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  1. #11
    Quince.fil is offline Newbie
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    Cool Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    I've studied at the faculty that you can say

    Mike told me he will come tonight. (meaning he hasn't come yet)
    as well as ...would...
    and also the option for would if he came before the moment of speaking, if now it's midnight and he left.

    But I had some problems with an article I translated. The thing is, the article was published before a song contest. The officials said something about the song contest in January and it was to be held in May. That's why I wrote- They announced that it will be held in May. One professor said I was wrong.

    What do you think about this one?

  2. #12
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by riceball72 View Post

    Ok – so all this info form the grammar books supports what I have said to her but she still is not satisfied. She wants to know if it is ok to always put into the past – or when should we keep the present. She seems to want to create her own little rule.

    Is one use more common than the other?
    Can you recommend when you would use on than the other or is it just a preference thing?

    Any help is really appreciated!!!!
    While it is certainly true that acceptance of unshifted tense-forms in nominal subordinates of past tense reporting verbs is increasingly widespread even among educated natives, and that and there may well be some pragmatic value in doing so in terms of conveying additional information about the current situation, my advice to the learner would nevertheless be always to apply tense concord rules, primarily for one very simple, practical reason, to wit that, whereas it will never be deemed incorrect to do so, it may well be deemed incorrect to fail to do so, and this is something that depends very much on the nature of the reporting verb. For instance, while we may happily 'get away' with saying, or even writing,

    [1] The scientist explained that water turns to steam when heated to 100 degrees.

    in place of 'classically' standard (if marginally less natural-sounding)

    [1a] The scientist explained that water turned to steam when heated to 100 degrees.

    , the same is not true of structurally analogous

    [2] *I thought you are my friend.

    , which cannot be substituted for

    [2a] I thought you were my friend.

    and note that its unacceptability is quite unrelated to the presence or otherwise of any intended implication as to the current state of my beliefs, our friendship, or anything else.

    In view of this complex case-sensitive 'continuum' of acceptability, running the gamut from [1] (completely acceptable, except perhaps for the most formal academic writing) to [2] (completely unacceptable) - with any number of indeterminate cases falling between these two extremes upon which even natives might disagree! - the learner would clearly be better advised to follow what is, after all, a very clear and eminently learnable transformation rule than to risk producing a non-sentence.

    Philo

  3. #13
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by Quince.fil View Post
    I've studied at the faculty that you can say

    Mike told me he will come tonight. (meaning he hasn't come yet)
    as well as ...would...
    and also the option for would if he came before the moment of speaking, if now it's midnight and he left.

    But I had some problems with an article I translated. The thing is, the article was published before a song contest. The officials said something about the song contest in January and it was to be held in May. That's why I wrote- They announced that it will be held in May. One professor said I was wrong.

    What do you think about this one?
    They announced that it will be held in May - The event hasn't taken place yet, and it is scheduled for a date in May.

    They announced that it would be held in May - The announcement stated that the event was planned for May. (Maybe they changed their minds. Maybe not.)

  4. #14
    soutter is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    ONE STEP INTO THE PAST
    Change the verbs in direct speech as below into indirect speech.
    SIMPLE PRESENT Becomes SIMPLE PAST
    I walk ---- I walked
    CONTINUOUS PRESENT Becomes CONTINUOUS PAST
    I am walking ---- I was walking
    CONTINUOUS PAST Becomes CONTINUOUS PAST PERFECT
    I was walking ----I had been walking
    SIMPLE PAST Becomes PAST PERFECT
    I walked ---- I had walked
    PRESENT PERFECT Becomes PAST PERFECT
    I have walked---- I had walked
    PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS Becomes PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS
    I have been walking---- I had been walking
    FUTURE Becomes CONDITIONAL
    I will/shall walk---- I would/should walk
    CONDITIONAL Becomes CONDITIONAL FUTURE PERFECT
    I would/should walk---- I would/should have walked
    FUTURE PERFECT Becomes CONDITIONAL FUTURE PERFECT
    I will/shall have walked----I would/should have walked
    THE PAST PERFECT NEVER CHANGES
    PAST PERFECT---- PAST PERFECT
    I had walked/I had been walking ----I had walked/I had been walking
    COMMANDS GO INTO THE INFINITIVE
    SHUT UP!
    HE TOLD ME TO SHUT UP.
    WATCH YOUR POCKETS IN CORNAVIN!
    HE TOLD YOU TO WATCH YOUR POCKETS IN CORNAVIN.
    DON’T SPEAK!
    HE SAID NOT TO SPEAK.
    NEVER TRUST A STRANGER!
    HE SAID NEVER TO TRUST A STRANGER.

  5. #15
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    They announced that it will be held in May - The event hasn't taken place yet, and it is scheduled for a date in May.

    They announced that it would be held in May - The announcement stated that the event was planned for May. (Maybe they changed their minds. Maybe not.)
    Yes, this comes under the heading of suspension of the normal rule on pragmatic grounds, since use of the present tense in the subordinate here serves to convey additional information, i.e. whether the month of May in question is a future or past one. The issue then becomes not one of structural acceptability but simply one of appropriateness or otherwise in relation to semantic intent.

  6. #16
    soutter is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    They announced that it will be held in May - The event hasn't taken place yet, and it is scheduled for a date in May.

    What about using the present perfect and not bothering about some suspension of the rule?

    After all another use of the present perfect (rather than the simple past as used above) is past consequences on the present.

    Therefore:


    They HAVE ANNOUNCED that it WILL BE held in May - The event HASN’T TAKEN place yet, BUT it IS SCHEDULED for May.


    They HAVE JUST ANNOUNCED would be a redundancy.

  7. #17
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by soutter View Post
    What about using the present perfect and not bothering about some suspension of the rule?
    I couldn't agree more: as my earlier post indicates, I would never advocate suspension of the rule to any learner. The phenomenon is, however, so very widespread among natives that to deny its existence, or the pragmatic grounds for it, would be somewhat unrealistic.

    Your suggestion of substituting a present perfect for the past tense in this situation strikes me as a sensible option as far as recommendations to the learner are concerned.

  8. #18
    soutter is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: tenses, indirect speech and Q&A

    Frankly, recommendations for and fast (no such think I know) rules to the learner are all that concern me. Let them learn the construct and them mess about with it with ceratinty instead of uncertainty.



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