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    #1

    Reported speech vs. 2nd conditional

    Hi everyone :)

    One question regarding reporting conditional sentences:

    Yesterday in class we were discussing reported speech and obviously 'backshifting'. Both our tutor and us, however, found one thing puzzling. At the end of the coursebook, in the grammar folder, it says: "As a general rule, the second conditional doesn't change."

    As far as I can remember, when I started learning about conditionals (early 90's, so the books I learnt from were from the 80's), all of them were supposed to be changed to the next one, e.g. 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd, and so on.

    Perhaps someone sane, not languages-obsessed like me, would have just left it alone, but I've checked it with Hewings (Adavanced Grammar in Use) and Side/Wellman (Grammar and Vocabulary for CAE/CPE) and didn't find a word about that 2nd conditional rule.

    I know English is constantly changing, and in most cases through simplifying (lucky those who are going to study it in the future), and in spoken English 'backshifting' often doesn't occur. Is this the case here?

    I'm not sure if it is a tricky question but I hope you'll be able to clear this up for me.

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #2

    Re: Reported speech vs. 2nd conditional

    I came across similar findings. Here's just one example,
    The verbs could, should, would, might, must, needn’t, ought to, used to do not normally change.

    Example: He said, “She might be right.” – He said that she might be right.

    The very same questions you're asking are being asked and debated here and here by other students. You may want to take a look. If you have questions, let us know.


    All the best.
    __________________________________________
    How Do We Overcome the Difficulties of Teaching Conditionals?

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Nov 2006
    • Posts: 57
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    #3

    Re: Reported speech vs. 2nd conditional

    Heh, I was reading the forum earlier on thinking that I usually like your answers to posts because they are generally interesting and there you go - I got one as well

    I have just had a quick look at those websites and especially the one you quoted in your footer seems interesting for a lingustic freak like me, so thank you very much

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: Reported speech vs. 2nd conditional

    You're most welcome, Katz, and let us know what you find.

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