Indirect speech

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Belly T

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Direct: Shall we be there tomorrow?
Indirect: They want to know if they will be there tommorrow

Is the sentence above correct?

Do we step backward from "future simple" to "present simple" tense? And what if the direct sentence in "future continous/ be going to"?
And there from direct will stay in the indirect one?:lol:
 

Casiopea

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shall be => would be

Note that,

Present continuous => Past continuous
Present simple => Past simple
Present prefect => Past perfect
Past perfect => No change
Past simple => Past perfect
Past continuous => No change (usually)
shall/will => would
can => could
must => had to or No change
should => No change
ought to => No change
may => might
imperative => infinitive

Source: http://www.miguelmllop.com/grammars/mygrammar/reportedspeech.pdf [page 123]
 

Dawnstorm

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Hi,

Doesn't the tense of the reported speech depend on the tense of the verb of communication? (The article assumes verbs of communication in the past tense.)

I'd accept Belly T's sentence as correct (but I'm neither a native speaker nor a teacher).

***

Edit:

And there from direct will stay in the indirect one?:lol:
"There" may stay, but doesn't have to. It's a question of the context in which the speech is reported.

1. They want to know if they will be there.

The speaker is either

a) in the same place as they are
b) or in a different place, but not the place they were asking about.

2. They want to know if they will be here.

The speaker is in the place they were asking about.
 
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Casiopea

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Agreed, and isn't also a matter of pronoun?

I, we shall
s/he, they will
 

Casiopea

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Moreover, I'm a North American speaker of English, so Shall we be there tomorrow? is quite the oddity.

What are your thoughts? :-D

___________________________________
Correction (post #4)
isn't it also
 

Belly T

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Much thanks, but Swan said again, in page 252 of Pratical English Usage, he gave an example:

Direct: Shall I be needed tomorrow?

Indirect: He wants to know if he will be needed tomorrow

I wonder why he wrote the sentence in future tense, could you make it clearer?
 

Casiopea

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Much thanks, but Swan said again, in page 252 of Pratical English Usage, he gave an example:

Direct: Shall I be needed tomorrow?

Indirect: He wants to know if he will be needed tomorrow

I wonder why he wrote the sentence in future tense, could you make it clearer?
Have you read Dawnstorm's posts? They explain it. ;-)
 

Dawnstorm

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Moreover, I'm a North American speaker of English, so Shall we be there tomorrow? is quite the oddity.

What are your thoughts? :-D

I'm Austrian (a native speaker of German), with a decided tendency towards British English. I find nothing odd about the sentence per se, although it's somewhat hard to interpret without context.

Item one:

Are "shall/will" modal verbs, hinting at intention, or "auxilary" verbs marking the future tense? There are arguments for both (look up the various discussions on whether English has a future tense or not).

Item two:

Is there a difference between "shall" and "will" when applied to first person pronouns?

Item three:

Do "shall" and "will" behave differently in questions than in statements?

I must admit that I tend to decide on a case-by-case basis. Abstractly, it's too confusing, so I don't really have any reaction (but confusion if I try and tackle the subject) to "Shall we be there?" I don't get odd vibes from it, though. (It does have the slight air of a "suggestion", though.)
 

Casiopea

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I'm Austrian (a native speaker of German), with a decided tendency towards British English. I find nothing odd about the sentence per se, although it's somewhat hard to interpret without context.
For North American speakers, the usage is different. Click § 56. shall / will. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996. You'll find the answers to Items one, two, and three. ;-)

Dawnstorm said:
I must admit that I tend to decide on a case-by-case basis. Abstractly, it's too confusing, so I don't really have any reaction (but confusion if I try and tackle the subject) to "Shall we be there?" I don't get odd vibes from it, though. (It does have the slight air of a "suggestion", though.)
What kind of suggestion?



In short, 1. sounds mighty odd to me, even with context, but 2. is perfectly meaningful:

1. Shall we be there tomorrow? <:?:>
2. Shall we be needed tomorrow? <permission>

Getting back to Belly T's examples:

Direct: Shall we be there tomorrow?
Indirect: They want to know if they will be there tomorrow.

It appears that Michael Swan (American, right?) uses will instead of would (with "be needed", not "be there") for the following two reasons:

i. The main verb want isn't in the past tense.
ii. The subject pronoun they isn't compatible semantically with shall in that context.

All the best. :-D
 

Belly T

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According to you, Casi, we don't shift the tense backward if the sentence expresses the permission, right?
(To me, I don't think Micheal Swan is an American in view of the Oxford publisher)
 
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