主句和从句时态的呼应

某些复合句中的从句,主要是宾语从句中的时态常受主句的时态的影响而发生必要的转换,这种现象叫时态的呼应或时态的一致。

(一)宾语从句中时态呼应的规律

1.主句中的谓语动词是各种现在时态或将来时态时,从句中的谓语动词的时态不受主句谓语动词时态的影响,可根据意思的需要选用任何适当的时态。例如:

Mrs.Brown says her son studies/studied/will study/medicine.布朗夫人说她儿子学习/曾经学习/将要学习医学。

I can’t make out what you are talking/talked/will talk about.我不明白你在讲/讲过/将要讲些什么。

I’ll tell you what I saw in Australia.我会把我在澳大利亚看到的情况告诉你。

2.主句中的谓语动词如果是过去时态,从句的谓语动词就要用过去时态。有三种情况。

(1)如果从句的谓语所表示的动作跟主句的动作同时或几乎同时发生,则从句的谓语动词用一般过去时或过去进行时。例如:

I knew he was deeply troubled…(Ross Santee)我知道他非常苦恼……

She saw how wet his hair was when he came into the house.(Fred Gipson)当他进屋子时,她看见他的头发都湿透了。

She wondered what he was doing.她想知道他在干什么。

I knew that the child was sleeping.我知道孩子正在睡。

(2)如果从句的谓语动词所表示的动作发生在主句的动作之前,则从句的谓语动词用过去完成时或过去完成进行时。例如:

He didn’t eat his dinner, and one of the boys said he had gone for a walk in the woods.(M.K.Rawlings)他没吃午饭,况且还有个男孩说他曾经去了树林里散步。

She asked me if I had made one(joke)just at the time of the catastrophe.她问我,那场灾难发生时我是否在说笑话。

They said they had been waiting for us a long time.他们说他们等我们很长时间了。

(3)如果从句中的谓语动词所表示的动作发生在主句谓语的动作之后,则从句的谓语动词通常用一般过去将来时、过去将来进行时或过去将来完成时。例如:

I hate goodbyes and I knew I would never see him again.(M.K.Rawlings)我不喜欢跟人说再见,而且我知道我不会再见到他了。

He wished she would say:“Now why don’t you go get a newspaper?Go buy the‘Extra’.”(Robert E.Sherwood)他希望她会说:“你现在为什么不去买份报纸来?去把那份‘号外’买来。”

She said she would be waiting for her mother at the airport.她说她将在机场等她母亲。

He assured us that they would have accomplished the task in a week.他向我们保证,他将在一星期内完成这项任务。

3.有时,主句中的谓语动词虽是过去时态,但如果是属于下述5种特殊情况,宾语从句中的谓语动词的时态可以不遵守时态呼应的规则。

(1)从句所叙述的如果是普遍真理、客观事实或习惯性、永久性的动作时,仍用现在时态。例如:

The teacher told the pupils that light travels faster than sound.老师告诉学生光比声音速度快。

Did he say that the plane leaves at 18:00 hours?他是否说飞机十八点钟起飞?

He said that his wife always drinks coffee for breakfast.他说他妻子早餐总是喝咖啡。

I remembered that boys will be boys.我记得,男孩子总归是男孩子。

(2)从句中如果有一个表示具体的过去时间的状语,那么从句谓语的动作虽发生在主句的谓语动词的动作之前,通常仍用一般过去时,不用过去完成时。例如:

The old woman said her youngest son was born in 1968.这个老妇人说,她最小的儿子生于1968年。

(3)从句中所表示的动作如果在说话人讲话时刻尚未发生时,则从句的谓语可以不用过去将来时,而用一般将来时。例如:

He told me this morning he will go/is going with us tomorrow.(Curme)今天早晨他告诉我,明天他将同我们一起去。

She said she’ll be back tonight.她说她今晚回来。

(4)从句中的谓语动词所表示的动作或状态,如果在说话人叙述时仍在继续进行或继续存在,则从句的谓语可用所需要的适当时态。例如:

He told us the other day that his daughter is only 5.几天前,他对我说他的女儿才5岁。

The little girl said that her mother is attending a dinner party.这个小女孩说,她母亲正在出席一个宴会。

(5)当主句的谓语动词是demand, insist, order, promise, propose, recommend, require, suggest等表示命令、要求、建议等意思时,宾语从句的谓语不受主句谓语动词的时态影响,仍然用虚拟语气,即用“(should)+动词原形”的形式。(参看第十章)

They suggested that we(should)stay in their dormitory rather than in the hotel.他们建议我们应该住在他们的宿舍,而不是住旅馆。

Richard proposed that we all(should)go to London together.理查德建议我们大家一起去伦敦。

The commander ordered that a bridge be built over the river.司令员命令在河上建一座桥。

(二)“be+形容词”结构的时态呼应

“be+形容词”结构后面可跟一个从句,这种从句通常被看作原因状语从句(有些语法学家认为是宾语从句)。这种从句的谓语动词跟主句的时态呼应规则和宾语从句的时态呼应相同。

“be+形容词”结构中常见的形容词有:afraid, annoyed, ashamed, aware, certain, confident, content, delighted, disappointed, glad, lucky, pleased, proud, satisfied, sorry, sure, surprised等。例如:

He was glad that he had got a high score.他很高兴,他得了高分。

He was afraid that he would lose.他担心他会输。

I was not aware how deeply he had felt the death of his mother.我不知道他对他母亲的逝世感到多么难过。

(三)主语从句、表语从句和同位语从句的时态呼应

主句的谓语动词是现在时,从句的谓语动词可以用所需要的各种适当的时态:现在时、过去时或将来时。如果主句的谓语动词是过去时,则从句的谓语动词受到约束,应相应地用一般过去时、过去完成时或过去将来时。例如:

It happened that they were absent.(主语从句)【主、从句的动作同时发生】他们碰巧缺席了。

It was possible that the news had been spread.【从句的动作发生在主句的动作之前】很可能消息已经传播出去了。

Her fear was lest they should stay for tea. (表语从句)【从句的动作发生在主句的动作之后】 她怕的是他们会留下来喝茶。

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