reported speech - tenses

Status
Not open for further replies.
U

Unregistered

Guest
I am wondering why the writer is using both present and past tenses in this sentence

John concurred that Mary's job prospects will improve with increased efforts and that indeed there did exist a wide range of administrative jobs in the marketplace

Can I say "would improve"

thank you
 

tedtmc

Key Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Malaysia
Current Location
Malaysia
That should have been 'would improve'.

not a teacher
 

aziz abd

Key Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Arabic
Home Country
Morocco
Current Location
Morocco
I am wondering why the writer is using both present and past tenses in this sentence

John concurred that Mary's job prospects will improve with increased efforts and that indeed there did exist a wide range of administrative jobs in the marketplace

Can I say "would improve"

thank you
1) will improve is also correct as s/he refers to a time of improvement which still belongs to the future .The writer is still waiting for those improvements, too.
2) Did exist is the past of "do exist".s.present becomes s.past.

Here is an example :
Aziz said :"I will go to South Africa"
Aziz said that he will go to South Africa.
The person reporting this knows that it is about the world cup, and it is still in the future.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
I am wondering why the writer is using both present and past tenses in this sentence

John concurred that Mary's job prospects will improve with increased efforts and that indeed there did exist a wide range of administrative jobs in the marketplace

Can I say "would improve"

thank you
Yes, you can and you should.

I'd also suggest that the more correct reported version of:
Aziz said :"I will go to South Africa" is
Aziz said that he would go to South Africa.
 

aziz abd

Key Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Arabic
Home Country
Morocco
Current Location
Morocco
What about:
Aziz said:"The Earth is oval".
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
What about:
Aziz said:"The Earth is oval".
Aziz said that the Earth was oval.
You could say "Aziz said that the Earth is oval", but that isn't how this is normally expressed in English.

Galileo believed that the planets revolved around the earth.

The reported clause takes the past tense form even if it refers to a timeless non-changing fact.
 

aziz abd

Key Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Arabic
Home Country
Morocco
Current Location
Morocco
Note:
In some cases the backshift of tenses is not necessary, 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.
 

aziz abd

Key Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Arabic
Home Country
Morocco
Current Location
Morocco
As for the future , you are right Ray .Thank you.:-D

"I'll be there at ten tomorrow."

  • (If it is later the same day) He said he would be there at ten tomorrow.
  • (If it is the next day) He said he would be there at ten today.
Now compare these two sentences.​

  • (If we are in a different place) He said he would be there tomorrow at ten.
  • (If we are in the place he is coming to) He said he would be here at ten tomorrow.
 

tedtmc

Key Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Malaysia
Current Location
Malaysia
aziz
You can't compare 'Mary's job prospects' with the fact that the Earth is round or oval, surely. :roll:
 

aziz abd

Key Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Arabic
Home Country
Morocco
Current Location
Morocco
Sure , but the issue was about facts that are still waiting to take place in the present.The question is whether we use the past or the present in reporting them.
As for the future, I agree with you and Ray (with some tiny doubts perhaps that have to do with my native language inferences).
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top