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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > reported speech    

reported speech



Teacher Khalid
Jordan

reported speech
 
dear friends

how to report this sentence

we were playing basketball


my concern is does the past con. shift back ? or remain as it is.

20 Oct 2009      



maoopa
China

I would say -Khalid said they were playing basketball -

20 Oct 2009     



akhssass
Morocco

No, Khalid said that they had been playing Basketball.

20 Oct 2009     



Allisa
Bulgaria

I agree with akhssass:

Khalid said that they had been playing basketball.

If the reporting verb is in the past, you have to apply the backshifting rule. We do not change the tense in the reported sentence when:

- the reporting verb is in the present;
- we talk about a general truth (which is not the case in your sentence);
- we report something which is still in the future at the moment of reporting (and your sentence refers to the past).

20 Oct 2009     



chiaras
Italy

This is the rule I know about reporting the past continuous: either you say: Khalis said they were playing basket-ball", leaving the tense as it s, or you say: Khalid said they had been playing basket-ball, applying the backshifting rule.
 
Both above mentioned options should be correct!
 

20 Oct 2009     



eng789
Israel

If the reporting verb is in past - said  -  then you need to go 1 back
                                                                   = They had been playing..
If the reporting verb is in present- says - then    the tense stays= They were playing...

20 Oct 2009     



chiaras
Italy

Some Italian grammar books allow both options, even if the reporting verb is in the past and I ve heard native speakers using the past continuous as it is. As far as I know this happens only with the past continuous. However, you are a native speaker too, so I do not know what is right and what is wrong now!!!

20 Oct 2009     



eng789
Israel

I am a native speaker but I have to teach my kids the rules.  I also test them according  to the rules. 
 
But I also tell them that NS sometimes don t follow the rules so that is why you sometimes hear it differently.

20 Oct 2009     



vickyvar
Greece

I agree with chiaras. I have read in a few grammar books that both options are correct regardless  of the fact that the introductory verb is in a past tense.

20 Oct 2009     



KHAWLA ALZIOD
Jordan

khalid  ,the best way to report this sentence is :

Khalid said that they had been playing the  day before .
if you use the reporting verb says you can say :
Khalid says that they were playing basket ball .... 

20 Oct 2009