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  1. #1
    Vibovit is offline Junior Member
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    Default Past tense in reported speech

    Right, that's probably trivial, but I need to know for sure :)

    Which one is (more) correct?

    He asked me, where I live. (Because I still live there).
    or
    He asked me, where I lived. (Because his question is referred to as the past, even though the answer hasn't changed since then).



    Or both, and it's just a matter of choice/context?
    Last edited by Vibovit; 08-Sep-2006 at 00:35.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Past tense in reported speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Vibovit View Post
    Right, that's probably trivial, but I need to know for sure :)
    Which one is (more) correct?
    He asked me, where I live. (Because I still live there).
    or
    He asked me, where I lived. (Because his question is referred to as the past, even though the answer hasn't changed since then).

    Or both?
    First, there should be no comma - there is no pause in this sentence.

    Second, the first clause does not need to agree in tense (or in any other way) with the second clause.

    So both sentences are correct.

  3. #3
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Past tense in reported speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Vibovit View Post
    Right, that's probably trivial, but I need to know for sure :)
    Which one is (more) correct?
    He asked me, where I live. (Because I still live there).
    or
    He asked me, where I lived. (Because his question is referred to as the past, even though the answer hasn't changed since then).

    Or both?
    Both are fine, Vibovit. Though it's often referred to as a past, it actually has nothing to do with the past in terms of tense or time. What this means is that only the FORM is past tense, not the actual event itself.

    The backshifting [so called because we move one tense shift back] that occurs for reported speech merely acts as a signal for listeners that the speech is reported/indirect speech. We can choose to report in either the same tense or we can backshift.

    For speech, because the context is so rich, we don't tend to follow the normal backshifts that, say, newspapers do. Speech is more alive, more vibrant so, as you mentioned, the nowness of some reported speech can cause us to not use a backshift.

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    Default Re: Past tense in reported speech

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Both are fine, Vibovit. Though it's often referred to as a past, it actually has nothing to do with the past in terms of tense or time. What this means is that only the FORM is past tense, not the actual event itself.
    The backshifting [so called because we move one tense shift back] that occurs for reported speech merely acts as a signal for listeners that the speech is reported/indirect speech. We can choose to report in either the same tense or we can backshift.
    For speech, because the context is so rich, we don't tend to follow the normal backshifts that, say, newspapers do. Speech is more alive, more vibrant so, as you mentioned, the nowness of some reported speech can cause us to not use a backshift.
    This isn't true.

    "He asked me where I live" means he is asking where I live NOW.
    "He asked me where I lived" means he is asking where I lived at a particular point in the past.

    The clause after 'where' has nothing to do with backshifting.

  5. #5
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Past tense in reported speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    This isn't true.
    "He asked me where I live" means he is asking where I live NOW.
    "He asked me where I lived" means he is asking where I lived at a particular point in the past.
    The clause after 'where' has nothing to do with backshifting.
    Oh but it is true and it does, Coffa. Then again, admittedly, in the right situation, it COULD mean what you [have] stated.

    A: [to C] Where do you live?

    B: What did he ask you?

    C: He asked me where I lived. OR He asked me where I live.

  6. #6
    Vibovit is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Past tense in reported speech

    All right - thanks a lot for your explanations!

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