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  1. #1
    snoopya1984 is offline Member
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    Default "My teacher told me I am a good student."

    Are the tenses in this sentence acceptable?or should past simple be used (I was a good student)?

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "My teacher told me I am a good student."

    When the situation reported is still true, we can, but don't have to, backshift. Both 'am' and 'was' are fine.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "My teacher told me I am a good student."

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopya1984 View Post
    Are the tenses in this sentence acceptable?or should past simple be used (I was a good student)?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) May I add a note to the moderator's excellent answer?

    (2) I am a learner. I like clear rules. Your students also probably feel the same.

    So maybe it would give your students peace of mind to follow the "rule":

    Since "told" is in the past, make it "was."

    (3) When your students learn more English, then they will be able to understand

    that many native speakers feel more comfortable using "am" if the situation -- as

    the moderator told us -- "is still true."

    P.S. Of course, there are exceptions. You have to say:

    My teacher told me that the moon is X miles from the earth. (That situation will be true

    forever -- presumably.)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "My teacher told me I am a good student."

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Of course, there are exceptions. You have to say:

    My teacher told me that the moon is X miles from the earth. (That situation will be true

    forever -- presumably.)
    We are probably more likely to use the present tense there, but we don't have to. 'My teacher told me that the moon was X miles from the earth' is acceptable.

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