Indirect speech - continued

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henryh

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Joined
Nov 29, 2007
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Student or Learner
Native Language
Hungarian
Home Country
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Current Location
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Hello everyone,

Thanks for your replies yesterday.
Yet, I'd like to get feedback on the sentences below. The only thing that still seems a bit problematic to me is backshifting when the sentence I report is true or still refers to future at the time of reporting. Can't I leave the tense of the sentence unchanged in some cases?

1 Teacher at school - in the morning:
'Adam, how long have your parents been married?'

Adam at home - in the afternoon:
Dad, guess what the teacher asked me today. He asked how long you and mummy had been married. (Can't he say: ... have been married. - as they are still married)

2 Tommy in the morning:
' Guess what? I'll be 18 tomorrow.'

I tell my brother in the afternoon:
Tommy said he would be 18 tomorrow. (Can I leave this unchanged? - he will indeed turn 18 tomorrow.)

3 Joe to a friend at school in the morning:
'My dad keeps his revolver under his pillow.'

Friend to his parents at home same day in the afternoon:
Joe said his father kept his revolver under the pillow. (Isn't it okay to say: ...keeps his revolver ... as it is a habit of his)

4 Today at work:
Paul: 'See you tomorrow.'
Sam: 'Actually, you won't see me tomorrow. I'm catching the 4:30 train in the morning.'

Tonight at dinner, Paul to his wife:
Honey, imagine. Sam is leaving tomorrow. He said he would be catching the early train tomorrow.

(Can't I say: ... he will be catching ... - as this is really the case; and ...tomorrow (?) as it will really take place tomorrow.)

Of course, I can accept the backshifting rule; I have no problem with that. I was just wondering if these examples were considered grammatically incorrect. Can anyone summarize the rare examples when it is not necessary to backshift the tense? Native speakers' comments are highly appreciated.

I know I can be a real pain in the neck.

Thank s a lot.
Bye
 

apex2000

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Wales
1 Teacher at school - in the morning:
'Adam, how long have your parents been married?'

Adam at home - in the afternoon:
Dad, guess what the teacher asked me today. He asked how long you and mummy had been married. (Can't he say: ... have been married. - as they are still married)
have been, is correct.
2 Tommy in the morning:
' Guess what? I'll be 18 tomorrow.'

I tell my brother in the afternoon:
Tommy said he would be 18 tomorrow. (Can I leave this unchanged? - he will indeed turn 18 tomorrow.)
will be, is correct.
3 Joe to a friend at school in the morning:
'My dad keeps his revolver under his pillow.'

Friend to his parents at home same day in the afternoon:
Joe said his father kept his revolver under the pillow. (Isn't it okay to say: ...keeps his revolver ... as it is a habit of his)
both will do
4 Today at work:
Paul: 'See you tomorrow.'
Sam: 'Actually, you won't see me tomorrow. I'm catching the 4:30 train in the morning.'

Tonight at dinner, Paul to his wife:
Honey, imagine. Sam is leaving tomorrow. He said he would be catching the early train tomorrow.

(Can't I say: ... he will be catching ... - as this is really the case; and ...tomorrow (?) as it will really take place tomorrow.)
Yes. But 'would' also`meets your question
Of course, I can accept the backshifting rule; I have no problem with that. I was just wondering if these examples were considered grammatically incorrect. Can anyone summarize the rare examples when it is not necessary to backshift the tense? Native speakers' comments are highly appreciated.

I know I can be a real pain in the neck.

Thank s a lot.
Bye
Short answers this time; expecting more questions:)
 
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