だったと言っていました vs だと言っていました

悪い子だったと言っていました and 悪い子だと言っていました.

Do both of these sentences mean: He said he was a bad child. Do they both mean the past? What’s the difference?

To me, it seems pretty clear that the first one says “(He) said (he) was a bad child” and the second one says “(He) said (he) is a bad child”. Is that what you’re asking? The first one the quoted material is past tense, the second one the quoted material is not past tense.
:smiley:

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Depends on what you mean by “He said he was a bad child.”. Is what he said exactly “I am a bad child” or “I was a bad child”?

In English you can quote “I am a bad child” with “He said he was a bad child”, for example.

If his line was “I am a bad child”, the Japanese is 悪い子だと言っていました.

If his line was “I was a bad child”, the Japanese becomes 悪い子だったと言っていました.

In Japanese the present tense doesn’t change to past tense in subordinate clauses like it does in English, so when you use と to quote what someone said, you quote their speech exactly as they said it. The verb at the end (言っていました) indicates whether what was said was in the past or not.

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Just to clarify, I’m pretty sure using と by no means makes something a direct quote. と and って are used the same way for both direct and indirect discourse. What you said about tense not needing to match though is totes true. The only way to clarify direct discourse I know of would be use of these guys: 「」

と or って is more like a paraphrasing than an exact quote, but the principle is the same, and when you do make an exact direct quote you use the same と grammar to do it. What you quote with と will be in the same tense as the original sentence being quoted. The brackets aren’t technically needed to make a direct quote. Technically speaking, how would you even convey them in speech? Or are direct quotes only possible in writing?

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Totally, you create direct and indirect discourse in the exact same way. I was just saying in writing that’s the only way I know of to be explicitly clear. I prolly misinterpreted what you were saying, I thought in your last paragraph of your previous post you meant that when you use と, “you [always] quote their speech exactly as they said it”. I thought you meant “always” in your initial statement, but you likely were just referring to situations in which you do intend to quote directly.

I do think that you do need brackets in writing to clearly convey direct discourse, however. Without brackets (in written Japanese), I always interpret it as indirect discourse. Maybe I shouldn’t do this? In most things I’ve read this has seemed to be a clear distinction.

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This is just my personal recollection off the top of my head, but I feel like its usually the other way around. Usually its actually what they said.

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hmmm… I do a fair amount of reading each day, and the books I’m reading don’t do this. That said, I could see other mediums (like posts on the web, e-mails, etc.) maybe not doing the brackets since their kinda 面倒臭い? Idk. Maybe novels like the clarity, or maybe it’s just the books I’m looking at :man_shrugging:

I too have done the reading of the books.

You’ll probably notice it from now on. I don’t really think theres a such thing as just happening to read books that don’t directly quote without brackets. Especially in dialogue its pretty normal to not use brackets I feel.

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Hmm… Idk, the last two books I read 霧の向こうの不思議な街 and 赤毛のアン (which is a translation of a Canadian novel I think (which may be why it would stick to brackets, to imitate the original English quotes?)) don’t seem to have this at all. Maybe I’m just missing it somehow. Any chance you can give me a screenshot or a photo or something? I totally believe you that this happens, I just personally haven’t seen the convention. Do they indent or something and use paragraph breaks instead of brackets when dialogue is going back and forth?

I’m going to bed here in a second, so I’ll only give a few.

「ああ。会えないこともない
9424
9425 「噓つけよ!!」

9637 全員がぽかんとした表情を浮かべる。少しして、じわじわ心にその思いつきが沁み込んでいく。そうか、と思い当たる。
9638
9639: 会えないこともない、と言った、〝オオカミさま〟の声を思い出す。

1057: 「自分が聞かなくても、誰かが何か聞いてくれるんじゃないかって期待するのはよくないぞ。何か言いたいことがあったら直接言え!」
1058
1059 「じゃあ、聞くけど」

1065 「うわー」
1066
1067: 言いたいことがあったら直接言え、と言ったのは自分なのに、彼女の矢継ぎ早な質問に〝オオカミさま〟が耳を塞いだ。──お面についてる狼の耳じゃなくて、人間の、自分の耳の方を。
1068
1069 「夢がないな。自分が物語の主人公格に選ばれたことを無邪気に喜んだりし
「さて、小物とかぬいぐるみを飾る分にはこれでも大丈夫だと思うけど、本棚として使うなら強度が心配ね。ちょっと見栄えが悪くなるけど金具で補強しておく?」
3788
3789 「あ、はい」

3803 「なんか、これで完成でもいいような気が……」
3804
3805: 見栄えが悪くなると言われた補強金具もむしろデザイン的なアクセントになっている気がするし、これに自分のセンスで色を付けるのは気が引けるないのか」

And then the more common just a word or two:

2727: 「そもそも、アタシがこの徽章をギッてきたのは頼まれたからなんだよ。これ一個で、聖金貨十枚と引き換えるって話でな」
2728
2729 「盗みの依頼が先約かよ! 金貨十枚って、相場がイマイチわかんねぇけど……」

2735 「なら、単純に買い取り価格は倍ってことか」
2736
2737: 「いや、聖金貨と言ったじゃろ?

「あたしの雇い主。あたし今その人と付き合ってて一緒に住んでるから」
4766
4767 愛結の言葉に両親が絶句する。

4769 「なんですって!? 京ちゃんの家に住まわせてもらってると思ってたのに……」
4770
4771: 「どういう人間なんだその相手というのは。雇い主と言ったな?

Those would be fine to put in brackets, but the author just didn’t. I’d say if I had to give a difference, putting it in brackets feels more like emphasizing thats their exact words, but eh. Even in examples like the 聖金貨 one where the exact wording in contrast to something similar is the focus, they don’t use brackets and it doesn’t feel particularly weird to me. Sometimes its just ambiguous, but if its important that you know thats not exactly whats being said then the author will throw in a などと~ or ~たりする or something probably. A comma also makes me more inclined to think its direct. I looked at the two books you mentioned and they seem to be intended for a younger audience. All of the books I have read were meant for an older audience so maybe that has something to do with it.

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Gotcha, thanks! This isn’t quite what I was expecting, but I understand what you mean now. Yeah, I’ve totally seen stuff like this before. I was thinking of specifically dialogue, but this would still totally qualify as direct discourse, and it totally does not require brackets. Thanks!

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