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Hi,
I'm in trouble...

Oh, you didn't like my surprise? I thought it would be nice surprise for you, I'm sorry...
Oh, you didn't like my surprise? I thought it would have been be nice surprise for you, I'm sorry...

Waht should I say? What's the difference? I'd say that both can be used in the same situation, but only if something didn't happen (= in this case the surprise was NOT a good one). If something actually happened, only the first is possible:

So, you liked my surprise! I knew it would be nice surprise for you!
So, you liked my surprise!
I knew it would have been be nice surprise for you! <--- no

What do you think? Thanks:)
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Comments  
Hi Kooyeen,

Though I understand your point, I don't think anybody would use the second sentence (I thought/knew it would have been be nice surprise for you) to mean the same as the first in either pair. To me, "I thought it would have been be nice surprise for you" still tends to sound as if there was no surprise at all -- even in the context, so "would have been" wouldn't be good in the first pair either.
Yankee To me, "I thought it would have been be nice surprise for you" still tends to sound as if there was no surprise at all --

Agree
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There's also a mistake, it should be "a nice surprise", I forgot the "a".

I see, thanks Emotion: smile
And what's that been be about?

CJ
Think of it this way.

I think it will be a nice surprise for you.
I thought it would be a nice surprise for you.

I know it will be a nice surprise for you.
I knew it would be a nice surprise for you.

Not:

?I think it will have been a nice surprise for you.
?I thought it would have been a nice surprise for you.

?I know it will have been a nice surprise for you.
?I knew it would have been a nice surprise for you.

Think of the past tense versions in terms of what they are the past tense of, and I think you'll see why would and not would have is normally used in the situations you asked about.

CJ
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Yeah, "been" not "been be", I just pasted the sentence without checking what I was doing...

Thanks Jim, I see.
I think I have that problem because I'm still not sure how to backshift some verbs. Here's a cursed example, but it has "would", not "will":

Susan, this CD would be a good gift for Amy. But if you want to buy that skirt... let's buy it, honey. ------ Later... I don't know when, but later... ------ ...So Amy told you she loves Pink Floyd? Heh, I told you that live CD [would be/ would have been] a good present... Ok, never mind. <--- I would only choose "would have been".

Another verb I have trouble with is "should".
- I have a lot of stuff to do, I should be studying all day long for the exam, it's on Monday morning...
Monday afternoon...
- Hey Jessica, how was the exam? By the way, Tom told me he saw you at the party on Sunday... I thought you [should be/ should have been] studying all day! YOU told me you [should be/ should have been] studying all day... <--- I think it's "should be". It would be "should have been" if Jessica had said: "I should be studying all day, but I won't, because I also want to spend some time with my boyfriend".

And obviously, how can we forget about "could" and "might"? LOL, there's another thread going on about these...
- Stay away from the reactor, it [could / might] explode... Stay away, ok?
One day, later on...
- Mr. Mightabin, what do you remember about that day at the power plant?
- Well, uh, I don't know if any reactors exploded or anything happened, but a suspicious guy told me that a reactor [might explode/could explode - might have exploded/could have exploded]...
<--- I dunno, I think all of them can be used.

What do you think?
And... what a mess, why don't you English speaking guys have different verbs to say different things, like normal people? (Italians, for example) LOL
Thanks in advance Emotion: smile
Susan, this CD would be a good gift for Amy. But if you want to buy that skirt... let's buy it, honey. ------ Later... I don't know when, but later... ------ ...So Amy told you she loves Pink Floyd? Heh, I told you that live CD [would be/ would have been] a good present... Ok, never mind. <--- I would only choose "would have been". Yes, because you want the counterfactual here.

Another verb I have trouble with is "should". should does not backshift easily. This is because it is about setting obligations. Imperatives also set obligations, and there's no such thing as a past-tense imperative. (Time only goes in one directiion!) It's often better to change the verb than try to backshift should.
- I have a lot of stuff to do, I should be studying all day long for the exam, it's on Monday morning...
Monday afternoon...
- Hey Jessica, how was the exam? By the way, Tom told me he saw you at the party on Sunday... I thought you [should be/ should have been] studying all day1! YOU told me you [should be/ should have been] studying all day2... <--- I think it's "should be". It would be "should have been" if Jessica had said: "I should be studying all day, but I won't3, because I also want to spend some time with my boyfriend".
1Jessica can impose an obligation on herself with "I should be studying", but you cannot 'report' that self-imposed obligation with "I thought" because then you are not reporting; you are giving your own opinion, imposing your own obligation on her: "I thought you [should study / should have studied]" I would change verbs: "I thought (you said) you were going to [be studying / have to study]".
2Again, changing verbs, "You told me (you felt) you would have to study all day". (The grouping is not would have, but have to.)
3The "won't" is the set-up which sanctions the use of the counterfactual, so in this case you can say afterwards, "I think you should have studied all day" (if that's your opinion).

And obviously, how can we forget about "could" and "might"? LOL, there's another thread going on about these...
- Stay away from the reactor, it [could / might] explode... Stay away, ok?
One day, later on...
- Mr. Mightabin, what do you remember about that day at the power plant?
- Well, uh, I don't know if any reactors exploded or anything happened, but a suspicious guy told me that a reactor [might explode/could explode - might have exploded/could have exploded]...
<--- I dunno, I think all of them can be used. I would not use the versions with have.

CJ

Hi,
I really don't know how to thank you. I think I understand. This post is pretty long, but just because I wanted to write as many examples as possible to explain my "theory", and with some context.
I was making some weird mental mistakes, and letting context influence what the real part to report was. My theory is... The tenses in reported speech are not related to the tense used in direct speech. You choose the ones that make sense considering the situation as it is, as if you had to tell a story. Look, just like telling a story (the story is in blue, the tenses are underlined):

1 - I need some money. ----> I met Kelly. She needed some money. She said she needed some money. //Also: I met kelly. She needs some money. She said she needs some money.

2 - If I had the money, I would give it to you. ----> I met Bob. He didn't have the money. If he had had the money, he would have given it to me. He said if he had had the money he would have given it to me. //Also: He doesn't have the money. If he had the money, he would give it to me. He said if he had the money he would give it to me.

3 - I would buy the CD. But let's buy what you want instead, honey. ----> I wanted to buy the CD, but I didn't. That would have been a good present. I knew it would have been a good present. I told you it would have been a good present.

4 - I'm going to buy the CD. Kate will like it. ----> I was going to buy the CD. Kate would like it when I gave it to her. I knew Kate would like it. I told you Kate would like it.

5 - I should study for the exam, but I'm going to that party instead. ------> I met Jenny. She didn't feel like studying. She should have studied for the exam, but was going to the party instead. She said she should have studied for the exam.

6 - Kooyeen, the reactor might explode all of a sudden. ----> I met the technician. That day the reactor wasn't working well. The reactor might explode. It might have exploded eventually, I don't know (<--- Careful! This is one of my thoughts, and is not related to what the technician said!) The tecnician said the reactor might explode all of a sudden.

7 - Kooyeen, the reactor might explode all of a sudden. ----> I met the technician. That day the reactor wasn't working well. The reactor might explode. Actually, it might have exploded, but luckily nothing serious happened. (<--- Careful! I know it didn't explode in the end, but this is not related to what the technician said! I found out this later!) The tecnician said the reactor might explode all of a sudden.

Does that make sense?
Now, provided it makes sense, I still have some doubts.

A) Are there any verbs that are usually not backshifted, and the whole sentence is rearranged instead? I think you mentioned "should". For example, if someone says "I should see a doctor", the reported version would be "He said he had to see a doctor" or "He said he'd better see a doctor" or "He was thinking of going to the doctor"???

B) Some structures are weird, because I can't rephrase them like I'm telling a story, as above. One of those structures is "would like", as in "I'd like an ice cream", or "She'd like another coke". What's the backshifted version of those? Maybe I need to change them, and say "She told me she wanted another coke"...

C) In the above examples, #6 and #7 have "might", and "might" is backshift to itself, "might". I was wondering if the same happened with "could". If you replace "might" with "could" in #6 and #7, would that be ok too? I know "could" can be the backshifted version of "can", but I'm actually worried about "could" when possibility is involved. Like in this one, to make it clearer:
- If it's nice, I could go for a walk tomorrow morning. ---> I met Kate. She (could?) go for a walk the following day. She could have gone for a walk... (<-- Careful! This is a thought of mine, not related to what she actually said!) She said she (could?) go for a walk the following day.

I think that's all. I feel this stuff is not difficult after all, it's just that there doesn't seem to be an easy way to explain this complex situation.
Thank you in advance Emotion: smile
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