I told him I <had> noticed that a bulb <had burned out>

< Previous | Next >

JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Sample sentences:

1. I'm director of AAA. Yesterday, while passing through the corridor that leads to my office, I noticed that it was darker than usual there. When I saw one of my subordinates, I told him I had noticed that a bulb had burned out in the corridor, and I asked him to get someone to replace it.

2. I'm director of AAA. Yesterday, while passing through the corridor that leads to my office, I noticed that it was darker than usual there. When I saw one of my subordinates, I told him I noticed that a bulb had burned out in the corridor, and I asked him to get someone to replace it.

Question:

Do the tenses in bold work in the sample sentences?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
Last edited:
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Yes.
    The situation is a little complicated because you have three events (not just two) that are all in the past and are all sequenced.
    First the bulb burned out, then you noticed it, then you told your subordinate, and now you're telling us about it all.
    That you are using indirect speech adds another level of complexity, and your actual words to your subordinate may affect how you tell the story.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, Edinburgher.

    Is there any difference between "...I told him I had noticed..." and "...I told him I noticed...", or do they communicate exactly the same thing in this case?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Well, if the indirect speech is to reflect what you actually said, it would depend on whether you said "I noticed" or "I have noticed".
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, Edinburgher.

    I said to my subordinate:

    I noticed that the bulb has burned out in the corridor. Could you please get someone to replace it? Thanks.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    OK. I think, irrespective of whether you said "I noticed" or "I have noticed", I'd probably say "I told him I had noticed that the bulb had burned out".

    But if you had said "I notice that ...", then I'd say "I told him I noticed...".

    In other words, I'd back-shift both simple past and present perfect to past perfect, but present to simple past.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top