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Past Simple + Present Simple Options
nightdream
Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020 2:27:39 PM

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Is it acceptable to use Past Simple + Present Simple together?


1/ I noticed (Past Simple) that there are a lot of unacceptable examples in Russian dictionaries (Present Simple).


2/ If you never heard this (Past Simple), then it is wrong (Present Simple).
tautophile
Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020 3:16:40 PM
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Yes. Both sentences are perfectly OK.
nightdream
Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020 4:10:57 PM

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tautophile wrote:
Yes. Both sentences are perfectly OK.


thank you!

Then it turns out that the sequence of the tenses (Past Simple + Present Simple) is acceptable.
nightdream
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 4:30:26 AM

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But what about "He said (Past Simple) that he lives in England (Present Simple)" - is it acceptable?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 4:43:18 AM

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Yes.

The thing to look at is - "is the second statement still true in the present?"

The article in last month's "Time" magazine said that Abraham Lincoln was the Presicent of the USA.
The article in last month's "Time" magazine said that Donald Trump is the President of the USA.


The article was in the past (last month).
Donald Trump is the president in the present.

***************
If "he" still lives in England, then "He said that he lives in England" is correct.

If he now lives elsewhere, then "He said that he lived in England" is correct.
nightdream
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 5:02:55 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Yes.

The thing to look at is - "is the second statement still true in the present?"

The article in last month's "Time" magazine said that Abraham Lincoln was the Presicent of the USA.
The article in last month's "Time" magazine said that Donald Trump is the President of the USA.


The article was in the past (last month).
Donald Trump is the president in the present.

***************
If "he" still lives in England, then "He said that he lives in England" is correct.

If he now lives elsewhere, then "He said that he lived in England" is correct.



Thank you. This is very strange. I was taught in the University that:

He said (Past Simple) that he lived in England (Past Simple) - means that he still lives in England in the present time.

He said (Past Simple) that he had lived in England (Past Perfect) - means that he lived there in the past.


BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 5:18:07 AM
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Backshifting in indirect/reported speech is always correct, However, despite what some writers and teachers claim, it is not always obligatory. As Drag0 said, 'The thing to look at is - "is the second statement still true in the present?"'
nightdream
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 5:25:58 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
Backshifting in indirect/reported speech is always correct, However, despite what some writers and teachers claim, it is not always obligatory. As Drag0 said, 'The thing to look at is - "is the second statement still true in the present?"'



Your explanations always are not understandable for me. I would like to read the answer from himself.

Have you meant that it is not obligatory to keep to the grammar rules in a colloquial speech?
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 6:25:41 AM
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nightdream wrote:
Have you meant that it is not obligatory to keep to the grammar rules in a colloquial speech?


No.

If we do not backshift when the second statement is still true at the moment of reporting, we are not breaking any rules. We are producing correct and natural sentences.
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 6:36:29 AM
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nightdream wrote:
I was taught in the University that:

He said (Past Simple) that he lived in England (Past Simple) - means that he still lives in England in the present time.

He said (Past Simple that he had lived in England (Past Perfect) - means that he lived there in the past.


What you were told is not the complete picture.


He said that he lived in England could mean that:

- he still lives in England at 11.30 Central European Time on 14 March 2020,as I write this post,
- He lived in England at the time the sentence in italics was uttered,
- He lived in England at some time before 14 March 2020,
- He lived in England at some time before the words in italics were uttered.

nightdream
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 2:19:20 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Yes.

The thing to look at is - "is the second statement still true in the present?"

The article in last month's "Time" magazine said that Abraham Lincoln was the Presicent of the USA.
The article in last month's "Time" magazine said that Donald Trump is the President of the USA.


The article was in the past (last month).
Donald Trump is the president in the present.

***************
If "he" still lives in England, then "He said that he lives in England" is correct.

If he now lives elsewhere, then "He said that he lived in England" is correct.



This is very strange. I thought that it should be:

The article in the magazine "said" that Lincoln "had been" the President of the USA. (in the Past)

The article in the magazine "said" that Trump "was" the President of the USA. (in the Present)


Or did I misunderstand you? Did you mean that both your examples mean that he is a President in the present and both options are acceptable?

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 7:08:13 AM

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My earlier example was wrong - the first one should have said "had been". Try again . . .

In my understanding, there are three possibilities for a real siruation (not hypothetical or only "possible" ones).
The "he said" or "the article said" is in the simple past - so it happened in the past.

1. The situation is true now, and the statement was earlier.
2. The situation was true in the past, and the statement was said/written WHILE the statement was true.
3. The statement was in the past - and the situation was true FURTHER in the past, but not at the time of the statement.

1a. My teacher told us that Donald Trump is the president.
The statement by the teacher is earlier today, or recently, in the past. The statement is true NOW - Donald Trump is the president.

1b. He said that he's a doctor.
The statement was recently, and applies to the situation which continues now - he's still a doctor.

2a. My teacher told us that Donald Trump was the president.
The statement by the teacher is earlier today, or recently, in the past. The statement was true at that time - Donald Trump was the president. It MAY still be true - the sentence just doesn't say.

2b. He said that he was a doctor.
The statement was in the past, and applies to the situation as it was then - he was a doctor at that time. He may still be a doctor - the sentence doesn't say.

3aMy teacher told us that Barak Obasma had been the president.
The statement is in the past, and the situation was true even earlier. The teacher may have said yesterday that Obama had been the president in 2015). (One could use "used to be" in this one, too).

2b. He said that he had been a doctor.
The statement is in the past, and the situation was true even earlier. When he said this, he was no longer a doctor - maybe retired or something.

********************
One can ASSUME that a situation stated as "was" is still true - but the sentence doesn't SAY that.
2a. My teacher told us that Donald Trump was the president.
This was a statement about yesterday (made by the teacher yesterday).
We can assume that Trump is still the president - but the sentence only says that he WAS yesterday.

2b. He said that he was a doctor.
It doesn't SAY that he retired, so one might assume that he's still a doctor.
However, look at this "In 1842, he said that he was a doctor". It's very unlikely to be true now - he probably died a century ago.

2c. The article in the magazine said that Trump was the President of the USA.
The article was yesterday, and said that Trump wasd the president then - so it's pretty safe to assume that he is still the president now.

*******************
Many people use "was" for a true statement NOW - if the statement was very recent - because it's pretty safe to assume that the situation is still the same.
Many people use "is" for a statement that's true now.

**************
Think of a very "simple situation" - you ask someone the time - then someone asks you what the reply was.

10:30. - "What time is it?" - "Ten thirty."
10:30:01. - "What time did he say it is?" - "He said that it's ten thirty."
10:30:10. - "What time did he say it is?" - "He said it was ten thirty."

10:30. - "What time is it?" - "Ten thirty."
10:40. - "When you asked, what time did he say it was?" - "He said it was ten thirty."
nightdream
Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020 11:50:11 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/20/2015
Posts: 1,461
Neurons: 4,314
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
My earlier example was wrong - the first one should have said "had been". Try again . . .

In my understanding, there are three possibilities for a real siruation (not hypothetical or only "possible" ones).
The "he said" or "the article said" is in the simple past - so it happened in the past.

1. The situation is true now, and the statement was earlier.
2. The situation was true in the past, and the statement was said/written WHILE the statement was true.
3. The statement was in the past - and the situation was true FURTHER in the past, but not at the time of the statement.

1a. My teacher told us that Donald Trump is the president.
The statement by the teacher is earlier today, or recently, in the past. The statement is true NOW - Donald Trump is the president.

1b. He said that he's a doctor.
The statement was recently, and applies to the situation which continues now - he's still a doctor.

2a. My teacher told us that Donald Trump was the president.
The statement by the teacher is earlier today, or recently, in the past. The statement was true at that time - Donald Trump was the president. It MAY still be true - the sentence just doesn't say.

2b. He said that he was a doctor.
The statement was in the past, and applies to the situation as it was then - he was a doctor at that time. He may still be a doctor - the sentence doesn't say.

3aMy teacher told us that Barak Obasma had been the president.
The statement is in the past, and the situation was true even earlier. The teacher may have said yesterday that Obama had been the president in 2015). (One could use "used to be" in this one, too).

2b. He said that he had been a doctor.
The statement is in the past, and the situation was true even earlier. When he said this, he was no longer a doctor - maybe retired or something.

********************
One can ASSUME that a situation stated as "was" is still true - but the sentence doesn't SAY that.
2a. My teacher told us that Donald Trump was the president.
This was a statement about yesterday (made by the teacher yesterday).
We can assume that Trump is still the president - but the sentence only says that he WAS yesterday.

2b. He said that he was a doctor.
It doesn't SAY that he retired, so one might assume that he's still a doctor.
However, look at this "In 1842, he said that he was a doctor". It's very unlikely to be true now - he probably died a century ago.

2c. The article in the magazine said that Trump was the President of the USA.
The article was yesterday, and said that Trump wasd the president then - so it's pretty safe to assume that he is still the president now.

*******************
Many people use "was" for a true statement NOW - if the statement was very recent - because it's pretty safe to assume that the situation is still the same.
Many people use "is" for a statement that's true now.

**************
Think of a very "simple situation" - you ask someone the time - then someone asks you what the reply was.

10:30. - "What time is it?" - "Ten thirty."
10:30:01. - "What time did he say it is?" - "He said that it's ten thirty."
10:30:10. - "What time did he say it is?" - "He said it was ten thirty."

10:30. - "What time is it?" - "Ten thirty."
10:40. - "When you asked, what time did he say it was?" - "He said it was ten thirty."



Thank you very much. Now it became clear for me. It is a real discovery for me. We have never been taught this.

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