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Indirect speech Options
boa
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 3:03:01 AM
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Do we need to change tense in the the clause after when

1) I was sleeping when you called me. - She said that she had been sleeping when I called/had called her.


chromomancer
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 6:32:52 AM
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She said that she had been sleeping when I called her.

"When I had called her" would be a time after you called her.
boa
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 6:41:37 AM
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chromomancer wrote:
She said that she had been sleeping when I called her.
OK. Clear.

"When I had called her" would be a time after you called her.

Not clear.

I don't quite understand how it works the way you see it.

How would it be in direct speech?

I was sleeping when you had called me. (Doesn't sound right to me)
Maybe
I was sleeping after you had called me. (???)

Or how do you see it?
Waverley67
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 7:50:25 AM
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I'm not sure that anything needs to change, boa. 'She said she had been sleeping...' already puts the anecdote in the past. By implication, what follows must also be in the past.
boa
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 8:59:34 AM
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Waverley67 wrote:
I'm not sure that anything needs to change, boa. 'She said she had been sleeping...' already puts the anecdote in the past. By implication, what follows must also be in the past.

That's right. But there are two kinds of past possible in this case - Past Simple and Past Perfect. PS or PP that is the question.
Waverley67
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 9:29:00 AM
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Well... being far from perfect, I prefer to keep it simple.Eh?
Barely literate
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 3:18:27 PM

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Waverley67 wrote:
Well... being far from perfect, I prefer to keep it simple.Eh?

__________________________________

This is an interesting point to discuss on! Even I would like to know which one is acceptable by the Erudite Grammarians and Intolerable Pedants...

suppose I am reporting it today.
She said that matter to me yesterday. So I should use "Simple Past"
I called(rang up) her on the day-before. So, my mind say one should use "Past Perfect"
So I suppose...
She said that she had been sleeping when I had called her. Isn't it more correct?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 3:35:14 PM

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The most natural way to say this is
"She said she had been sleeping when I had called her."
boa
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 3:55:37 PM
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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
The most natural way to say this is
"She said she had been sleeping when I had called her."


Jyrkkä Jätkä, I adore your manner of simplification and self-assurance. Do you ever double check your statements? In other words what is your statement based on that it gives you courage to claim that that is the MOST NATURAL WAY to say it? A lot of native speakers don't always feel comfortable to step forward to give an explanation but I see you have no such problem. Lucky you.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 4:18:37 PM

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Boa,
I started learning English as my first foreign language in 1967. Ever since the early 70s I've been using it to really communicate, with native English speakers and with ESL/EFL people like myself. I had the opportunity to interview Texan singer&songwriter Shawn Phillips when I was 18. I'm sure I made lots of mistakes in my English but it didn't stop me, and I got that interview printed in the music magazine, in Finnish, of course.

I don't care much about grammar, I go by the instinct, and by experience. I have to look up many things here, just to double check. Still I can be wrong sometimes, but I'm not scared about that. That's the only way to learn.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 4:38:30 PM

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Personally I'd say "She said that she was asleep when I called."

If I had to use the verb, It would have to be:
"She said she was sleeping when I called her."

The other tenses say different things:

"She said she had been sleeping when I called her." this is ambiguous = When I called her, she told me that she had been asleep earlier." OR "She told me that, when I called her, she had been asleep earlier."
(The past perfect "Had been sleeping" is earlier than the past tense "I called" and "She said").

"She said she had been asleep when I had called her." - this seems to require another later action (as both verbs are in the past perfect, which is used for the earlier actions of several)
"She said she had been asleep when I had called her, but then she woke up."
leonAzul
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 3:10:52 AM

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boa wrote:
chromomancer wrote:
She said that she had been sleeping when I called her.
OK. Clear.

"When I had called her" would be a time after you called her.

Not clear.

I don't quite understand how it works the way you see it.

How would it be in direct speech?

I was sleeping when you had called me. (Doesn't sound right to me)
Maybe
I was sleeping after you had called me. (???)

Or how do you see it?

I think chromomancer accidentally made a mistake. Perfection is often used to indicate a time before the simple tense. Continuous aspect can also be used that way. This is different from the use of the present perfect in English to indicate something that has recently occurred.

Your intuition is good. A consequent or subsequent action cannot take place before a precedent, but they can both be expressed as taking place at the same time, and the relationship can then be interpreted from context.

A) "I was sleeping when you called me." - good
B) "I had been sleeping when you called me." - more precise
C) "I was sleeping when you had called me." - illogical
D) "I went back to sleep after you had called me." - good

As an American, I tend to speak and write according to pattern A). In most cases, a comparison of the two actions is enough to understand the relationship, and keeping them both in the same tense is easier.

There are several professional teachers in this forum who I note almost always express themselves with pattern B). It is more precise and accurate, so one would expect that a teacher would give such good example in their own speaking and writing.

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