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    • Join Date: Feb 2009
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    #1

    Exclamation tense

    Hello there.

    Is this sentence technically possible?

    I knew she is shy.

    Please help me!


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: tense

    I think I know what the confusion is here.
    It's easy for me to say 'no' - that's not technically correct. But tell me:
    Why did you think that it could be right, (and not/or as well as), "I know she is shy." or "I knew she was shy."

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    #3

    Re: tense

    "I knew" - I have been knowing it for quite some time. I am aware of that since I first met her.

    "she is shy" - She still is shy. If I say "she was", doesn't it imply that she isn't anymore?

    I'd conclude that the sentence is technically possible.

    Do you think the interpretation above is possible?

    just a student.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: tense

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    "I knew" - I have been knowing it for quite some time. I am aware of that since I first met her.

    "she is shy" - She still is shy. If I say "she was", doesn't it imply that she isn't anymore?

    I'd conclude that the sentence is technically possible.

    Do you think the interpretation above is possible?

    just a student.
    jctgf, in reported speech and thought, try to maintain a present tense form when the information given is a universal truth. In other cases, backshifting is the right thing to use.

    I know/knew the Sun goes round the Earth.
    vs
    I know she is shy [you knew this some time ago, and you still know that now - that she is shy]
    I know she was shy [there was a time when she was shy; now, she is not so any more]
    I knew she was shy [you knew that 'she is shy' when you said this at the time; to me, no confusion present - she was shy then and I reckon she still is]
    I knew she had been shy [at the time when you said so, she was no longer shy; in other words, the moment you were talking about her, she was not shy any more]

    I know she is shy = I knew she was shy [in indirect speech]
    I know she was shy = I knew she had been shy [in indirect speech]
    Last edited by engee30; 24-May-2009 at 17:15.


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #5

    Re: tense

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Is this sentence technically possible?

    I knew she is shy.

    Please help me!
    Correct. Backshifting is optional when the time-reference of the utterance in the sub clause ((that) she is shy) is valid at the time of the reporting.

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