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

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Nikined, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. 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"
     
  2. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    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.
     
  3. 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"
     
  4. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    A riddle has an answer. A puzzle has a solution.
     
  5. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    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:
     
  6. Nikined Senior Member

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

    Chicago
    English (American)
    Who are you saying solved it, exactly?
     
  8. Nikined Senior Member

    Russian
    Someone, people solve it
     
  9. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    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:
     
  10. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    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."
     
  11. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    I do not see anything wrong with this, other than the meaning is closer to, as you say:
    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.
     
  12. Jimbob_Disco

    Jimbob_Disco Senior Member

    England
    British English (England)
    I heard that there are multiple ways (in which) to solve the riddle.
     
  13. PaulQ

    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.
     
  14. Nikined Senior Member

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

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Which sentence?
     
  16. Nikined Senior Member

    Russian
    "I heard this riddle is solved in many ways"
     
  17. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Why do you think that? I said
    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?
     
  18. Nikined Senior Member

    Russian
    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?
     
  19. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    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.
     
  20. Nikined Senior Member

    Russian
    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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