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    #1

    Past Reporting Verb

    "If the reporting verb is in the past, the past infinitive tends to follow, though not always if the verb be is used"

    Does the sentence above means when the verb be is used, the past infinitive does not follow, e.g "He was thought to be in the pub". Or does it mean, when the verb be is used, sometimes, the past infinitive does not follow?
    That is: "He was thought to have been in the pub" is also commonly used.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Past Reporting Verb

    Quote Originally Posted by J_Caesar View Post
    "If the reporting verb is in the past, the past infinitive tends to follow, though not always if the verb be is used"

    Does the sentence above means when the verb be is used, the past infinitive does not (necessarily) follow, e.g "He was thought to be in the pub". Or does it mean, when the verb be is used, sometimes, the past infinitive does not follow?
    That is: "He was thought to have been in the pub" is also commonly used.
    Close, I would say. With the correction in red, they mean the same thing. I'm not sure I agree with the premise though.
    He was reported to have had a gun. He was reported to have a gun.
    He was reported to have been drunk. He reported to be drunk.
    He was reported to having been beating his wife. He was reported to be beating his wife.
    He was reported to having been seen beating his wife. He was reported to being seen beating his wife.
    They sound pretty much the same to me this morning.





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    #3

    Re: Past Reporting Verb

    Thank you for your reply .
    I have one more question:
    You said: "Close, I would say".

    Why "would" is used here?

    Why can't we use "Close, I say"?

    I know what you said is correct because I have always seen it is written in that form () but I don't know why it is correct.


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    #4

    Re: Past Reporting Verb

    Rules of grammar help us to understand the structure of a language. A rule is not very helpful when it is stated as '"If the reporting verb is in the past, the past infinitive tends to follow, though not always if the verb be is used"
    So when does it, and when doesn't it - your uncertainty is more understandable than the rule!

    Fortunately, as we speak, we are not thinking in terms of 'rules', but communicating some information - and most importantly, our perspective on this information.

    "He was thought to be in the pub".
    A detective is reporting back about a suspect, and says, "When the fire at his home broke out, he was thought to be in the pub. I'm trying to confirm this alibi."
    Here, the perspective is 'not this location, but at that location.'

    "He was thought to have been in the pub"

    A detective is reporting back about a suspect, and says: "The murder of his wife took place at their home between 8 and 9 p.m. Between those hours, he was thought to have been in the pub. I'm checking up on this."
    Now the perspective is not only location, but a period of time in the past, and so the speaker changes his perspective to what is Present Perfect tense.

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    #5

    Re: Past Reporting Verb

    Quote Originally Posted by J_Caesar View Post
    Thank you for your reply .
    I have one more question:
    You said: "Close, I would say".

    Why "would" is used here?

    Why can't we use "Close, I say"?

    I know what you said is correct because I have always seen it is written in that form () but I don't know why it is correct.
    It's simply a polite form. I could have said "You are close". It's a conditional, meaning:
    - if you want my opinion
    - if I have understood your post correctly
    - if I have not missed a pivotal point of grammar ...
    Also, as you've noticed, it's just one way of saying things.

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