I heard this riddle <is/was> solved in many ways

Nikined

Senior Member
Russian
Is it correct to say "I heard this riddle is [meaning can be] solved in many ways"? Or it should be "was solved"
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    "I heard this riddle can be solved in many ways / more than one way" is what I would say.

    If you intend to say "can be", there is no reason not to say it.
     

    Nikined

    Senior Member
    Russian
    And what about tense, shouldn't it be past as the first part of the sentence? I intended to say "is solved" as "they solve it"
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I heard there are many ways to solve this riddle :tick:
    I heard this riddle can be solved in many ways :tick:
    I’ve heard this riddle is solvable in many ways :tick:
    Someone told me this riddle was solvable in many ways :tick:
    I heard this riddle was solved in many ways :thumbsdown:
    I heard this riddle is solved in many ways :thumbsdown::thumbsdown:
     

    Nikined

    Senior Member
    Russian
    lingobingo
    Can you explain why "was solved" is unacceptable? Since it seems to be grammatical, simply the passive form
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Can you explain why "was solved" is unacceptable? Since it seems to be grammatical, simply the passive form
    The "thumbs down" doesn’t mean that something is wrong – simply that it’s not a good idea, not what a native English-speaker would say. But I would concede that my list should have included: I heard [that] this riddle was solvable in many ways :tick:
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Someone, people solve it
    Wait, you had asked about "was solved" in the past tense, but you answer here uses "solve" in the present tense. :confused:

    If you don't mean that specific people solved the riddle at a specific time or times in the past, then don't use "was solved."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "I heard this riddle is [meaning can be] solved in many ways"?
    I do not see anything wrong with this, other than the meaning is closer to, as you say:
    Someone, people solve it
    i.e. the active version of the verb: "I heard that people solve this riddle in many ways." The style is a little dramatic/literary but it is a valid option.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Alternatives are fine, but the passive, which, in literature, etc., can give an "air of mystery", is good too.
     

    Nikined

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What about the tense in the second part of the sentence? Shouldn't it be switched to past too?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    What about the tense in the second part of "I heard this riddle is solved in many ways"? Shouldn't it be switched to past too?
    Why do you think that? I said
    I do not see anything wrong with this,
    So why would you think that "is" should become "was"?

    Do you realise that

    "I heard this riddle is solved in many ways"
    "I heard this riddle was solved in many ways"
    "I heard this riddle has been solved in many ways"
    "I heard this riddle had been solved in many ways"​

    Would all be used in different contexts and carry slightly different meanings?
     

    Nikined

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So why would you think that "is" should become "was"?
    I think in reported speech it would be switched to the past tense (I said this riddle was solved in many ways), so why there is no change of the tense in this case?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I think in reported speech it would be switched to the past tense
    A lot of students are taught that "backshifting" the tense in reported speech, always happens... this is not true. In ""I heard this riddle is solved in many ways" is is used because people, in the present, still solve (present) it in many ways.
     

    Nikined

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In ""I heard this riddle is solved in many ways" is is used because people, in the present, still solve (present) it in many ways
    But the same thing could be with "I thought" and "I/he said", couldn't it? Is it because there is no "action" in the verb "hear"? Or because "solving in many ways" is kind of independent from "hearing", unlike "thinking" and "saying"?
     
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