How to tell the difference: Perfect / Imperfect verbs

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by flapcats, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Swordslayer

    Swordslayer Well-Known Member

  2. szkott

    szkott Member

    That is an excellent link, Swordslayer. That has really helped me, thanks.
  3. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    So does the Czech sentence translate to "she said she was there" or "she said she is there". If I'm understanding your explanation correctly (which I very well might not be), you are saying that in English we do not use the sentence "she said she is there"
    However, we would use that sentence. For example, My husband and I are meeting my mom for dinner at a restaurant. I call her to say "Where are you" and she replies, "I'm here". I hang up and tell my husband, "she said she is there". If I would tell him "she said she was there" it would indicate that she left the restaurant.
  4. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    According to my textbook:

    1) Řekla, že tam je (= is). = She said she was there.

    2) Řekla, že tam byla (= was). = She said she had been there.

    3) Řekla, že tam bude (= will be). = She said she would be there.

    No other possibilities.

    So your sentence "She said she is there." seems to be non-standard. :?

    The combination "she said" and "she is" is not allowed (but there is an exception for common truth, e.g. She said she is always right.).

    Maybe you could say to your husband:

    She says she is there.
    She has said she is there.
    She has just been saying/telling me that she is there.

    But I am no expert. I draw from my textbook (1975).
  5. rsalc1

    rsalc1 Well-Known Member

    bibax: you are right. That is the way tenses work in English.
    German has a similar construction for reported speech.
  6. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    So I can say

    Nebudu jít do obchodu ledaže slunce bude svítí

    I would argue that

    unless ≠ ledaže

    But I don't know, maybe that sentence I wrote was right?
  7. Swordslayer

    Swordslayer Well-Known Member

    Nepůjdu do obchodu, ledaže vysvitne slunce. — I won't go to the shop, unless the sun will break through clouds.
    Nepůjdu do obchodu – ledaže by svítilo slunce. — I won't go to the shop – unless the sun would shine.
    Nepůjdu do obchodu, leda až bude svítit slunce. — I won't go to the shop – not until the sun will shine.

    — I've been to that shop before; the food is good, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless there was no other choice/unless this was the only option.
    — V tom obchodě už jsem byl, jídlo je dobré, ale nedoporučil bych ho nikomu, ledaže by nebyla jiná volba/ledaže by to byla jediná možnost.

    — I don't know why anyone would ever want to learn Czech, unless the only other option would be to spend the rest of eternity watching telenovelas.
    — Nevím, proč by se kdo vůbec chtěl naučit česky, ledaže by jedinou další možností bylo strávit věčnost sledováním telenovel.

    — I don't believe he had the right to kill that poor duckling unless he really believed it was the only option to prevent himself from being infected.
    — Nevěřím, že měl právo zabít to ubohé kačátko, ledaže doopravdy věřil, že to je jediná možnost, jak se ochránit před nakažením.

    On the other hand, it doesn't work that well in all cases – for example, when the sentence starts with unless, it is generally better to avoid using ledaže.
  8. Swordslayer

    Swordslayer Well-Known Member

  9. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    Wonderful examples thank you, I will take them down in my notebook.

    For me it's all about going to shops and the sun shining (for first conditional) and winning lotteries (for second conditional) and the phone ringing when you're in the bath (past continuous vs. past simple) . I've become very dull.
  10. rsalc1

    rsalc1 Well-Known Member

    You asked a complicated question :)

    I understand what you are trying to say, but it sounds "weird" in English, due to the rules that wer and bibax explained.

    I think that perhaps you could tell your husband "she said that she is still there" (meaning, she is at the restaurant and hasn't left yet).
    I am not sure if this is gramatically correct or not, however...
  11. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    It is correct alright, but it is confusing to learn every exception to every rule, especially when you don't need it and when the alternative is understood equally well.

    Reported speech is complicated enough without adding to it.

    I would say just stick with the rules, they won't let you down! They were worked out for a reason, to make English easier for people learning it.

    Always go back a step in time.
    She said she was there. = she is there now.
    She said she had been there = she was there before but has now left.
  12. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I happen to be teaching this right now and I found some nice notes on it in Headway intermediate:

    There is no tense change if:

    - The reporting verb is in the present tense (says / asks)

    "The train will be late" . He says the train will be late.
    "I come from Spain. " He says he comes from Spain.

    - The reported speech is about something that is still true.
    "Rain forests are being destroyed."
    She told him that rain forests are being destroyed.
    "I hate football"
    I told him I hate football.
    "All you need is love"
    The song says that all you need is love.

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