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English as a Second Language/Reported speech (English for Starters 9 - activity Book)

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Question
Dear Jed,

First of all, I would like to wish you a most happy year year of joy happiness, success, health and peace of mind!

Please look at the following:

* Write the questions Nawal was asked at her job interview.
Q1- 'What was your favourite subject at school?'

My own suggested answer: They wanted to know what her favourite subject had been at school.

Is 'had been' correct or must it be 'was'? I know that in reported speech the simple past changes into the past perfect.

Q2: 'What was the last book you read?'
My own suggested answer: They asked her what the last book she had read was??? I am not sure whether this sentence is correct. Must it be "…had read had been"?

*Ali talked to Sami about his holiday. Write the conversation.
Q3
- Ali: Did you ride a camel?
- Sami: Yes, I did. It was a very bumpy ride, but it was great fun.
My own suggested answers:
Ali asked whether Sami had ridden a camel and Sami replied yes he had done???
Q4
Ali: What was your favourite place in Morocco?
Sami: I loved Marrakesh. I saw so many interesting places.
My own suggested answers:
Ali asked what Sami's favourite place in Morocco had been? Sami told him he had loved Marakesh. He said he had seen so many interesting places.

Please help me out with the above. I am confused how to teach my student the correct answers.

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Answer
Dear Antoine,

Q1. "My own suggested answer: They wanted to know what her favourite subject had been at school."

Your answer is correct. It would also be correct if you moved 'had been' to the end of the sentence. Some native speakers would use 'was' in place of 'had been'. We are not always so particular about backshifting as some grammar books suggest we are. However, backshifting to the past perfect makes the situation absolutely clear.

Q2. Once again, some native speakers might use 'was', but 'had been' is better.

Q3. "Ali asked whether Sami had ridden a camel and Sami replied yes he had done"

This would be better as: "Ali asked Sami whether he had ridden a camel, and Sami replied that he had."

Q4."Ali asked what Sami's favourite place in Morocco had been? Sami told him he had loved Marakesh. He said he had seen so many interesting places."

That's OK. I would prefer: "Ali asked Sami what his favourite place in Morocco had been? Sami told him he had loved Marakesh: he had seen so many interesting places."


Best wishes

Jed  

English as a Second Language

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Jed Webb

Expertise

I can assist with questions about English grammar (syntax, morphology, pronunciation and spelling)from learners taking such examinations as TOEFL, IELTS, FCE and CAE and other internationally recognised tests.

Experience

I have over forty years of experience in the teaching of modern languages, twenty-four of them in the Teaching of English as a Second Language. I have been an examiner for FCE, BEC and IELTS examinations, and a teacher trainer on courses leading to the Trinity College Certificate in TESOL.

Organizations
The Philological Society The International Phonetic Association The College of Teachers The International Association of Teachers of EFL The Royal Society of Arts (Fellow)

Publications
British Journal of Language Teaching, Vol XIX Nos I and II Education Today, Vol 41, Nos 1 and 3 Co-Author: Nix and Webb (1984) 'Creative English', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Contributor: Nix and Riederer (1973), 'Bottoms Up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Rosenau and Nix, (1979), 'Look it up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Nix and Ringholz, 'English in Projects', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen

Education/Credentials
BA (English), University of Durham. Qualified Teacher Status, UK Department of Education and Science Further and Adult Education Teacher's Certificate, City and Guilds of London Institute ACP(TESOL), College of Preceptors Dip TESOL, Trinity College, London Dip Ed (ELT), Exeter University ACP (Management Studies in Education), College of Teachers Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English, International Phonetic Association

Past/Present Clients
I have taught: General and Business English classes for: Alcan, Allianz Versicherung, Robert Bosch, Daimler-Benz, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Mövenpick, Radiomobil (O2), Siemens, Unilever. TOEFL and FCE classes for: eská Spoitelna,SOB, Czech Ministry of Trade, Czech Statistics Office.

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