Hi Everyone,

I have several sentences that I would like you to check -- and please, feel free to correct them:

1. He said that they (are/were) no longer part of the company

2. Matt mentioned that he (is/was) the decision maker for the organization.

3. She pointed out that Tony no longer (works/worked) in their department.

In sentences where there are multiple verbs, what are the rules when it comes to its tenses? If you could refer me to a website explaining this matter, or anything regarding advance english tenses, I would appreciate it.

Thanks!
Anonymous1. He said that they (are/were) no longer part of the company
2. Matt mentioned that he (is/was) the decision maker for the organization.
3. She pointed out that Tony no longer (works/worked) in their department.
These three are examples of "indirect speech."
The main verbs are all in simple past tense.

I'm told it's never incorrect to backshift the information given in the statement.

I would use "were," "was," and "worked."

If there's reason to assume that this "information' is still true, it would not be incorrect to use the present to describe it.

That is, you may use "are," "is," and "works," as long as we know that they are still not part of the company, that Matt is still the decision maker, and that Tony still does not work in their department.

http://valenciaenglish.netfirms.com/reported.htm

http://www.athabascau.ca/courses/engl/155/support/direct_and_indirect_speech.htm

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2492041/Reported-Speech

You can Google "indirect speech" and "reported speech" for an endless list of sources.
Thank you very much for that explanation @avangi! Emotion: big smile I was trying to explain this to my sister but I could not think of what kind of speech is this -- which is the "INDIRECT SPEECH". Btw, a follow-up question that I have is -- so, if you are going to use the present form for the secondary verbs "are" "is" "works", do you need to change the main verb from past to present tense as well? like Matt says (that) he is ......? or is it acceptable to say "Matt said that he is the decision maker for the organization" if so, what does this express?

Cheers!
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Thanks for joining EF, retsam. Welcome aboard.

No, you don't have to place the main verb in the present tense in order to keep the "facts" of the information reported in the present tense.

You'll find a lot of discussions here about various kinds of truthes. It's not exactly my favorite subject.

Jack says that the moon is made of green cheese. This is a good sentence.

In my view, the difference between using past or present for the main verb, is that "Jack said X" describes one act at one time in the past.

"Jack says X" may be viewed as an example of "habitual behavior." Perhaps he says it every chance he gets.

It's like "Jack maintains that the moon is made of green cheese."

If you used that verb in the past tense, it would imply that he argued the point repeatedly during a particular conversation in the past.

Jack maintained/argued that the moon is made of green cheese.

And of course we can backshift if we wish: Jack maintained that the moon was made of green cheese.

But if the main verb is in the present tense, we would not backshift, in the sense of shifting the tense of the information.

Jack says the moon was made of green cheese. NO!

Jack says the Red Sox won the World Series last year. YES! (This is not backshifting.)
Thanks for welcoming me! You enlightened my clouded mind with your explanation regarding this subject-- this indirect speech has been haunting me for quite sometime now and I really haven't had the time to ask anyone. It was just that my sister suddenly wanted me to explain it to her and BAAM! she got me there! lol. Thank you very much!
retsam14v is it acceptable to say "Matt said that he is the decision maker for the organization" if so, what does this express?
I think I missed the second part of this one.
For example, this could be part of a conversation today, about a meeting which took place the day before yesterday.

At the present time, we're aware that no changes in the line of authority have taken place, and we have reason to believe that none are anticipated.

Matt's comment was meant to explain the way things were when he made it, and the person who is reporting his statement "understands" that this is still the way things are in the present, as he reports it.

That is, Matt was not announcing a change. He was just explaining things.
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