-Mar-2008, 15:30
  5. Reported speech vs. 2nd conditional
    By Katz in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-May-2007, 04:48

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •