Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
      • Home Country:
      • Vietnam
      • Current Location:
      • Vietnam

    • Join Date: Nov 2011
    • Posts: 191
    #1

    indirect speech

    "If you saw my father you would recognize him at once. he is the most extraordinary-looking man." Said she

    I want to change it into the following: "She told me if I had seen her father, I would have recognize him at once. He was the most extraordinary-looking man."

    But I think if I do that then the first sentence would become type 3 conditional speech and the second one might mean that her father is now deceased (which might or might not be true).

    So is it correct?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: indirect speech

    You are right about the incorrectness of your version. We can report this only as:

    She told me that if I saw her father I would recognize him at once. He was/is the most extraordinary-looking man."

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
      • Home Country:
      • Vietnam
      • Current Location:
      • Vietnam

    • Join Date: Nov 2011
    • Posts: 191
    #3

    Re: indirect speech

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    You are right about the incorrectness of your version. We can report this only as:

    She told me that if I saw her father I would recognize him at once. He was/is the most extraordinary-looking man."
    So is there any kind of general rule as to when and when not to use backshift in reported speech?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #4

    Re: indirect speech

    Quote Originally Posted by vkhu View Post
    So is there any kind of general rule as to when and when not to use backshift in reported speech?
    You can always backshift. I've found that to be a simple rule.

    But you don't backshift "If you saw my father .." to "If you had seen my father ..." because 'saw' is not indicative here, it's subjunctive.
    It doesn't mean "If you saw my father (literally, in the past, say yesterday)" It means something more like "If you ever see my father".

    Imagine this indicative use of 'saw':
    "She said 'If you saw my father yesterday, you would know he is dying.'" =>
    She said that if I had seen her father the day before, I would have known (I would know) he was dying."
    This is correct.

    But a hypothetical "saw" remains hypothetical when you backshift it, and doesn't become "had seen".
    Last edited by Raymott; 01-Dec-2011 at 12:14.

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] direct speech - indirect speech
    By Vu Hien in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17-Feb-2009, 01:21
  2. Direct speech & Indirect speech
    By vv0510_vn in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 20-Sep-2007, 12:14
  3. indirect speech is equivalent with reported speech?
    By Mad-ox in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 27-Jun-2007, 17:16
  4. direct speech / Indirect speech
    By user_gary in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-Jun-2007, 15:18
  5. indirect speech
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 24-Jan-2005, 05:31

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
  •