|18.2 the sequence of tenses with verbs which requires the indicativo|
a) The introductory verb can require the indicative and is in a present tense
(presente, futuro I, condizionale I)
aa) The introductory verb can require the congiuntivo and is in a present tense.
b) The introductory verb can require the indicative and is in a past tense
(passato remoto, imperfetto, passato prossimo, trapassato prossimo, condizionale II)
bb) The introductory verb can require the congiuntivo and is in a past tense.
* Keep in mind that the passato prossimo is a tense of the past in Italian. It is NOT as in Spanish.
And in all these situations we must distinguish between three different situations. The actions / events of the subordinate clause can have happened before, at the same time or after being imagined / told. We are going to see later that the distinction between reported speech and sequence of tenses that you can find in all grammar books is useless and confusing from a didactic point of view. The reported speech is only a special case of the sequence of tenses, the problem is in both cases the same and resolved in the same way. The crucial thing one must understand is the fact that an adaptation of the tenses is not needed if the introductory verb stands in a present tense and is necessary if it stands in a past tense. If the introductory verb stands in a present tense only the rules are to apply which we have already seen in the chapter tenses.
|a) Lui dice / sa: "La macchina non è ancora stata riparata."|
|He says / knows: "The car is not already repaired."|
|b) Lui dice / sa che la macchina non è ancora stata riparata.|
|He says / knows that the car is not already repaired.|
|aa) Lui disse / sapeva: "La macchina non è ancora stata riparata."|
|He said / knew: The car has not already repaired.|
|bb) Lui disse / sapeva che la macchina non era ancora stata riparata.|
|He said / knew that the car had not been repaired already.|
We see that the declaration sentence in aa) is in the passato prossimo ("...è stata riparata"), the subordinate clause in bb) in trapassato prossimo ("...era stata riparata"). Normally you find in grammar books a schema which describes how to adapte the tenses if the introductory verb is in a past tense. Something like that.
presente becomes imperfetto
imperfetto remains imperfetto
passato prossimo becomes trapassato prossimo
futuro I becomes condizionale II
That's the pragmatic approach. But you can try to understand as well why this transformation is necessary and that's perhaps easier than learning the rules. Let's have a look at these simple declaration sentences.
|He eats a cake.|
|He rides bicycle.|
|He reads a book.|
|He wrote him a letter.|
|A: You still have money?|
|B: Yes, I have just been to the bank.|
|I don't have any money left.|
|Non ho più soldi.|
|The introductory verb is in a present tense|
|He know, that she doesn' t have any money left.|
|Lui sa che lei non ha più soldi.|
|I don' t have any money left.|
|Non ho più soldi.|
|The introductory verb is in a tense of the past|
|He knew that he didn' t have any money left.|
|Lui sapeva che lei non aveva più soldi.|
What has happened? Someone reports in the present (what is not necessarily THE PRESENT, in a text it can be as well the present of the speaker, the historical present), that someone else had said / thought something. It is crucial to see that the anchor on the timeline around which the actions / events has to be arranged is the moment in which someone said / thought something and not the moment someone reports what was thought or said.
Let's see an example.
Mario believed (on Wednesday), that Juan had broken his leg (on Monday).
In this sentence there is a third person, let's say Ricardo, who tells on Friday what Mario believed on Wednesday about something that had happened on Monday. The anchor around which the events must be arranged is Wednesday, not Friday. That' s the simple but crucial point we must see. We are going to discuss that more in detail in the following chapters and we are going to see as well that the tenses looses their original functions in this context.
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