"insisted/suggested/complained" + MOOD

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tuany, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. tuany Senior Member

    Perú-Spanish
    reported speech

    Hi everyone

    I´d like to know why the verbs don´t change in these sentences:

    DIRECT: I said I want to see the manager and I want to see him now.
    1. REPORTED: The guest insisted that she see the manager immediately.
    WHY NOT: The guest insisted that she saw the manager immediately.

    DIRECT: Perhaps you might like to make an appointment to see the manager.
    2. REPORTED: The receptionist suggested that she make an appointment to see the manager.
    WHY NOT: The receptionist suggested that she made an appointment to see the manager.

    DIRECT: This food is undercooked.
    3. REPORTED: She complained that the food was undercooked.
    WHY NOT: She complained that the food is undercooked.

    Why are the verbs used in infinitive form in number 1 and 2?

    Thanks in advance

    Tuany.​
     
  2. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hi Tuany

    You don't change the forms of the verbs in construcions such as "insist that" and "suggest that". The others ones that come to mind are "demand that" and "require that".

    They are all using the infinitive form of the verb - that's simply the way it is :)

    I suggest that you take a look at some good article describing the subjunctive mood in English, therein lies the answer :)
    Dreamlike suggested that I take a look at some...


    In reported speech, you have to change the form of verbs like "insist" or "suggest", as in your examples, but you have to retain the infinitive form of whatever verb that comes after "that".
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi tuany

    There's an AmE/BrE difference here.

    AmE (as I understand it) prefers the present subjunctive (NB not the infinitive:)) after "insisted" and "suggested"; BrE happily uses the past tense.

    Your third example is different: what you have there is the normal backshifting of tenses in past-tense reported speech.
     
  4. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
     
  5. tuany Senior Member

    Perú-Spanish
    Thanks alot Dreamlike, I'll take your advice.


    Bye
     
  6. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Actually, I might have led you astray as far as terminology goes, but other than that I think that my explanation wasn't that bad.

    Of course Loob and Biffo both have used the right term, and Loob have rightly pointed out that BrE uses the past tense, which I failed to mention :)

    BrE: He insisted that I told him the truth.
    AME: He insisted that I tell him the truth.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  7. tuany Senior Member

    Perú-Spanish
    To be honest, I'm quite confused now. Loob, these examples were taken from a British grammar English book. So, is there a list of verbs which fit in these examples?

    • Thanks to all of you.

      Tuany.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    That's interesting, Tuany!

    I would expect a British grammar book to recommend:
    I insisted/suggested that he went
    or
    I insisted/suggested that he should go.

    Whereas I would expect an American grammar book to recommend:
    I insisted/suggested that he go.

    What we're talking about here is "exhortations": in other words, constructions following words like 'suggest', 'insist', 'recommend'....
     
  9. tuany Senior Member

    Perú-Spanish
    Hi again

    I have just found this information, it makes sense. What do you think?

    3. Suggestions are usually reported with a that-clause. 'That' and 'should' are optional in these clauses:

    She said: "Why don't you get a mechanic to look at the car?" She suggested that I should get a mechanic to look at the car.OR She suggested I get a mechanic to look at the car.
    Other reporting verbs used in this way are: insist, recommend, demand, request, propose.

    Examples:

    a. "It would be a good idea to see the dentist", said my mother. My mother
    suggested I see the dentist.
    b. The dentist said, "I think you should use a different toothbrush". The dentist
    recommended that I should use a different toothbrush.
    c. My manager said, "I think we should examine the budget carefully at this meeting." My manager
    proposed that we examine the budget carefully at the meeting.
    d. "Why don't you sleep overnight at my house?" she said. She suggested
    that I sleep overnight at her house.
    Notes:
    Suggest can also be followed by a gerund: I suggested postponing the visit to the dentist.
    http://www.hulya.cankaya.edu.tr/ingilizce4.htm
     
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi again Tuany

    I see that the site you've quoted from is based in Turkey. It seems to me to give a very helpful explanation of the way things work in American English. And given that you live in Peru, I suspect American English will be more useful to you than British English:).
     
  11. tuany Senior Member

    Perú-Spanish
  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    (Actually, I think you've got that the wrong way round, Tuany. For exhortations, "suggested" + present subjunctive, AmE; "suggested" + past indicative, BrE.)
     
  13. tuany Senior Member

    Perú-Spanish
    Hi
    I´m doing the CAE Cambridge exam soon, that is why I´m interested in finding out the use of suggest. Do you know what form is used in this exam?

    Thanks

    Bye
     
  14. neal41 Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA, English
    DIRECT: I said I want to see the manager and I want to see him now.
    REPORTED: The guest insisted that she see the manager immediately.

    This sentence is not indirect speech. Here 'insist' is a verb of causation and is followed by the subjunctive as in Spanish. In English the subjunctive can be distinguished from the indicative only in the third person singular. "The guest demanded that she be allowed to talk to the manager."

    WHY NOT: The guest insisted that she saw the manager immediately.

    Here 'insist' has a different meaning and is more or less a synonym of 'say', that is, this sentence is indirect speech. It simply reports something. It does not cause anything. The meaning of 'see' in this sentence is different from the meaning of 'see' in the previous sentence. "The guest said that she saw ghosts in her room, but no one believed her. Nevertheless, she insisted that she saw ghosts."

    DIRECT: Perhaps you might like to make an appointment to see the manager.
    REPORTED: The receptionist suggested that she make an appointment to see the manager.

    'Suggest' has a causative meaning and 'make' is subjunctive.

    WHY NOT: The receptionist suggested that she made an appointment to see the manager.

    This is indirect speech. The meaning is roughly the same as "The receptionist said that she made an appointment to see the manager."

    DIRECT: This food is undercooked.
    REPORTED: She complained that the food was undercooked.
    WHY NOT: She complained that the food is undercooked.

    Both are indirect speech. Use the first if the event (the fact of the food being undercooked) is in the past and does not extend into the present. Use the second when the event is present or habitual.
     
  15. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I was wondering, is it always the case that British English "happily uses the past tense" in such sentences, as Loob put it, or there would be nothing exceptional about using subjunctive mood too, and it would pass unnoticed in BE writing?

    (1) I insisted that she reconsider her decision. (AmE)
    (2) I insisted that she reconsidered her decision. (BrE)

    Would (1) be equally acceptable in BrE, or it's better to use (2) in formal pieces of writing?
     
  16. neal41 Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA, English
    In American English both of the above sentences are grammatically correct, but they have different meanings. The first sentence is an exhortation. She probably reconsidered BECAUSE of my insistence. The main verb 'insist' is causative and is thus followed by the subjunctive, as in tuany's native language, Spanish.

    In the second sentence 'I insisted' means 'I reported' or 'I said'. It is not exhortative or causative. I reports what happened in the past, namely, the fact that she reconsidered her decision. "Bob said that Sally was recalcitrant and refused to reconsider, but I insisted that she, in fact, reconsidered her decision."

    I strongly suspect that both sentences are grammatical in British English and that the difference in meaning is the same as in American English. If that is not so, I would like to hear one of speakers of BrE say it specifically.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  17. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi neal

    No, there is a difference here between BrE and AmE. In BrE, I insisted that she reconsidered her decision means, in most situations, I insisted that she should reconsider her decision: in other words, it's an exhortation, just as I insisted that she reconsider her decision is in AmE. (There are previous threads which touch on on this....)
    Well, we're slowly re-learning the subjunctive from our American cousins, dreamlike, so you do hear/see version (1) in BrE sometimes. (I heard a similar construction on local radio yesterday.)

    Would it pass unnoticed? Not by me (I certainly noticed it yesterday:)).

    I suspect the most "variety-neutral" version would be I insisted that she should reconsider her decision. I think that would pass unnoticed in both BrE and AmE (though I might be wrong about AmE...). It's also what I'd probably use in more formal writing.
     
  18. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    That's interesting, so there are some finer points to it... I'm unable to grasp.

    Given that both (1) and (2) uses the exhortative word "insist", I can't see how one means "It was my insistence that made her reconsider" and the other does not. To me they effectively mean the same thing. :eek:

    I'm glad to see that BrE sees no difference, too, as suggested by Loob.

    Thanks for your input. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  19. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi again dreamlike

    I think the point is that "insist" can have two meanings: "demand insistently" and "repeatedly state". What neal's saying is that, in AmE, I insisted that she went means I repeatedly stated that she went. It can mean that in BrE, too, but the more usual meaning would be I demanded that she should go.
     
  20. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hi Loob. That clears up things, thank you :) I suppose it is the context that would tell me that it it means "I repeteadly stated that she went" not "I demanded that she should go" in BrE, or how else I would know it?
     
  21. neal41 Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA, English
    This is the clear statement that I wanted to see. I learn something every day.
     
  22. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Yes:thumbsup:

    The last time anyone saw Miranda was at John's party. John kept saying that Miranda left the party at 10. I insisted that she went at 11: I was certain of that because I went to the door with her.

    There was a big party at my place last night. I insisted everybody went home at 11, because my parents were coming back at 12 and I needed time to clear up.

    So do I - especially here!:D
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  23. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thanks for offering sample sentences, Loob, it helped a lot :)
     

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