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  1. #1
    bambusst is offline Newbie
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    backshift in sub-clauses vs. reported speech

    Dear all,
    I was wondering whether the rules for tense sequence in subordinate clauses are the same as for reported speech. I mean, grammars say that the verb in a sub clause is usually in the same tense as the verb in the main clause. But what happens if the sub clause expresses future? Do we need to do the backshifting?
    e.g. The employees presented their views and the actions that would be taken/were to be taken in the period to come.. (if we don't know whether the actions have been taken). Can we put simple future there if we know that those actions are still to be taken?
    I did not want to call her because people would (speaking after the event?)/will (before the event takes place?) probably feel uncomfortable.
    I hope that the question is clear.
    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Re: backshift in sub-clauses vs. reported speech

    "actions that would be taken" and "would probably feel" are right. Your comments about English grammar are impressive, to put it mildly. Very few native Anglophones can talk about the structure of their mother tongue as you have just done.
    BTW: Your " were to" phrase is a sophisticated use of "be to," which is one of the devices used to set things in the future in English (which has no future tense). "be to" conveys three meanings:
    1) something planned or prepared : there IS TO be an inquiry
    2) an order : you ARE TO be here at six tomorrow morning in full field gear
    3) fate or destiny : met a young KGB colonel who WAS TO become president of Russia

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    bambusst is offline Newbie
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    Re: backshift in sub-clauses vs. reported speech

    Thanks for your answer! You made me blush for the "impressive" part..;))
    Anyway, the more I translate, the more questions I have, so thanks for resolving this one!

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