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    #1

    Tense

    I need help again.

    I'm not so sure if the following sentence is correct...with mixed tenses.

    I told her that she needs to send her dad an invitation. (There are past and present tenses in the sentence).

    What's the best way to convey s/t like this. Also, if it's possible, can you give me examples of when a mixed tenses can be used in a single sentence?

    Thank you for your reply.

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    #2

    Exclamation Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by unruly2009 View Post
    I need help again.

    I'm not so sure if the following sentence is correct...with mixed tenses.

    I told her that she needs to send her dad an invitation. (There are past and present tenses in the sentence).

    What's the best way to convey s/t like this. Also, if it's possible, can you give me examples of when a mixed tenses can be used in a single sentence?

    Thank you for your reply.
    Mixed tenses are used when you want to express more than two actions in one sentence. Example: My father entered the room while I was sleeping. (Two actions one past simple and the second past continuous.
    Your above sentence has two clauses/senteces. One is the main clause and the other is reported clause.when reporting what someone else has said, the reporting verb in the main clause is usually in the past tense. The rest of the sentence is normally past too, and the reporting clause is introduced by a linking conjunction such as that or if which follows the reporting verb: So here the verb in reported clause should normally be in the past tense as:
    I told her that she would need (needs) to send her dad an invitation.
    I told her that she should send her dad an invitation. (better)
    Last edited by sarat_106; 02-Jul-2009 at 10:43.

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    #3

    Re: Tense

    Backshift is optional when the time-reference of the original utterance is valid at the time of the reported utterance.

    Their teacher had told them that the earth moves around the sun.
    Sam told me last night that he is now an American citizen.
    I heard her say that she is studying Business Administration.
    A Yale professor has said that the Brooklyn Bridge is the most majestic embodiment of the American experience of the road.
    They thought that prison conditions have improved.
    I didn't know that our meeting is next Tuesday.
    She said that they are being discriminated against.
    The waiter told me that lunch is now being served.

    The reporting verb may be in the present tense for communications in recent past time.

    Joan tells me she's going to the airport in an hour's time.
    She says she was too busy to join us last night.

    The present tense is also used for reports attributed to famous works or authors which have present validity

    The Bible says there's no end to the writing of books
    Chaucer somewhere writes that love is blind.

    Source:
    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. P.1027
    Last edited by ptetpe; 02-Jul-2009 at 08:01.


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    #4

    Re: Tense

    [quote=sarat_106;489618]Mixed tenses are used when you want to express more than two actions in one sentence. Example: My father entered the room while I was sleeping. (Two actions one past simple and the second past continuous.
    Your above sentence has two clauses/senteces. One is the main clause and the other is reported clause.when reporting what someone else has said, the reporting verb in the main clause is usually in the past tense. The rest of the sentence is normally past too, and the reporting clause is introduced by a linking conjunction such as that or if which follows the reporting verb: So here the verb in reported clause should normally be in the past tense as:
    I told her that she would need (needs) to send her dad an invitation.

    What Mr. Sarat says is absolutely correct.

    Even it may also be written as,

    I told her that she needed to send her Dad an invitation.

    Hi Ptetpe!
    I feel yours first sentence is O.K because it mentions the universal truth. Incase of other sentences I have doubt. Don't confuse unruly 2009.


    Their teacher had told them that the earth moves around the sun.


    Thank you.

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    #5

    Re: Tense

    Chell,

    Do you know the meaning of "optional"?


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    #6

    Talking Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by ptetpe View Post
    Chell,

    Do you know the meaning of "optional"?

    I am very sorry. I did'nt notice the world optional in your reply. Thank you.
    with regards
    chellamuthu

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    #7

    Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by chellamuthu View Post
    I am very sorry. I did'nt notice the world optional in your reply. Thank you.
    with regards
    chellamuthu
    No worries.

    The only important thing is to get it right. Please do check with other members what I quoted from my source. You come across my sample sentenses from newspapers and books every now and then.

    Regards.


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    #8

    Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by ptetpe View Post
    Backshift is optional when the time-reference of the original utterance is valid at the time of the reported utterance.

    Their teacher had told them that the earth moves around the sun.
    Sam told me last night that he is now an American citizen.
    I heard her say that she is studying Business Administration.
    A Yale professor has said that the Brooklyn Bridge is the most majestic embodiment of the American experience of the road.
    They thought that prison conditions have improved.
    I didn't know that our meeting is next Tuesday.
    She said that they are being discriminated against.
    The waiter told me that lunch is now being served.

    The reporting verb may be in the present tense for communications in recent past time.

    Joan tells me she's going to the airport in an hour's time.
    She says she was too busy to join us last night.

    The present tense is also used for reports attributed to famous works or authors which have present validity

    The Bible says there's no end to the writing of books
    Chaucer somewhere writes that love is blind.

    Source:
    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. P.1027
    Thanks so much for the sample sentences.

    However, based on the above samples and explanation, my original sentence is also correct, right??
    My original sentence is "I told her that she needs to send her dad an invitation." According to what you wrote, the reporting clause is "that she needs to send her dad an invitation" and that's in present tense.

    And your first sentence can also be written as
    "Their teacher told them that the earth moves around the sun." right? Notice without "had told" in the revised sentence.

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    #9

    Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by unruly2009 View Post
    Thanks so much for the sample sentences.

    However, based on the above samples and explanation, my original sentence is also correct, right??
    My original sentence is "I told her that she needs to send her dad an invitation." According to what you wrote, the reporting clause is "that she needs to send her dad an invitation" and that's in present tense.

    And your first sentence can also be written as
    "Their teacher told them that the earth moves around the sun." right? Notice without "had told" in the revised sentence.
    (Not a teacher)
    I think the important point is whether or not the statement in the that clause is still valid or true. If yes, we use the present tense. Otherwise, the past tense should be used.

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    #10

    Exclamation Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by unruly2009 View Post
    Thanks so much for the sample sentences.

    However, based on the above samples and explanation, my original sentence is also correct, right??
    My original sentence is "I told her that she needs to send her dad an invitation." According to what you wrote, the reporting clause is "that she needs to send her dad an invitation" and that's in present tense.

    And your first sentence can also be written as
    "Their teacher told them that the earth moves around the sun." right? Notice without "had told" in the revised sentence.
    What albertino has said is the only point where back shift of tense is optional. The examples cited by ptetpe are cases where back shift in the reported clause is either not necessary or optional.
    Not necessary:
    If the sentence starts in the present, there is no backshift of tenses in Reported speech.
    Example: Susan: "I work in an office." Susan says that she works in an office


    Optional:
    In some cases the backshift of tenses is optional, e.g. when statements are still true.
    John: "My brother is at Leipzig university."
    John said that his brother was at Leipzig university. or
    John said that his brother is at Leipzig university.
    or
    Mandy: "The sun rises in the East."
    Mandy said that the sun rose in the East. or
    Mandy said that the sun rises in the East.

    In your sentence, if "inviting dad' is always true/valid, then it is optional for you to use present or past tense.
    Last edited by sarat_106; 03-Jul-2009 at 06:10.

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