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Thread: was

  1. #1
    GUEST2008 is offline Key Member
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    was

    Hi

    1. I don't understand what was "getting worse".

    2. I don't understand what "getting worse" was.

    --- I suppose the first one is correct, but because it's not a question, but rather a statement, I would say that the 2nd is correct,i.e. what X was instead of what was X.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: was

    ----- I am not an ESL teacher anymore -----

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    1. I don't understand what was "getting worse".

    2. I don't understand what "getting worse" was.

    --- I suppose the first one is correct, but because it's not a question, but rather a statement, I would say that the 2nd is correct,i.e. what X was instead of what was X.

    Thanks
    The first one, without the inverted commas, means you don't understand exactly what was getting worse.
    The second one, with the inverted commas, means you don't understand the meaning of the expression "getting worse".

    In spoken English one cannot "hear" the inverted commas.

  3. #3
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: was

    ----- I am not an ESL teacher anymore -----

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    1. I don't understand what was "getting worse".

    2. I don't understand what "getting worse" was.

    --- I suppose the first one is correct, but because it's not a question, but rather a statement, I would say that the 2nd is correct,i.e. what X was instead of what was X.

    Thanks
    By the way I guess there should be a tense matching here:

    I didn't understand ...

    Or, if you prefer, turn "was" to "is".

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: was

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    -----
    By the way I guess there should be a tense matching here:

    I didn't understand ...

    Or, if you prefer, turn "was" to "is".
    Forget about matching tenses! Changing a tense can/will change the meaning. (Why do you think you should match tenses?)

    I don't understand what was getting worse.
    I didn't understand what was getting worse. (maybe now I understand)

  5. #5
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: was

    ----- I am not an English teacher -----

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Forget about matching tenses! Changing a tense can/will change the meaning. (Why do you think you should match tenses?)

    I don't understand what was getting worse.
    I didn't understand what was getting worse. (maybe now I understand)
    Yes, sure, changing a tense may change the meaning. But it sure depends on the context. If you say, for instance,

    - ... and it sure was getting worse and worse.
    - I don't understand what was getting worse.
    - My understanding of verb tense usage in English.

    I guess it is OK.

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