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    #1

    Present Or Past Reporting Verb Version Dilemma In Reported Speech

    Hi All, it is me again

    I can't figure out where-when I should use these versions. Grammar book says, if the reporting verb is present simple, use "say-tell" and don't change the tense. For example....

    direct speech: “I like ice cream”
    reported speech: She says she likes ice cream

    If the reporting verb is past, use backshift....

    direct speech: “I like ice cream”
    reported speech: She said she liked ice cream

    The thing I cant understand is, when we report an expression that has already said, it is always a part of "past" and it seems to me that I should always use past reporting verb version. As you know, no tense change option is available in past reporting verb version when the reported situation is still true. For example....

    direct speech: “I am a student (2 years ago)
    reported speech: She said she is a student. (now she is still student)

    So why do we have present reporting verb version???

    Please explain when we should prefer present reporting version and when we should prefer the past reporting verb version.

    Thanks

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Present Or Past Reporting Verb Version Dilemma In Reported Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by murat guler View Post
    Hi All, it is me again

    I can't figure out where-when I should use these versions. Grammar book says, if the reporting verb is present simple, use "say-tell" and don't change the tense. For example....

    direct speech: “I like ice cream”
    reported speech: She says she likes ice cream

    If the reporting verb is past, use backshift....

    direct speech: “I like ice cream”
    reported speech: She said she liked ice cream

    The thing I cant understand is, when we report an expression that has already said, it is always a part of "past" and it seems to me that I should always use past reporting verb version. As you know, no tense change option is available in past reporting verb version when the reported situation is still true. For example....

    direct speech: “I am a student (2 years ago)
    reported speech: She said she is a student. (now she is still student)

    So why do we have present reporting verb version???

    Please explain when we should prefer present reporting version and when we should prefer the past reporting verb version.

    Thanks
    My advice would be to always backshift.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Present Or Past Reporting Verb Version Dilemma In Reported Speech

    Mary (speaking in 2008): "I am a student".
    John (speaking in 2012)
    : Mary said/says that she was/is a student.

    Mary (speaking yesterday): "I am a student".
    John (speaking today)
    :
    1. Mary said that she was a student.

    2. Mary said that she is a student
    3. Mary says that she was a student.
    4. Mary says that she is a student.


    In #1 and #2 John is placing the act of saying the words in the past. As the reporting verb is in the past tense, the verb in the reported speech can be backshifted (#1) but, as the state reported is still true, it doesn't have to be (#2).

    #3 is reporting the word 'I was a student', and so is not correct here.

    In #4, John is not distancing the saying of the words in time. He is making the reported words more clearly relevant to the present.

    ps. I agree with bhai's advice, which he posted while I was still writing my message.

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    #4

    Re: Present Or Past Reporting Verb Version Dilemma In Reported Speech

    Thanks for the quick answers

    One last thing....

    When we must use present reporting verb version INSTEAD OF past reporting version? Or can we talk about such an obligation in some certain situations.

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    #5

    Re: Present Or Past Reporting Verb Version Dilemma In Reported Speech

    One more question.....

    Is it possible to use present reporting verb version when reporting a question. For example....

    Joe to Anna: Are you hungry?
    Anna to Mary: Joe asked me if I was hungry (past reporting version)

    Joe to Anna: Are you hungry?
    Anna to Mary: Joe asks me if I am hungry (present reporting version)

    Thanks

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Present Or Past Reporting Verb Version Dilemma In Reported Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by murat guler View Post
    One more question.....

    Is it possible to use present reporting verb version when reporting a question. For example....

    Joe to Anna: Are you hungry?
    Anna to Mary: Joe asked me if I was hungry (past reporting version)

    Joe to Anna: Are you hungry?
    Anna to Mary: Joe asks me if I am hungry (present reporting version)

    Thanks
    Use this.
    Joe to Anna: Are you hungry?
    Anna to Mary: Joe asked me if I was hungry.

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