Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #1

    Backshift problem

    Hello friends,
    Two situations:

    1) Present:
    She: "Does he read my book?"
    He: "Yes, he does."

    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he read my book yet it's not true."

    2) Past:
    She: "Did he read my book?"
    He: "Yes, he did."

    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he read my book yet it's not true."

    Is everything correct?

    Cheers!

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 2,944
    #2

    Re: Backshift problem

    1) Present:
    She: "Does he read my book every day in class?"
    He: "Yes, he does."

    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he reads my book every day, yet it's not true."

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #3

    Re: Backshift problem

    But then you ignore the rule called "Sequence of Tenses".
    That's the tricky thing!

    Cheers!

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 1,517
    #4

    Re: Backshift problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    But then you ignore the rule called "Sequence of Tenses".
    That's the tricky thing!

    Cheers!
    There is a huge difference between prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar.
    Language is an interesting dynamic phenomenon we study - we observe it; we are curious about it. People communicate among themselves using language, there is no a priori "rule" about it. But we, as human beings, try to find out the secrets (that is the "rules") hidden under the language phenomenon. Therefore we model language; currently there are many different models at our disposal, some good and some not so good, but none perfect. The "rules" of language are to be discovered and understood by us, not to rule our/their way of speaking telling right from wrong, it is the opposite. If English speakers say something in such and such a way, that is correct by definition; if we don't understand the reasons we should work harder and enhance our models. (extracted from a recent post regarding a similar subject)

    Concerning your current specific backshift problem - sequence of tenses, I strongly recommend the reading of this interesting thread:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...404-tense.html


    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello friends,
    Two situations:

    1) Present:
    She: "Does he read my book?"
    He: "Yes, he does."

    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he read my book yet it's not true."

    2) Past:
    She: "Did he read my book?"
    He: "Yes, he did."

    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he read my book yet it's not true."

    In the first situation (present) "Does he read my book?" alone sounds really strange,
    I would rephrase it to either "Is he reading my book?" or, as susiedqq pointed out, "Does he read my book every day in class?" depending on the context.

    In the second situation, I would say: "You said that he had read by book ..."

  3. OPENED EYES's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Libya
      • Current Location:
      • Libya

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 114
    #5

    Re: Backshift problem

    I am not a teacher or a native speaker
    I'm just a learner so feel free to correct to me if I made a mistake!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello friends,
    Two situations:

    1) Present:
    She: "Does he read my book?"
    He: "Yes, he does."
    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he read my book yet it's not true."

    2) Past:
    She: "Did he read my book?"
    He: "Yes, he did."
    (He's never read the book and she found it out.)
    She: "You said (that) he had read my book yet it's not true."

    Is everything correct?

    Cheers!
    I think every thing is correct except tense in second sentence is in perfect past.

    Cheers!

Similar Threads

  1. My problem or my spell check's problem?
    By NarutoDude in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Mar-2010, 11:36
  2. backshift in sub-clauses vs. reported speech
    By bambusst in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 23-Apr-2009, 15:19
  3. a question about the backshift
    By sariputra in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 30-Sep-2007, 11:27
  4. backshift or not??!!!
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-Jan-2007, 02:52
  5. Backshift
    By munchun2004 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-Nov-2004, 19:54

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •