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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    heard, said etc.

    Hello,
    I would like to know which versions are correct:
    (It's present - like a normal conversation.)
    He told me you have a new job.
    He told me you had a new job.

    I heard you are a girl.
    I heard you were a girl.

    They said this is a good idea.
    They said this was a good idea.


    I learned that "I thought you were a teacher." is correct, that's why I believe that all #2 are correct.

    Cheers!

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    #2

    Re: heard, said etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    I would like to know which versions are correct:
    (It's present - like a normal conversation.)
    He told me you have a new job.
    He told me you had a new job.

    I heard you are a girl.
    I heard you were a girl.

    They said this is a good idea.
    They said this was a good idea.


    I learned that "I thought you were a teacher." is correct, that's why I believe that all #2 are correct.

    Cheers!
    I think all number 2 are correct!

    Instead you could say:

    - He told me: " You have a new job!"
    - They said : "This is a good idea!"

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    #3

    Exclamation Re: heard, said etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    I would like to know which versions are correct:
    (It's present - like a normal conversation.)
    He told me, “you have a new job.” Direct speech
    He told me that I have a new job. Indirect speech (the pronoun needs to be changed and the quoted statement is still true)
    He told me you had a new job.
    Incorrect
    He told me that I had a new job (correct)

    I heard,"you are a girl."
    I heard you were a girl. correct

    They said, "this is a good idea."
    They said that was a good idea. (pronoun to be changed)

    I learned that "I thought you were a teacher." is correct, that's why I believe that all #2 are correct.

    Cheers!
    “I thought you were a teacher." is correct if you are certain that the person concerned is no longer a teacher.
    Normally, the tense in reported speech is one tense back in time from the tense in direct speech. Here the direct speech is:
    I thought, “you are a teacher.”
    However, we do not need to change the tense if the reporting verb is in the present, or if the original statement was about something that is still true or a general truth, e.g.
    We explained that it is very difficult to find our house.
    Columbus knew that the world is round.
    Your 1st example sentences is changed accordingly
    Last edited by sarat_106; 06-May-2010 at 07:39.

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: heard, said etc.

    Thanks.

    @sarat:
    He told me that I have a new job. Indirect speech (the pronoun needs to be changed and the quoted statement is still true)
    He told me you had a new job.
    Incorrect
    He told me that I had a new job (correct)

    I cannot understand why you changed you to I.
    Let's imagine I meet you somewhere and talk to you.
    Then I say to you: "My father told me that you had a new job."
    I really don't see the sense of I, please explain.

    “I thought you were a teacher." is correct if you are certain that the person concerned is no longer a teacher.
    But in my case the person is still a teacher.
    Let's say he pretends to be a teacher, and you find out that he's no teacher, and that he was no teacher.
    Then you go to him and say "I thought you were a teacher, but now I know you aren't a teacher."

    Thank you again

    Cheers!

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    #5

    Exclamation Re: heard, said etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Thanks.

    @sarat:
    He told me that I have a new job. Indirect speech (the pronoun needs to be changed and the quoted statement is still true)
    He told me you had a new job.
    Incorrect
    He told me that I had a new job (correct)

    I cannot understand why you changed you to I.
    Let's imagine I meet you somewhere and talk to you.
    Then I say to you: "My father told me that you had a new job."
    I really don't see the sense of I, please explain.

    “I thought you were a teacher." is correct if you are certain that the person concerned is no longer a teacher.
    But in my case the person is still a teacher. Then change of tense is optional.
    Let's say he pretends to be a teacher, and you find out that he's no teacher, and that he was no teacher.
    Then you go to him and say "I thought you were a teacher, but now I know you aren't a teacher." This is correct.

    Thank you again

    Cheers!
    When we use 'tell' we say who was being spoken to (i.e. with an indirect object):In such cases the pronoun in the direct speech needs to be changed to match with the indirect object; as:
    He told me, “you are tired”
    He told me that I was tired.
    My father told me, 'You play the piano very well.'
    My father told me that I played the piano very well.

    In your sentence ‘you’ being the subject of the subordinate clause "you had a new job' refers to ‘me’ which looks odd.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: heard, said etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    I would like to know which versions are correct:
    (It's present - like a normal conversation.)
    He told me you have a new job.
    He told me you had a new job.

    I heard you are a girl.
    I heard you were a girl.

    They said this is a good idea.
    They said this was a good idea.


    I learned that "I thought you were a teacher." is correct, that's why I believe that all #2 are correct.

    Cheers!
    This seems to be a popular question lately. Some native speakers even suggest that both forms are correct (and presumably equally good).
    To me, the form without tense backshifting sounds very odd. I would suggest you backshift unless you have a good reason not to. The fact that something is still true is not a good reason. (It may be logically, but not linguistically.)
    Columbus knew that the world was round is correct.
    * I thought you are a teacher. Wrong, in all contexts, in my opinion.

  4. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: heard, said etc.

    Guys, I have an important question.
    I'm currently discussing the "reported speech" with some friends and there are disagreements.
    One site says this:
    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.
    Do you agree with that?

    Does this "rule" (in case it's true) affect all the example sentences I gave?
    He said that he has a new job. -> He still has the new job.


    Cheers!

  5. Banned
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    #8

    Re: heard, said etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    I would like to know which versions are correct:
    (It's present - like a normal conversation.)
    He told me you have a new job.
    He told me you had a new job.

    I heard you are a girl.
    I heard you were a girl. (ambiguous; odd)

    They said this is a good idea.
    They said this was a good idea. (ambiguous)


    I learned that "I thought you were a teacher." is correct, that's why I believe that all #2 are correct.

    Correct but ambiguous.

    Cheers!
    Let us see what one of the most authoritative and most comprehensive (1800 pages) grammar book of the English language has to say in this matter.
    Quirk et al., (1985): p1026,
    14.31. Backshift in indirect speech
    The reporting verb may be in the present tense for communications in recent past time, as in:

    Joan tells me she is going to the airport in an hour's time. [1]
    She says she was too busy to join us last night. [2]

    The present tense is also used for reports attributed to famous works or authors which have present validity, as in:

    The Bible says there is no end to the writing of books. [3]
    Chaucer somewhere writes that love is blind. [4]

    The choice of verb form in the reported clause depends on the time reference of the verb. Thus, the verbs in [1], [3], and [4] exemplify the state present, while 'was' in [2] refers to a time previous to the time of reporting as well as to the time of the original utterance.
    Verbs of cognition may also be used in the reporting clause in the present tense:
    I know they do not care.
    Sylvia thinks Paul went to Lancaster last night.

    When the time reference of the original utterance (or mental activity) no longer applies at the time that the utterance (or mental activity) is reported, it is often necessary to change the tense forms of the verbs. Such a change of verb forms in indirect speech is termed backshift. The resulting relationship of verb forms in the reporting and reported clauses is known as the sequence of tenses. The changes can be illustrated best if we postulate an exact correspondence for the reporting clauses of direct and indirect speech

    DIRECT SPEECH BACKSHIFTED INDIRECT SPEECH
    (i) present --> past
    (ii) past --> past or past perfective
    (iii) present perfective --> past perfective
    (iv) past perfective --> past perfective

    Thus, if the present deictic references in the direct speech become past deictic references in the indirect speech, there is a corresponding shift of verb forms into the past, or if necessary into the past perfective. Examples of each part of the rule are:
    "I am being paid by the hour," she said. --> She said she was being paid by the hour. [5]
    "The exhibition finished last week," explained Ann. --> An explained that the exhibition finished/had finished the preceding week. [6]
    "I have been waiting for you over an hour," she told him. --> She told him that she had been waiting over an hour for him. [7]
    "I had studied French for four years at school," I said. --> I said that I had studied French for four years at school. [8]

    The choice in [6] represents the usual choice of simple past in place of a past perfective when the context makes the relative time reference clear, in this instance by the use of 'the preceding week'. There is no change in [8] because the past perfective already expresses 'past in the past' and no further backshift to 'past in the past' can be expressed. As [5] and [7] illustrate, the rule is not affected by combinations of the simple and perfective forms with progressive and passive forms.
    Backshift is optional when the time-reference of the original utterance is valid at the time of the reported utterance, cf [5], [7] and [8]. Thus the shift is obligatory in [9], but optional in [10]:

    "I am a citizen not of Athens, but of the world," said Socrates. -->
    Socrates said that he was a citizen not of Athens, but of the world. [9]

    "Nothing can harm a good man," said Socrates. -->
    Socrates said that nothing can/could harm a good man.

    Since the statement by Socrates in [9] deals with what is now past, it has to be reported by application of the backshift rule. The statement in [10], on the other hand, is a universal rule which, if it was true for Socrates' lifetime, should also be true today; the backshift rule is therefore optional.
    Here are other examples where present forms may be retained in indirect speech:
    Their teacher had told them that the earth moves around the sun. [11]
    Sam told me last night that he is now an American citizen. [12]
    I heard her say that she is studying BA. [13]
    A Yale professor has said that the Brooklyn Bridge is the most majestic embodiment of the American experience of the road. [14]
    They thought that prison conditions have improved. [15]
    I did not know that our meeting is next Friday. [16]
    She said that they are being discriminated against. [17]
    The waiter told me that lunch is now being served. [18]

    In all these sentences, past forms may also be used, by optional application of the backshift rule. Sentence [11] has the simple present in its timeless use, whereas the verbs in the subsequent sentences have a limited time-reference. The appropriateness of the present forms [12 - 18] therefore depends on their reference at the time of the reported utterance. For example, if at that time Sam had changed his citizenship, or if his citizenship was then in doubt, an appropriate form of [12] would be, for example:

    Sam told me in 1970 that he was then an American citizen.

    Similarly, if a long time had elapsed between the original utterance reported in [15] or if there was doubt as to its present validity, the past perfective would be used:

    They thought that the present conditions had changed. [15a]

    Again, if [18] were reporting what the waiter had said not five minutes ago but five days ago, it would read:

    The waiter told me that lunch was then being served.

    NOTE:
    [a] If the indirect speech itself contains a subordinate clause, then the verb of that subordinate clause may be in present tense because of current validity even though both the main verb of the sentence and the superordinate verb are in the past:

    They reminded us that they had frequently denied that the drug has any therapeutic value.
    She thought she had told me that breakfast is served between seven and ten.

    [b] Backshift from simple past to past perfective is necessary when the simple past in the indirect speech may be misinterpreted as representing a simple present:
    She said, "I was married (,but my husband died last year)," -->
    She said that she had been married.

    Contrast, where there is no possibility of misinterpretation:
    She said,"I was married in church." -->
    She said that she was/had been married in church.

    [c] Backshift is normal if the proposition in the indirect speech is considered to be false:
    The ancients thought that the sun moved around the earth, but from the time of Galileo it was known that the reverse is true.

    [d] Since the simple past in indirect speech may represent either simple past or simple present of direct speech, it may give rise to ambiguity where both interpretations are plausible:

    A She told me the game started at seven.
    B: It did/does not

    14. 32 Other changes in indirect speech
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Guys, I have an important question.
    I'm currently discussing the "reported speech" with some friends and there are disagreements.
    One site says this:
    Do you agree with that?

    Does this "rule" (in case it's true) affect all the example sentences I gave?
    He said that he has a new job. -> He still has the new job.


    Cheers!
    Backshift is optional when the time-reference of the original utterance is valid at the time of the reported utterance,

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    #9

    Re: heard, said etc.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Nightmare.

    (1) You have received many great posts.

    (2) My little (vey llittle) contribution is:

    Tom: I am very sick.

    Mona: I am so sorry. I hope you get well soon.

    ***** Next day

    Joe: I saw you and Tom talking yesterday. What did he say?

    Mona: Oh, he said that he WAS sick.

    (We followed the rule and used the past. But some people might think that he is NO LONGER sick. That he is well now.)

    Mona: Oh, he said that he IS sick.

    (We broke the rule, but everyone now knows that Tom is STILL sick.)

    ***** Have a nice day!

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: heard, said etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    This seems to be a popular question lately. Some native speakers even suggest that both forms are correct (and presumably equally good).
    To me, the form without tense backshifting sounds very odd. ...
    I think the problem is due to the tension between speech and writing. Speech came first (both in children and in peoples). Speech is punctuated by grunts, changed stress, gestures (facial and otherwise).... I wouldn't advise the use of 'She said you are a teacher' in writing. But if I hear the words 'She + said + you + are + a + teacher' I mentally supply the quotation marks - this isn't a correction it's just something that happens automatically in the head of a native speaker.

    I agree, though, that 'I thought you are a teacher' is wrong, in all contexts (at least, I can't think of any ).

    b

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