# Thread: Confusin while converting direct imperatives to indirect.

1. ## Confusin while converting direct imperatives to indirect.

************************************************** ************
Write each sentence in indirect speech:

8. Direct = Nick said, “Please don’t ask how the meeting went.”
************************************************** ************
Write each of the following in direct speech:

3. Indirect = Cousins said not to lose hope when a doctor says survival is impossible.
Direct = Cousins said, “Don’t lose hope when a doctor says survival is impossible.” (Answer Key)
************************************************** *************
Write each sentence in indirect speech:

4. Direct = Dad said, “Hurry up or we will be late"
Indirect = Dad told us to hurry up or we would be late. (Answer Key)
************************************************** ************
Hi,
I have encountered a big problem while teaching direct and indirect imperatives, and need your help.
The above ones are the practices in the book which I teach. My student asked me a question which I couldn't give him a logical answer and we both got confused.

My student: Sir, we usually convert tenses when changing direct to indirect right?
Me: "Right"
My student: "Then why in number 8 it's ok to use two senses (Had gone/ went) but in number 3 and 4 we can not change the tense? I mean why in number 3 we can't say (said-was) or why in number 4 we can't say (will) but (would)? Why in number 8 two tenses both are ok to be used but in 3 and 4 we can only use one tense? Isn't it confusing or hard for we? In exam if we see a direct imperative then how should we be sure that while converting it to an indirect imperative we can use only one tense or both two tenses are ok to be used? If in number 8 indirect, two tenses are ok to be used, then why in number 3 and 4, two tenses can not be correct?"

That was the time when I got confused myself too and couldn't answer him.
Would you please be nice enough to help me on that one? What should answer him?
(This problem happens to my students only in indirect imperatives not simple quotes)

Source: Summit 2B (by Joan Saslo and Allen Ascher) Pearson
Longman Press, Unit 8, Direct and Indirect Speeches
.

Thank you.

2. ## Re: Confusin while converting direct imperatives to indirect.

(Not a Teacher)

When you're directly quoting someone, you will, of course, use the same tenses they used in their statement. However, if you're paraphrasing someone, you will match the tenses of the indirect quote to that of the sentence, be it past, present, or future.

Imperatives are always present tense, to my knowledge.

The part starting with 'when' is a subordinate clause, I believe. Their verb tense may be different from the main clause. I'm not an expert, however, so I will defer to the professional educators on this site.

3. ## Re: Confusin while converting direct imperatives to indirect.

Originally Posted by sb70012
************************************************** ************
Write each sentence in indirect speech:

8. Direct = Nick said, “Please don’t ask how the meeting went.”
************************************************** ************
Write each of the following in direct speech:

3. Indirect = Cousins said not to lose hope when a doctor says survival is impossible.
Direct = Cousins said, “Don’t lose hope when a doctor says survival is impossible.” (Answer Key)
************************************************** *************
Write each sentence in indirect speech:

4. Direct = Dad said, “Hurry up or we will be late"
Indirect = Dad told us to hurry up or we would be late. (Answer Key)
************************************************** ************
Hi,
I have encountered a big problem while teaching direct and indirect imperatives, and need your help.
The above ones are the practices in the book which I teach. My student asked me a question which I couldn't give him a logical answer and we both got confused.

My student: Sir, we usually convert tenses when changing direct to indirect right?
Me: "Right"
My student: "Then why in number 8 it's ok to use two senses (Had gone/ went) but in number 3 and 4 we can not change the tense? I mean why in number 3 we can't say (said-was) or why in number 4 we can't say (will) but (would)? Why in number 8 two tenses both are ok to be used but in 3 and 4 we can only use one tense? Isn't it confusing or hard for we? In exam if we see a direct imperative then how should we be sure that while converting it to an indirect imperative we can use only one tense or both two tenses are ok to be used? If in number 8 indirect, two tenses are ok to be used, then why in number 3 and 4, two tenses can not be correct?"

That was the time when I got confused myself too and couldn't answer him.
Would you please be nice enough to help me on that one? What should answer him?
(This problem happens to my students only in indirect imperatives not simple quotes)

Source: Summit 2B (by Joan Saslo and Allen Ascher) Pearson
Longman Press, Unit 8, Direct and Indirect Speeches
.

Thank you.
The rule about backshifting tenses in indirect speech is not an absolute. Whether or not to backshift is affected by time and logic as well as formulaic grammar.

In number 8, when the comment was made in relation to when the meeting ended is important. If Nick made his comment as soon as the meeting ended and this was reported shortly afterward, "went" could be used. If the meeting was some time ago or the report came some time later, "had gone" would be more likely. But in any circumstances "had gone" would be correct.

In number 3 the advice is more like a general rule that remains true in the future. It has the meaning of "don't ever lose hope just because a doctor says survival is impossible". Therefore, continuing the present tense is more logical.

In number 4, the issue is timing. If Dad tells one child "Hurry up or we will be late" and then that child tells another child what he said at a time when they are still not late, I would use "will" in the reported speech. If the conversation is being reported at some later time, I would use "would".

This area can be very confusing. I would tell the students that we generally backshift tenses in indirect speech. But there are exceptions. The most common exceptions are statements that are true in the past and continue to be true in the present (universal rules).

Teacher: Students, water boils when it is heated to 100 degrees Celsius.
Student: The teacher said that water boils when it is heated to 100 degrees Celsius.

If you used the past tense in that reported speech, it would not give the impression that this is always true.

Another exception involves characteristics or traits that are unlikely to change.

Tom: Hi, my name is Tom.
Maria: Hi, Tom.

10 minutes later:

Shirley: Who were you talking to?
Maria: He said his name is Tom.

It is unlikely that he changed his name in that ten minute period.

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