Past + past conditional

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GiangiUSA

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Hello, I've been studying english by myself for some years, but I have lots of difficulties.
I'd like to have some info about this kind of sentence:

- I thought it would save the day
or
- My friend said the I should avoid that area

I notice that after the simple past, would+infinitive verb has to be used.
Instead I'd have used this:

- I thought it would have saved the day
- My friend said me I should have avoid that area

Could you explein it to me?
ow do you say this kind of tense?
Where can I find some info about that?

Thanks a lot,
Gianluigi.
 

Grablevskij

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would + inf = Future in the Past
should + inf = advice
would + perfect inf = 3rd conditional (unreal in the past).
should + perfect inf = reproach.

Please look at the theme: modal verbs and conditionals.

Michael
 

apex2000

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I thought it would save the day
My friend said the I should avoid that area
both of these are good.

I thought it would have saved the day
This also is good, and could be used in place of the first sentence. It is just a matter of choice except in the case where you must refer to the past and the second sentence is then better. See below.

My friend said to me that I should (have) avoid that area

You are talking about a particular day; it could be today, yesterday or a month ago.
Today: (you have made a suggestion then:) either sentence is correct.
Yesterday: either sentence is correct but the second is better.
Tomorrow: the first sentence only. This is because tomorrow has not come and so you cannot pass any assessment such as: "......thought it would have..."
 

riverkid

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IMPORTANT: Giangi, please do not think that I'm yelling at you when I sometimes use all capitals in this posting. It is ONLY to emphasize a very important point.

Hello, I've been studying english by myself for some years, but I have lots of difficulties.
I'd like to have some info about this kind of sentence:

- I thought it would save the day
or
- My friend said the I should avoid that area

I notice that after the simple past, would+infinitive verb has to be used.
Instead I'd have used this:

- I thought it would have saved the day
- My friend said me I should have avoid that area

Could you explain it to me?
How do you say this kind of tense?
Where can I find some info about that?

Thanks a lot,
Gianluigi.

Actually, the kind of tense isn't at all important, Gianluigi. The grammar isn't important either. I think that the grammar has likely confused you.

What we choose depends on what the language situation is. First, your examples are reported speech and the "backshift", [so called because we shift back one tense FORM] we make, most often has nothing to do with tense or time.

I can't stress this enough.

BACKSHIFTING IS ONLY TO SHOW THAT THE SPEECH IS REPORTED, THAT IT IS NOT DIRECT OR QUOTED SPEECH. IT IS NOT DONE TO MATCH THE ACTUAL PAST TENSE REPORTING VERB WHICH IS IN THE PAST TIME AND THEREFORE THE PAST TENSE.


ORIGINALS:
- I thought it would save the day
or
- My friend said the I should avoid that area

I notice that after the simple past, would+infinitive verb has to be used.

Nothing has to be used. Again refer to the part in bold, above.

Original thought: "I think it will save the day" [when reported could become] "I thought it would save the day"

It could also be;

"I thought you know, this will save the day".


Original speech - {friend says} "You should avoid that area". [reported, it could become] My friend said the I should avoid that area


Let's say that you've never been to "that area". This can be seen from the friend's choice of 'that' to describe the area; it's a area distant from where the speech originally occurred. Let's also say that you intend to follow the friend's advice and never go to that area. As you can readily see, there is no past tense because there is no going.

Advice given has no past tense, it's merely advice. The action, of going or not going is the action that could have a past time and therefore a past tense verb to describe it.

'should' is not a past tense, it's only a modal verb that describes someone's opinion and it's not a "finished" opinion, it's one that holds at the time of speech, now and likely in the future, though of course there's nothing that says the friend cannot change his/her opinion.



Instead I'd have used this:

- I thought it would have saved the day

You'd only use this if what you thought 'would save the day' didn't actually turn out to save the day. In other words, your idea/thought was put to the test, something actually happened and it failed to "save the day and now you're remarking on it.


- My friend said me I should have avoided that area.

Again, you'd only use this if you didn't/hadn't actually avoided the area. It can't be used as a simple report of the speech because it seems to contain the meaning that you actually went to that area, despite what the friend said.

Traditional grammar has badly represented just what reported speech is. By telling students that the verbs in the reported portion must/should be past tense, they have misled students into thinking that the verbs were actually describing some finished action. This is, again, most often, FALSE.

The vast majority of reported speech describes actions that have not occurred, so there is NO PAST TENSE in the sense of a finished action. There is a past tense FORM used to show, once again, THAT THE SPEAKER IS MARKING THE SPEECH AS REPORTED SPEECH, NOT DIRECT/QUOTED SPEECH.
 
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GiangiUSA

New member
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
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Student or Learner
I would like to thank everybody for your help, and above all "riverkid" for his kindness: don't worry I didn't think you were yelling at me at all.
See you to next topic.
Bye ;-)
GiangiUSA
 
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