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Question

Indirect speech question.
“Were you the one who ate the cake?” Ali asked me.
– Ali asked me ________________

Pls help. TIA

Answer

if I was the one who at the cake.

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Ali asked me if I was the one who had eaten the cake. 

If/Whether (This is used due to the way the question was asked)

Was (Singular – Past) as opposed to Were (usually Plural – Past)

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Disclaimer: Below is not an answer but to get expert to advise (or “pao1 zhuan1 ying3 yu4”)…

My original take was: (1) Ali asked me if I was the one who ate the cake.

But I’m also not sure if this could go: (2) Ali asked me if I was the one who had eaten the cake.

My child chose (1) and said to try to follow the original as much as possible.

For me, I also think it is (1) but I’m not so good in explaining language use.

Can only give examples…

“Did you see the person who ate the cake?” Ali asked me.
(3) Ali asked me if I saw the person who ate the cake.

(4) Ali asked me if I saw the person who had eaten the cake.

(I would choose (4) because of the action verbs used.)

But to useif I were the one who ate the cake“, I’m not sure what English terminology to use, it is used on impossible scenarios, like “If I were a bird”, “If I were a man”, If I were you”,…. etc like the below.

“If you were a bird, where would you fly to?” Ali asked me.
– Ali asked me if I were a bird, where I would fly to.

– Ali asked me where I would fly to if I were a bird.

In the context of this question, Ali was asking a possible case, where “I” could be the actual one who ate the cake. So I think it should be “if I was the one who… “.


Ok, agreed with teacher’s answer. This is too tough for me!

Ok, another question if any expert would help…

Are you the one who ate the cake?” Ali asked me. [Is this a gramatically correct question?]

If so, which is correct?

 (5) Ali asked me if I was the one who had eaten cake.

(6) Ali asked me if I have been the one who had eaten cake.

 

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“Are you the one who ate the cake?” Ali asked me. [Is this a gramatically correct question?]

If so, which is correct?

(5) Ali asked me if I was the one who had eaten cake.

(6) Ali asked me if I have been the one who had eaten cake.

Hi SAHMom

These are simpler than you think. The basic rule is to backshift [move into the past simple or past perfect] all the finite verbs [verbs that change according to the subject or tense]. There are lots of ifs and buts and exceptions, but that is the general rule.

Accordingly, in answer to your grammatically correct question, number (5) is correct:

(5) Ali asked me if/whether I was the one who had eaten the cake.

Number (6) is not correct because ‘have been’ is still present tense (present perfect).

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Checked with the teacher. The answer is

Ali asked me if I had been the one who had eaten the cake. 

 

🙂

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Ali asked me whether I was the one who ate the cake.

“If I were” expresses the subjunctive mood, ie. it is hypothetical. For example: If I were a pirate, I would…

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My take:

Ali asked me if I were the one who ate the cake.

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