Hello, sir!

I'd like to know how to report this sentence "Did you go to school?", mother said.

Is it OK to say:

Mother asked if I had gone to school.

Or, 

Mother asked if I had been to school.

Original Post

Considering your examples, you could say both. In this case, both verbs have a close meaning.

If you want to be more specific about the action you're describing, you should follow the same verb which was used to ask you, but you don't necessarily need to use the same verb to provide an answer.

Last edited by Rodrigo_Berne

Hi, Abdul Rahman and welcome to the G.E,

Abdul Rahman posted:

Hello, sir!

I'd like to know how to report this sentence "Did you go to school?", mother said.

Is it OK to say:

Mother asked if I had gone to school.

Or, 

Mother asked if I had been to school.

The first answer with 'had gone' is the better one here because it reflects the usage of 'go' in your question. Generally speaking, in reported speech, the basic forms of 'had gone' could be: 'went, has/have gone or had gone'. The basic forms of 'had been' are: 'has/have been, were/was or had been'. 

BTW, some people would argue that 'had been' is the better answer because it refers to going and returning, but this is not the case here. Here, we backshift the verb that is found in the direct speech and -of course- 'go' is completely different from 'be'. 

 

Last edited by ahmed_btm
Abdul Rahman posted:

I really needed the editors' answer not just  the non-native members'.

Hi, Abdul,

I endorse Ahmed's answer. Sometimes non-native members' replies help, especially if provided by experienced teachers like Ahmed. Actually, I am a non-native teacher and translator myself.

Abdul Rahman posted:

Anyway, I know that we can use "went" or "had gone"

"went" would be wrong, and would only be accepted in the reported version of this question:

- Do you go to school?

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

Hello, sir.

I really appreciate every help from anyone. However, I resorted to this site for its "native" experts.

We resort to this site as a trustworthy one as we, second language learners, may argue about some kind of a rule.

* Concerning the use of "had gone", not "went", I learnt that the past simple tense can be changed into past perfect or it can be kept unchanged.

Thanks, all

Abdul Rahman posted:

I really appreciate every help from anyone. However, I resorted to this site for its "native" experts.

We resort to this site as a trustworthy one as we, second language learners, may argue about some kind of a rule.

Hello, Abdul Rahman. You are welcome here at the Grammar Exchange, but please be respectful of any responses you receive. Please do not object to an answer if you suspect that it has been given by a nonnative speaker of English, especially if it has come from an official contributor at this site, such as Gustavo.

This forum is moderated (by me, a native speaker of English) and answers are inspected for accuracy by native speakers. When an answer has been given that is grammatically inaccurate, or which is grammatically accurate but does not conform to native usage, then it will (almost without exception) be corrected.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

Abdul Rahman posted:

Anyway, I know that we can use "went" or "had gone"

"went" would be wrong, and would only be accepted in the reported version of this question:

- Do you go to school?

Gustavo is right that "went" would be wrong—for the reason he has given.

Abdul Rahman posted:
* Concerning the use of "had gone", not "went", I learnt that the past simple tense can be changed into past perfect or it can be kept unchanged.

What you learned was incomplete. With stative verbs or with verb phrases that can be understood to express habits, the use of the simple past instead of the "backshifted" past-perfect form is not always a viable choice.

There would need to be a past-time adverbial in this case: "Mother asked if I went to school today/yesterday" would be OK, because it would then be clear that she was asking about a single completed event of going to school.

But "Mother asked if I went to school" will naturally be understood as equivalent to "Mother asked, 'Do you go to school?," just as "Mother asked if I was ill" would be understood as relating to "Mother asked, "Are you ill?"

Last edited by David, Moderator

Thanks a lot, sir.

I'm really sorry but I didn't mean to offend Mr. Gustavo or anyone at all. 

I was just trying to point out why I resorted to your site., maybe I was unable to convey it in a proper, right way. 

My reply, the first one, meant that I really needed your answer, not a second language learner like me or Mr. Ahmed. We, learners, have some argument concerning some rule and the only way is to come here for your final, trusted answer. 

I didn't object to Mr. Gustavo's reply at all. 

I hope I could clear it up, sir. 

Last edited by Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman posted:
I hope I could clear it up, sir. 

Thank you, Abdul. Just be careful when you feel tempted to think of all nonnative speakers of English as "learners." You may not realize this, but some of the greatest users of the English language have been nonnative speakers. I think in particular of novelists like Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov, writers from whom most native speakers could have taken lessons.

Last edited by David, Moderator

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