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    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5
    #1

    Reported speech 'Had Had'

    Louise - Did you have a good trip?

    Louise asked me if I had a good trip

    Ok, my understanding is this, In the reported statement the main verb have changes (as we are using a past reporting verb) to had.

    However, My colleague believes the correct transformation is

    Louise asked me if I had had a good trip

    Which is correct? It is my understanding that it is the form of the main verb 'have' which dictates the change in the reported speech not the auxillary 'did'


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #2

    Re: Reported speech 'Had Had'

    Quote Originally Posted by Lupuspol View Post
    Louise - Did you have a good trip?

    Louise asked me if I had a good trip

    Ok, my understanding is this, In the reported statement the main verb have changes (as we are using a past reporting verb) to had.

    However, My colleague believes the correct transformation is

    Louise asked me if I had had a good trip

    Which is correct? It is my understanding that it is the form of the main verb 'have' which dictates the change in the reported speech not the auxillary 'did'
    This may come as a big shock, Lupuspol, but there are no rules in English that "dictate" a change in reported speech.

    ========================

    "There is a second respect in which we must beware of being misled by the traditional account associating backshift with indirect reported speech. ...
    Converting into indirect reported speech, ..., is not a matter of applying rules of grammar that are specific to this purpose.


    ii [Original] I broke it.
    [Backshifted] She said that she had broken it.
    [Non-backshifted] She said that she broke it.


    [The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), p154-155]

    ===============================

    I'd say that both your example and your colleague's example are fine, but though your colleague's example reports the speech, I think the extra 'had' adds a greater dimension to the response. More on this later.

    Let's forget Louise's question for now and look at what you might have said;

    Lupuspol: I had a good trip / That was a good trip [1]

    Bill: How was Lupuspol's trip?

    Jane: He said he had a good trip. // He said he had had a good trip.







    [1] ["I've had a good trip" - also possible but I think it's severely restrained by time considerations; deal with this later or in another thread]


    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5
    #3

    Re: Reported speech 'Had Had'

    thanks riverkid and no, nothing shocks me in the English language.

    I would be interested to hear you thoughts on 'the greater dimension' added by 'had had'

    Mine are as follows,

    Lupuspol: I had a good trip / That was a good trip

    Bill: Lupuspol seems very unhappy today, How was his trip

    Jane: He said he had had a good trip, but i'm not so sure now.

    'had had' distances the reporting statement from reality, as in, we may now beileve this to be untrue, or that lupuspol might change his reponse if asked again.

    any other thoughts?


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #4

    Re: Reported speech 'Had Had'

    Quote Originally Posted by Lupuspol View Post
    thanks riverkid and no, nothing shocks me in the English language.

    I would be interested to hear you thoughts on 'the greater dimension' added by 'had had'

    Mine are as follows,

    Lupuspol: I had a good trip / That was a good trip

    Bill: Lupuspol seems very unhappy today, How was his trip

    Jane: He said he had had a good trip, but i'm not so sure now.

    'had had' distances the reporting statement from reality, as in, we may now beileve this to be untrue, or that lupuspol might change his reponse if asked again.

    any other thoughts?
    I didn't even consider that option, Lupuspol, but I certainly agree that it's a possibility. I see the intonation used as different from that of the original which again, points to your colleague's example as a possibility.

    In this situation "He said" would probably receive a greater emphasis, showing as you noted, a now potentially doubtful situation.

    So what's the difference between the simple past FORM and the past perfect FORM? I think that the latter can add, in addition to an optional reported speech backshift, a heightened sense of importance to the report.

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