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Author Topic: Re: The Present Perfect Tense (again!)  (Read 1672 times)
Michael E. Galario
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« on: May 03, 2015, 05:25:48 PM »

Hi sir.

I can't help it but bring up the concern on tense consistency usage and the structure of the statement.

Just want to clarify if my understanding about the tense in the quoted article below is correct.

Mike Roger told CNN that publication was " a terrible Idea" and said "Foreign leaders have approached the givernment And said, "You do this, this will cause violence and death."

Questions:

1. What's the purpose of the quotation in the phrase a terrible idea?

2. The introductory statement, Mike Roger told CNN that, was written in indirect speech. Why didn't the writer write the statement after the conjunction "and" in the same form.  Did he violate the guidelines on parallelism or does poetic license justify what he did?

3. If the second statement would be written in indirect speech since introductory word is in the past as signalled by the word "said"," should we  need to shift tense fom "have approached to "had approached?"

4. Same concern with  the third statement . "And said , "If you do this...." Was the choice of usage better than the indirect speech?

Thanks sir.

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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 07:24:55 AM »

My thoughts on your questions about this passage that you presented:

Quote
Mike Roger told CNN that publication was "a terrible idea" and said "Foreign leaders have approached the government and said, 'You do this, this will cause violence and death.'"

1. Setting off the phrase "a terrible idea" with a quote and unquote is done when the writer wants to emphasize that it's somebody else's and not his own utterance. Without that quote and unquote, there's a risk that the phrase might be construed as the writer's own making, for which he might be viewed as unfair or opinionated.

2. Yes, in the interest of parallelism and for a better-flowing statement, the writer should have uniformly constructed that sentence as indirect speech, as follows:

Quote
Mike Roger told CNN that publication was "a terrible idea" and that foreign leaders have approached the government and said, "You do this, this will cause violence and death."

I think the original sentence just happened to be badly constructed owing to the usual exigencies of TV journalism.

3. No, even if the whole statement is rendered in indirect speech speech as was done in Item 2 above, there's really no need to back-shift the tense of the second declaration from  the present perfect "have approached" to the past perfect "had approached." Setting off the second declaration in quote and unquote, "Foreign leaders have approached the givernment and said, 'You do this, this will cause violence and death'", was evidently done by the writer to avoid the complication of back-shiftng tenses, and that indeed was the right thing to do in this particular instance.

4. No, the writer's clumsy use of the form "And said , 'If you do this...'" was grammatically and stylistically clumsy and definitely no better than just constructing the whole thing as indirect speech, as was shown in Item 2 above. Even better, that statement could have been better organized and rendered in two sentences, as follows:

Quote
Mike Roger told CNN that publication was "a terrible idea." He said: "Foreign leaders have approached the government and said, "You do this, this will cause violence and death.'"
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 10:38:25 AM by Joe Carillo » Logged

Michael E. Galario
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2015, 04:01:03 PM »

Thank you sir for confirming and clarifying the concern about the usage and structure of the quoted statements. I guess the suggestion you provided on this thread is better than the original statement. Form and usage is understandable, comprehensible and justifiable.
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