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  1. Gregory.'s Avatar

    • Join Date: Mar 2010
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    #1

    was/were + Verb-ing

    hi everybody,

    I have a question, what is the difference between:

    Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members were not being fired, but were being asked to “recommit” themselves.

    Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members have not been fired, but have been asked to “recommit” themselves.

    best regards

    thanks

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: was/were + Verb-ing

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory. View Post
    hi everybody,

    I have a question, what is the difference between:

    Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members were not being fired, but were being asked to “recommit” themselves.

    Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members have not been fired, but have been asked to “recommit” themselves.

    best regards

    thanks
    The first one strongly indicates that the staff members are going to keep their jobs if they "recommit" themselves. The second says that up until now no one has been fired but they have been asked to "recommit" themselves, it doesn't indicate anything for the future.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: was/were + Verb-ing

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory. View Post
    hi everybody,

    I have a question, what is the difference between:

    Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members were not being fired, but were being asked to “recommit” themselves.

    Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members have not been fired, but have been asked to “recommit” themselves.

    best regards

    thanks
    In the first, the process is still ongoing.
    In the second, all staff have been spoken to.

  4. euncu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: was/were + Verb-ing

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    In the second, all staff have been spoken to.
    Shouldn't it be "had" instead of "have", since this is a reported speech sentence with past tense?

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: was/were + Verb-ing

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Shouldn't it be "had" instead of "have", since this is a reported speech sentence with past tense?
    Not necessarily.
    If people are gathering around worrying about whether some staff have been fired, you can say: Carol R. Johnson, the schools superintendent, said staff members have not been fired.

    A: Have the staff been fired.
    B: No they haven't.
    A: How do you know they haven't been?
    B: Well, Carol said they haven't been fired.

    You'd need another step back in the past to use 'had'.
    You could easily make a context in which "had" was necessary though.

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