Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. CarloSsS's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 629
    #1

    unreal time -- tense shift

    Is it all right to shift tenses with unreal time structure combined with as/if as though?

    Direct speech:
    Tom, you look as if you were ill." (This means that although he looks ill, he is not).

    Indirect speech:
    "When I saw Tom, he looked as if he was ill." (This is what I would use normally).
    "When I saw Tom, as if he had been ill." (This is what I would use if I wanted to suggest that he might have been ill sometimes in the (recent) past before I saw him).

    Is my reasoning correct?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  2. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #2

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    Is it all right to shift tenses with unreal time structure combined with as/if as though?

    Direct speech:
    Tom, you look [as if you were] ill." (This means that although he looks ill, he is not).

    Indirect speech:
    "When I saw Tom, he looked as if he was ill." (This is what I would use normally).
    "When I saw Tom, as if he had been ill." (This is what I would use if I wanted to suggest that he might have been ill sometimes in the (recent) past before I saw him).

    Is my reasoning correct?
    Hi,

    I have marked in red what I would drop in direct speech; it sounds more natural (to me) without it.

    Unsure about the second part, though

    Greetings,

    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #3

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    I think we are more likely to say, "You look as if you are ill". There is no need to distance the verb in reality - the appearance of illnesss is real.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #4

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    I have marked in red what I would drop in direct speech; it sounds more natural (to me) without it.
    "You look ill" is fine - but so is "You look as if you are ill".

  5. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #5

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    "You look ill" is fine - but so is "You look as if you are ill".


    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  6. CarloSsS's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 629
    #6

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    I see that the example with looking ill is not the best one. What about these? Is it all right if I shift the tense in the subordinate clause?

    Direct speech:
    "She acts as if she didn't know him." (But she knows him)

    Indirect speech:
    1. She acted as if she didn't know him. (This is what I would say if I were to report the direct speech).
    2. She acted as if she hadn't known him. (IMO, this means something different).
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  7. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,620
    #7

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    I see that the example with looking ill is not the best one. What about these? Is it all right if I shift the tense in the subordinate clause?

    Direct speech:
    "She acts as if she didn't know him." (But she knows him)

    Indirect speech:
    1. She acted as if she didn't know him. (This is what I would say if I were to report the direct speech).
    2. She acted as if she hadn't known him. (IMO, this means something different).
    #1 is correct for your example sentence.

  8. CarloSsS's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 629
    #8

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    #1 is correct for your example sentence.
    What about this? Is a conversation like this possible? How would the meaning of what B says be different from #2?

    A: "Did you see how she acted? It was strange."
    B: "Yeah, she acted as if she hadn't known him."
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  9. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,620
    #9

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    What about this? Is a conversation like this possible? How would the meaning of what B says be different from #2?

    A: "Did you see how she acted? It was strange."
    B: "Yeah, she acted as if she hadn't known him."
    That's not natural.

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

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #10

    Re: unreal time -- tense shift

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    What about this? Is a conversation like this possible? How would the meaning of what B says be different from #2?

    A: "Did you see how she acted? It was strange."
    B: "Yeah, she acted as if she hadn't known him."
    To use the past perfect in the second sentence, you need the present perfect in the first.

    Direct: "You look like you haven't done your homework."
    Indirect: "She looked like she hadn't done her homework."

    "Tom, you look as if you've been ill."
    "When I saw Tom, he looked as if he had been ill."

    "You act as if you haven't known him." (Strange sentence, but necessary if you want to use the following one.)
    "She acted as if she hadn't known him."

    "You act as if you haven't seen him." (Normal)
    "She acted as if she hadn't seen him." (Normal)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] tense shift and aspects
    By sebayanpendam in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-Aug-2010, 11:20
  2. tense shift
    By guzhao67 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Oct-2008, 02:39
  3. unreal conditionals of past - tense problem -
    By ricky319 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 15-Jan-2008, 22:34
  4. tense shift after a coordinating conjunction?
    By dihen in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-Jul-2006, 09:41
  5. shift in tense
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-Mar-2004, 20:16

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
  •