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  1. #1
    sb70012 is offline Banned
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    Default He wanted to know where I was born.

    10. Direct = "Where were you born?" he asked me.
    Indirect = He wanted to know where I was born.

    Source: http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_p...ted-speech.php

    As you know we change the tense while converting a direct speech into an indirect speech.
    I think the blue part should have been "had been". Because the first sentence or the direct sentence has used
    simple past. So for indirect speech we should go one step further back which is past perfect (had been).

    Aren't I right?

  2. #2
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: He wanted to know where I was born.

    Quote Originally Posted by sb70012 View Post
    10. Direct = "Where were you born?" he asked me.
    Indirect = He wanted to know where I was born.

    Source: http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_p...ted-speech.php

    As you know we change the tense while converting a direct speech into an indirect speech.
    I think the blue part should have been "had been". Because the first sentence or the direct sentence has used
    simple past. So for indirect speech we should go one step further back which is past perfect (had been).

    Aren't I right?
    I know that the rules for indirect speech usually require backshifting. However, there are two things about this example that make backshifting less important. First, it is obvious that your birth preceded the conversation. Second, the place of your birth is never going to change.

  3. #3
    sb70012 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: He wanted to know where I was born.

    Is it incorrect if I write "had been born"?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: He wanted to know where I was born.

    Quote Originally Posted by sb70012 View Post
    Is it incorrect if I write "had been born"?
    No, that would be correct. I would probably use the other, though.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: He wanted to know where I was born.

    You will see more backshifting from present to past than from past to past perfect, in general.
    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.

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: He wanted to know where I was born.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    You will see more backshifting from present to past than from past to past perfect, in general.
    I agree. I think that in AmE we tend to use the past perfect (and even the present perfect) less often than they use it in BrE.

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