What did you say......?

by Daniele
(Milano, italy)

Which is the correct form in the following case and why?
what did you say your name is/was? or

What did you say is your name? (it sounds odd to me)

Do I have to treat it as a simple interrogative, using the single inversion of did?!?(So many questions! Sorry and thank you!)
First to answer your question the first example you provided is correct and the second is not. (I am glad that it sounds odd to you! :D

The only options you have are:

*What did you say your name is/was?

or

* What is your name?

I hope that helps.
Diana :)

Comments for What did you say......?

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Mar 31, 2011
Reported speech
by: Anonymous

In the sentence "What did you say your name was?" the speaker is using reported speech. When using reported speech, we always put the original phrase that was in present tense into past tense. For example:

Direct quote: He said, "My name IS George."

OR: The president said, "We ARE WORKING on a new budget."

Reported speech: He said (that) his name WAS George.

OR: The president said (that) they WERE WORKING on a new budget.

When the original quote is already in past tense, the past perfect is used. For example:

Direct quote: He said, "I BOUGHT a new car."

Reported speech: He said (that) he HAD BOUGHT a new car.

Therefore, "What did you say (that) your name was?" is a question form of reported speech, so past tense is used.

Nov 21, 2010
Explanation
by: Anonymous

These two posts at yahoo answers cover this pretty well too:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100403220316AAUpjmY

http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100403221442AAsgDrP

Nov 15, 2010
WHAT DID YOU SAY YOUR NAME WAS?
by: Anonymous

Can you please explain this question grammatically? I can't figure out the grammar for this question!

Sep 06, 2010
re: above
by: Anonymous

Is it correct to actually ask someone "what did you say your name WAS? As if their name changed since the last time they told you? Isn't it always supposed to be in the present? Doesn't it refer to what their name IS NOW?

No. Because the "was" in this case is referring to the past tense when they TOLD you.

Basically you are saying:
What DID you SAY your name WAS when you told it to me?

If you were asking them what their name was the context is difference:
What was your name before you changed it to "The amazing Boffo"?

I hope this clarifies things somewhat.

Dec 23, 2009
Proper question?
by: Anonymous

Is it correct to actually ask someone "what did you say your name WAS? As if their name changed since the last time they told you? Isn't always supposed to be in the present? Doesn't it refer to what their name IS NOW?

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