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    #1

    Please explain the difference

    Original statement:

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott today responded to the situation saying it was still not known who were behind the attack and what the motive of the gunmen was.

    Is it wrong if we write it in the following way:
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott today responded to the situation saying it is still not known who is behind the attack and what the motive of the gunmen is.

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    #2

    Re: Please explain the difference


    Prime Minister Tony Abbott today responded to the situation saying it is still not known who is behind the attack and what the motive of the gunmen is.
    Generally the past tense is used in reported speech but in this case, the facts are still true at the moment, so the present tense is acceptable.

    not a teacher

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    #3

    Re: Please explain the difference

    jswarraich, please note that a better title would have been who is behind/who were behind.

    Extract from the Posting Guidelines:

    'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Please explain the difference

    I am not a teacher.

    I would say, '…who was behind the attack', not '…who were'.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Please explain the difference

    A teacher on this forum said that the tense backshift is optional in such a case.
    So I could use 'is' instead of 'was' in the above sentence.

    Not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: Please explain the difference

    Both the present and the past are fine. I prefer was to were.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Please explain the difference

    Because of "gunmen" I would use "were".

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    #8

    Re: Please explain the difference

    Hey Rover_KE,

    "Not a teacher" is in my signature. I carry it everywhere. That's not good enough?
    ----------- Useful Signature ---------
    Warning: Take my words at your own risk, because I am neither a teacher, nor a native English speaker.

  4. Roman55's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Please explain the difference

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Because of "gunmen" I would use "were".
    I am not a teacher.

    It is not known who was behind the attack. The 'gunmen' are mentioned at the end of the sentence, and since it is not known who was behind the attack, it isn't the gunmen. The gunmen perpetrated the attack, but we don't know who was behind it.

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    #10

    Re: Please explain the difference

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbei View Post
    Hey Rover_KE,

    "Not a teacher" is in my signature. I carry it everywhere. That's not good enough?
    Sorry, but no. It needs to be in plain sight in every post.

    Many members choose to uncheck 'View signatures' in order to 'remove extraneous clutter from posts'.*

    *See Forum Actions — General Settings — Thread Display Options — View Signatures.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 17-Dec-2014 at 19:08.

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