I'm writing to ask something about reported speech. In my opinion, it's perfectly correct to say Frank asked Sarah if she could lend him her bicycle but according to my book, the only possibilities are Frank asked Sarah if she would (not could) lend him her bicycle or Frank asked Sarah to lend him her bicycle (actually my task is to complete the sentence Frank asked Sarah ............................. her bicycle and I have to use lend). So what do you think?
motor_angelmy task is to complete the sentence Frank asked Sarah .. her bicycle and I have to use lend). So what do you think?
I think the following all satisfy the conditions set up by the problem.

Frank asked Sarah [to lend him] her bicycle.

Frank asked Sarah [if she was willing to lend him] her bicycle.

Frank asked Sarah [if she would be willing to lend him] her bicycle.

Frank asked Sarah [if she would have been willing to lend him] her bicycle.

Frank asked Sarah [if she [would / could / might] lend him] her bicycle.

If you can use other forms of lend, i.e., lending or lent, then the possibilities increase.

The problem for me, in answering your question, is that you said it was about reported speech, and you never gave the original sentence that was to be reported. Emotion: smile

CJ
CalifJim The problem for me, in answering your question, is that you said it was about reported speech, and you never gave the original sentence that was to be reported.
OK. The original sentence is 'Can I borrow your bicycle, Sarah?' asked Frank , and I have to complete the sentence Frank asked Sarah her bicycle using the word lend without changing it. The question is if it is correct to write if she could lend him .
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motor_angelThe question is if it is correct to write if she could lend him .
It's tricky because of the change from borrow to lend, which requires changing the subject of the clause. I myself would accept if she could lend him, but I can see now that if she would lend him is the better answer if you want to be really strict about it.

Frank asked Sarah if he could borrow her bicycle. Strictly speaking, Frank is asking about his own ability,

just as in the original, "Can I borrow ...?

Frank asked Sarah if she could lend him her bicycle. Strictly speaking, Frank is now asking about Sarah's ability,

as if the original had started, "Can you lend ...?

(which it didn't)

So "Can/Could I borrow?" is "Will/Would you lend?", not "Can/Could you lend?", according to the strict rules that the test makers seem to want to follow. I think they're being very picky about this.

Similarly,

Can I have some meatloaf? Change have to pass.

I asked if you would pass me some meatloaf.

There's nothing in the original that asks about your ability to pass anything.

So, very strictly, if you could pass should not be used.

I suspect there are very few verb pairs that can be used to illustrate such subtle effects.

CJ