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Hi teachers,

I have this part of a conversation.

Susan: Are you sure or not? Look! There’s policeman! Ask him the way.

Tom: All right Susan. Excuse me. Can you tell me the way to Victoria Station?

Policeman: Yes of course. Walk down this road, take the first turning on the left. Then walk until you come

to the river and …

If I want to ask about what the policeman said to Tom, should I say?

a) What is the first thing Tom asks the policeman?

b) What was the first thing Tom asked the policeman?



Present or past Question and Why?

Thanks in advance
Comments  
Thinking SpainSusan: Are you sure or not? Look! There’s a policeman! Ask him the way.
Past tense is appropriate here since the conversation took place in the past.
Thinking SpainWalk down this road, take the first turn on the left.
That's what I thought, but I've seen questions from conversations in texts in both tenses, even though the conversation, as you've said took place in the past. They always do! That's why the tense always confuses me.

Thanks for the 'a' too.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
My teacher said, "The Earth is round."

The above sentence in reported speech is: My teacher said that the Earth is round.

"is" is used because it is a fact that the world is round.

I hope the above helps.
Yes, it does help your explanation to know when to use simpre present in reported speech, when it is a fact you use Simple Present. But my question is which tense to use according to the given conversation. Because I have found both: simple present and simple past.

Thanks in advance Yoong Liaat
Thinking SpainHi teachers,

I have this part of a conversation.
Susan: Are you sure or not? Look! There’s policeman! Ask him the way.
Tom: All right Susan. Excuse me. Can you tell me the way to Victoria Station?
Policeman: Yes of course. Walk down this road, take the first turning on the left. Then walk until you come
to the river and …

If I want to ask about what the policeman said to Tom, should I say?
a) What is the first thing Tom asks the policeman?
b) What was the first thing Tom asked the policeman?

Based on the conversation, you can use either present or past tense, depending on whether you perceive the conversation as something which was said or has just been said.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thank you very much. That's the answer I was looking for! Emotion: clap