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  1. #1
    Maluues is offline Junior Member
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    Default Short Question: Reported Speech

    Good day.

    There is a tiny question I have got.
    There is an article in The Guardian Weekly about biofuels and one sentence I grammatically do not understand.

    It says: Ian Waller, a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate, said that he visited the southern states of the Us last October and spoke to firms about splash and dash.

    I am not sure but shouldn't it be he had visited instead of he visitied? And if not why have I to use visited in this case?

    Greetz Maluues

  2. #2
    rj1948 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    Yes.I agree with you.Odd.
    Regards,
    rj1948.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    You're in danger of catching the American Disease of inappropriate use of the past perfect - everything in the past is 'I had gone/visited/murdered'

    Two things happened: he went to the southern States; and he spoke to firms. Simple past tense.
    For the speaker to invoke past present, in his mind there would have to be some interconnection between an activity, and the one being placed further in the past by use of past perfect:

    He had visited the States expressly to talk to representatives, but they were unavailable for discussions. (both activities linked, one firmly placed as occurring before the other).

    He had visited the States last October, and (had) spoken to representatives, and would now convey this information in a report to the Prime Minister. (activities are linked, and two are placed firmly in the past, prior to the third activity of 'would now convey')

    In your quote:
    Ian Waller, a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate said he visited the southern states of the US last October and spoke to firms about splash and dash.

    "You get the subsidy for the act of blending, so people are bringing boats of soy or palm-based biodiesel from Europe and then mixing it with a bit of local biodiesel - or even fossil-fuel diesel - and then shipping it back," he said.


    He visited, he spoke, he came back, he opened his mouth, he said, "You get the subsidy/..." -
    This is just a natural sequence of events which happen to be in the past- he went to the States and while there he spoke, and then, and
    then, and....
    compare
    "..and when we go to Disneyland we'll go on the round-a-bouts, and we'll ride on the Dipper, and we'll eat..." a series of events which are all in the future. No need to start saying, We will have ridden on the Dipper, and we will have...."
    Last edited by David L.; 11-Jun-2008 at 10:37.

  4. #4
    Maluues is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    Hey David.
    Thanks for your help.
    But I still don"t understand why to use the simple past. Look.

    He says: I visited the southern states of the Us last October......

    He said that he had visited the southern states of the Us last October...

    That"s what I mean.


    Greetz Maluues

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    NOW I understand your query. I was looking at the content of the report, not looking at it as reported speech because it didn't violate rules of reported speech:
    Ian Waller (is - present tense) a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate, said that he visited -backshift of tense to simple past.)

    Here are the rules:
    English Grammar - Reported speech

    Backshift of tenses
    from Simple Present to Simple Past

    Peter: "I work in the garden." Peter said that he worked in the garden.

    from Simple Past, Present Perfect, Past Perfect - to Past Perfect
    Peter: "I worked in the garden." Peter said that he had worked in the garden.
    So, similarly
    Peter: "I have worked in the garden." : Peter said that he had worked in the garden.
    Peter: "I had worked in the garden." : Peter said that he had worked in the garden.

    will to would
    Peter: "I will work in the garden." Peter said that he would work in the garden.
    Similarly:
    Peter: "I can work in the garden." Peter said that he could work in the garden.
    Peter: "I may work in the garden." Peter said that he might work in the garden.

    would, could,might, should, ought to)
    Peter: "I would work in the garden." Peter said that he would work in the garden.
    Others are similar.

    Progressive forms
    Peter: "I'm working in the garden." Peter said that he was working in the garden.
    Peter: "I was working in the garden." Peter said that he had been working in the garden.
    Peter: "I have been working in the garden."
    Peter: "I had been working in the garden."
    If the sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it as well.

    Peter: "I worked in the garden yesterday."
    Peter said that he had worked in the garden the day before.

    Shifting of expressions of time

    this (evening) to that (evening)
    today/this day to that day
    these (days) to those (days)
    now to then
    (a week) ago to (a week) before
    last weekend to the weekend before / the previous weekend
    here to there
    next (week) the following (week)
    tomorrow to the next/following day

    Note:
    In some cases the backshift of tenses is not necessary, e.g. when statements are still true.

    John: "My brother is at Leipzig university."
    John said that his brother was at Leipzig university. or
    John said that his brother is at Leipzig university.

    or

    Mandy: "The sun rises in the East."
    Mandy said that the sun rose in the East. or
    Mandy said that the sun rises in the East.


    1) If the sentence starts in the present, there is no backshift of tenses in Reported speech.
    Example: Susan: "I work in an office." Susan says that she works in an office.

    2) If the sentence starts in the past, there is often backshift of tenses in Reported speech. (see: Note)
    Example: Susan: "I work in an office." Susan said that she worked in an office.
    Last edited by David L.; 12-Jun-2008 at 03:05.

  6. #6
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Maluues View Post
    Hey David.
    Thanks for your help.
    But I still don"t understand why to use the simple past. Look.

    He says: I visited the southern states of the Us last October......

    He said that he had visited the southern states of the Us last October...

    That"s what I mean.

    Greetz Maluues
    Hi Greetz Maluues.

    Your confusion comes because you have been misled in the past by people inaccurately describing how reported speech works. This continues with,

    [quote]

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    NOW I understand your query. I was looking at the content of the report, not looking at it as reported speech because it didn't violate rules of reported speech:
    Ian Waller (is - present tense) a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate, said that he visited -backshift of tense to simple past.)

    Here are the rules:
    English Grammar - Reported speech


    The portion, I've put it in red, has nothing to do with what was subsequently said. David, are you perhaps suggesting that the man originally said, "I visit the southern states of the US last October and spoke to firms about splash and dash.

    ORIGINAL:
    It says: Ian Waller, a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate, said that he visited the southern states of the Us last October and spoke to firms about splash and dash.

    The part I've put in blue highlights the misleading nature of these "rules". There is nothing in the grammar of English that absolutely compels us to backshift when we report speech. It's often done, but we do have choices.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    Maluues:
    Ian Waller (is - present tense) :

    before editing, I originally wrote
    Ian Waller (is - present tense- 'is' is 'understood' - he was then, and is now, in his current position.

    I thought this was overly-complicating what I was simply pointing out: that the first part is 'understood' to be present tense. It is the same as saying:
    Ian Waller is a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate. He visited the southern states of the Us last October.

    "When people wade in full of their agendas, they are amusingly blind to the obvious." quote. Anon.

  8. #8
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Short Question: Reported Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Maluues:
    Ian Waller (is - present tense) :

    before editing, I originally wrote
    Ian Waller (is - present tense- 'is' is 'understood' - he was then, and is now, in his current position.

    I thought this was overly-complicating what I was simply pointing out: that the first part is 'understood' to be present tense. It is the same as saying:
    Ian Waller is a biofuel consultant at the firm FiveBarGate. He visited the southern states of the Us last October.
    What might his present position have to do with any report of speech, David?

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