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A grammar question I'm stumped on

 
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raewon



Joined: 16 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:40 am    Post subject: A grammar question I'm stumped on Reply with quote

I have a grammar question that I'm not sure of the answer.
Hope someone can take a stab.

Which of the following can NOT complete the sentence?

_____ that Jack has been sick for a few days.
(a) They say
(b) She believes
(c) He said
(d) She will know
(e) Mother has said

What is the correct answer... and why?

Thanks for any comments on this.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They all sound ok to me
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ontheway



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere under the rainbow...

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are all correct in the proper context.

Tell the Korean "grammar" teachers to stop trying to make grammar tests. They don't understand English well enough to differentiate the subtile differences in meaning and the associated grammar, the way English is actually used. The translations they use and teach are wrong, the dictionaries they use are wrong, the grammar rules they teach are wrong. They need to study English before they attempt to teach it.

I've met hundreds of Korean English teachers, most of them low beginners, and only a few, the very best, were ready to study at an Intermediate level. These few were ready to begin to study English grammar, but none were qualified to teach it, let alone make a grammar test.
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The Cosmic Hum



Joined: 09 May 2003
Location: Sonic Space

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: A grammar question I'm stumped on Reply with quote

raewon wrote:
I have a grammar question that I'm not sure of the answer.
Hope someone can take a stab.

Which of the following can NOT complete the sentence?

_____ that Jack has been sick for a few days.
(a) They say
(b) She believes
(c) He said
(d) She will know
(e) Mother has said

What is the correct answer... and why?

Thanks for any comments on this.

e - is incorrect.
It should be in the simple past - Mother said
Mother has said...would describe a reoccurring event...which doesn't match the information in the dependent 'that' clause.

Having said that...just about anyone could create a context which could make e possible.
In any event...e is the least acceptable if there has to be one.

Hope this is useful. Wink
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
e - is incorrect.
It should be in the simple past - Mother said
Mother has said...would describe a reoccurring event...which doesn't match the information in the dependent 'that' clause.


Why couldn't it be 'mother has (just) said' as in recent past?
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The Cosmic Hum



Joined: 09 May 2003
Location: Sonic Space

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
Quote:
e - is incorrect.
It should be in the simple past - Mother said
Mother has said...would describe a reoccurring event...which doesn't match the information in the dependent 'that' clause.


Why couldn't it be 'mother has (just) said' as in recent past?


It could be.

But would you still use the perfect tense to match the information given in the dependent clause?
or
Mother just said....without perfect tense?

There is no doubt that modifying it or creating an interesting context could make e acceptable.

But doesn't it sound odd to you as well?
Not as a grammar structure...just usage?
Perhaps this usage is more common on your side of the pond?

Using the perfect tense in that situation lends to a future or hypothetical clause to follow.
As in...
Mother has just said that we will be going to the movies tonight.

But again...in usage it could very well be an American vs British usage of the perfect tense.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes as you know we Brits use it a lot more. In the context of someone coming into a room and seeing a lot of worried looking people and asking them what's happened and why are they worried, then it sounds natural to me.
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raewon



Joined: 16 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. They were helpful. The answer key gave (c) as the correct answer. I knew that the answer key was wrong, but I thought there might have been a mistake in the question as well.

Thanks!
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Presumably they're following the idea that you need to backshift in reported speech and it should be

'He said that Jack had been ill for a few days.'

However if Jack is still ill at the time of speaking this doesn't have to apply.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

E is wrong if you are not talking to a sibling.

So, maybe they took this test question from the Chinese who have a one child policy and there is no way you could say, "Mom/Dad said we should clean up our rooms."
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