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  1. tkacka15's Avatar
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    #1

    back-shift

    "“Four years ago, we were given information by a witness who was in Walbrzych at the time the train disappeared in April 1945. Radar technology has become affordable so we were able to check the information,” said Koper, who would not reveal if he knew anything about the hiding places of the other two supposed trains." [From The Guardian.]

    Is who would not reveal if he knew anything about the hiding places of the other two supposed trains a second conditional or a backshift from who will not reveal if he knows anything about the hiding places of the other two supposed trains in the above context?

    Thank you.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: back-shift

    There is no conditional there. It's a past-tense version of "... who will not (= refuses to, is not prepared/willing to) reveal if/whether he knows ...".

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    #3

    Re: back-shift

    I agree that there's no conditional there. I'd look at it as: "who would not reveal [something]." The "something" is “whether or not he knew anything about the hiding places of the other two trains.”

    I would also say that there is backshift, from "he knows" to "he knew." A pretty good page for info on backshift is at http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/r...-backshift.htm, though it only deals with backshift in reported speech.

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