I was wondering [reported speech]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JJXR, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. JJXR Senior Member

    Russian
    Hello to all,

    Thanks for reviewing my post.


    Are the tenses used in this sentence correct?

    I was wondering if you'd had time to review what I've done.


    Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

    Regards,
    JJXR
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "You'd" is not wrong but I would use "you've."
     
  3. JJXR Senior Member

    Russian
    Could anyone else please leave a comment?
     
  4. Vronsky

    Vronsky Senior Member

    Russian - Russia
    Yes.
    Your sentence is not reported speech.
     
  5. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Why do you need someone else to comment, and what do you need them to comment about?
     
  6. JJXR Senior Member

    Russian
    I want more opinions.
     
  7. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    Well, it sort of is, in a way. It's reported thought. Consider what might be "direct thought":
    I was wondering, "Have you had time to review what I've done?":)

    Perhaps he's hoping that someone will disagree with you.:cool:

    I think the tenses are fine (and I agree that "you've" is probably better). In particular, "I was wondering" is something that would be said even if the wondering is happening at the present moment. We would be less likely to say "I'm wondering".
    In the absence of unusual context, "what I've done" is good, there being no reason to change it to "what I'd done".
     
  8. velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with the others. There doesn't seem to be any reason to use the past perfect.

    Here, "I was wondering whether..." means exactly the same as "I wonder whether...", but it is a little more tentative, or a little less direct, and so may be regarded as more polite.

    I wonder whether you've had time to review what I've done.
    I was wondering whether you've had time to review what I've done.

    (crossposted)

     
  9. Vronsky

    Vronsky Senior Member

    Russian - Russia
    For that reason I don't consider the sentence to be reported speech. "I was wondering" is simply a polite way to introduce a question or a request.

    If it were 'reported thought', I'd say "I was wondering if he'd had time to review what I'd done."
     
  10. JJXR Senior Member

    Russian
    I'm becoming more convinced that English is a language of patterns, not rules.

    Thank you everyone for the explanation. Your comments clarify things a lot for me. I greatly appreciate your help!
     
  11. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    The 'if' clause is undoubtedly an indirect question and both the subordinate verbs ought therefore to be in the past perfect tense.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  12. velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    Scenario A

    I have given a piece of work to my boss, and I've been waiting for him get round to taking a look at it.

    I go to him with some trepidation and say rather deferentially, "I was wondering whether you've had time to review what I've done". I don't backshift the rest of the sentence because I don't yet know whether my boss has had time to read and review my work. It's equivalent to my asking "Have you had time...?", but I use "I was wondering", with the continuous form and the past tense both serving as distancing or hedging devices.

    Scenario B

    I gave a piece of work to my boss some days ago. He phones me to tell me how pleased he is with it. I admit to him that I had been rather anxious to hear his opinion: "I was/had been wondering whether you'd had time to review what I'd done, but I didn't want to bother you".
     

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