A doubt on indirect speech

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doda

Member
italian
Which sentence may be correct of the two?? What is wrong?
a- The old woman begins to cry and tells the man that coat is her
daughter's who died five years ago.
b- The old woman begins to cry and tells the man that coat was her
daughter's who had died five years before.

As far as I know when using indirect speech you don't need to change the tense of the verb if the present tense (tells) is used. Where am I wrong?
Thanks for any advice!
 
  • Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I don't think this is a question of indirect speech. It's more a matter of logic. I think the first one sounds odd, because the daughter is dead. She can't own the coat now, if she died five years ago.
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi.
    I think there are two problems.
    First, please provide me the direct speech scenario.
    Second, why this sentence is written in present tense? Is it a narration of a movie or something?

    The old woman begins to cry and tells the man, "The coat is my daughter's who died five years ago." ・・・・a'
    The old woman begins to cry and tells the man, "The coat was my daughter's who died five years ago.".....b'

    Your a- is the indirect speech mode of a'.
    And
    I think b- is not correct.
    I think the indirect speech mode for b' would be;
    The old woman begins to cry and tells the man that coat was her
    daughter's who died five years ago.

    edit) Hi. I would like to ask to Cypherpunk, that it might be logical or not.

    I think it is logically OK in some context. For example,

    This room is still my daughter's who died five years ago in the airplane clash. (No one survived.)
    I don't want to believe she's dead, and stay her room unchanged, and wish her to come back someday.
     
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    doda

    Member
    italian
    Probably because English isn't my mother tongue and I can't feel the stylistic differences!
    I thought sentence B was the correct one because I was taught about the change of tense in reporting a speech and I was trying ( in my confused mind ) to imagine the possible transformations of the following sentences into indirect speech ( I hope you can understand what I mean!!!)
    A -She said: "This coat is my daughter's who died five years ago.
    transformed in WAS HAD DIED 5 years BEFORE
    B- She says: "This coat is my daughter's who died five years ago.
    without tense changes because the sentence starts with: She says: ...
    Sorry for the confusion but I'm really CONFUSED!! AH! AH!
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    B- She says: "This coat is my daughter's who died five years ago.
    without tense changes because the sentence starts with: She says: ...
    Sorry for the confusion but I'm really CONFUSED!! AH! AH!
    Hi.
    As a non-native English speaker who was learned this kind of exams at school, I would like to say;

    1. Tense changes are not necessary. Because it is present tense as you said.
    2. "This" had better to change to "that" maybe.
    3. "ago/before" change is not necessary, either. (But if it is narration of a movie or something, "before" might be better.)

    She says that that coat is my daughter's who died five years ago(or before).
     

    doda

    Member
    italian
    First of all it is the narration of a short story I had to read and summarize. I have chosen to use the persent simple ( Historical present??)as the tense of my narration.
    The plot is about a man who meets a strange girl along a solitary road, at nighr and he kindly offers her a lift home but the following day he finds out the lady's coat in his car so he decides to take it back but when he meets the mother's girl she tells him.... and here I have the Hamletic doubts.....
    By the way if I choose the simple present in summarizing instead of the simple past... what tense can I use as the equivalent of the Past Perfect?? She said she had already eaten
    She says she.......??? Present perfect????
    Thanks!
     

    doda

    Member
    italian
    to Wishfull:
    Is it really necessary the repetition of THAT?
    She says that that coat is my daughter's who died five years ago(or before).
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    First of all it is the narration of a short story I had to read and summarize. I have chosen to use the persent simple ( Historical present??)as the tense of my narration.
    The plot is about a man who meets a strange girl along a solitary road, at nighr and he kindly offers her a lift home but the following day he finds out the lady's coat in his car so he decides to take it back but when he meets the mother's girl she tells him.... and here I have the Hamletic doubts.....
    By the way if I choose the simple present in summarizing instead of the simple past... what tense can I use as the equivalent of the Past Perfect?? She said she had already eaten
    She says she.......??? Present perfect???? Yes, I think so.
    Thanks!
    Hi.
    As a non-native English speaker, if I were you, I'd prefer to choose PAST tense. I think golden standard for writing a book report is writing-in-PAST -tense.
    I think present-simple may be OK, but it is more difficult. (So you're asking in this forum, of course.)
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    to Wishfull:
    Is it really necessary the repetition of THAT?
    She says that that coat is my daughter's who died five years ago(or before).
    Hi.
    Native-English speakers will answer you the correct answer.

    But in Japan, I was taught that the double "that" version is more precise.
    The first "that" indicate that the sentence is a complex-sentence.
    The second "that" is necessary, because the examiner wants us to change "this" to "that", in this kind of question.

    As actual language, as practical English, I don't know the double "that" is redundant or not.;)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If someone in a story says "I have already eaten", and you are narrating it in the present, you say:
    She says [that] she has already eaten.
    The change to "has" is because of the switch from I to she. It is not a switch in tense. For instance, the direct quotation "We have already eaten" would become:
    They say [that] they have already eaten.
    That is optional in both sentences. Use it if you think it makes the sentence clearer.

    Added: Similarly, the "double that" is optional. I would omit the first, unless I thought there would be confusion without it. I don't think they are both needed here. This is a stylistic choice; I think the repetition may be distracting, and sometimes it is more difficult to follow.
     
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    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    edit) Hi. I would like to ask to Cypherpunk, that it might be logical or not.

    I think it is logically OK in some context. For example,

    This room is still my daughter's who died five years ago in the airplane clash. (No one survived.)
    I don't want to believe she's dead, and
    stay keep her room unchanged, and wish her tohope she will come back someday.
    Wishfull, as the example you provide illustrates, when we hear someone say something like this, we know something is wrong. If this were the mother speaking, we would know that she is unable to move on. There may be deeper, and more significant, problems, as well. Again, it's not logical, and that's how we know something is wrong.

    doda,
    the repetition of that is not necessary, but it is how many native speakers would say this. The first that is for the phrase 'XXX says that...'. This one can be left out of the sentence. The second that is a demonstrative, and it indicates which thing is being discussed. It is not optional, but it can be replaced with a definite article, in some cases.
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you, Cypherpunk, for your comment about logicality. I got it.
    And
    Thanks again for correcting my example sentences written in non-native's English.:)

    Have a nice weekend.
     
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