日本人英文法の意外な穴

帝京大学教授で、ルミナス英和辞典(研究社)をはじめとする英語辞書編纂にも多く関わってこられたクリストファ・バーナード先生が月3~4回、語法、語彙を含めた広い意味での英文法の様々なトピックを解説します。

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102. Reported speech in if-clauses

No 102. Reported speech in if-clauses
     「if節中の間接話法」


In Columns 15 and 16, I wrote about one grammatically incorrect use of "were". Let us look at another use of "were", which I also think is incorrect.

I have simplified the original sentence, but it was like this:
She told the press that her supporters would continue the campaign even if she were arrested.
(彼女はマスコミに、たとえ彼女が逮捕されても自分の支持者たちはキャンペーンを続けるだろうと語った)

We can certainly understand the temptation of the writer to use "were". After all, "if" comes before, so it seems natural to use "were".

However, we can imagine that her actual words to the press were something like this:
"My supporters will continue the campaign even if I am arrested."

The that-clause in the original sentence is an example of reported speech. The rules of reported speech, based on the original sentence, are as follows:
"my supporters" > her supporters
"will continue" > would continue
"I" > she
"am arrested" > was arrested (NOT were arrested)

Therefore the correct English would be:
She told the press that her supporters would continue the campaign even if she was arrested.

As I pointed out in Columns 15 and 16, there is a tendency to use "were" in place of "was" since it sometimes seems more elegant.

◆NOTES◆
・reported speech: 間接話法
・campaign: (政治的·社会的)運動、キャンペーン
・the temptation of A to do: Aが~したいという誘惑
・a tendency to do: ~する傾向
・in place of: ~の代わりに


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