The question Do tenses in a time clause never back-shift in reported speech? (which I'll call The Backshift Question or TBQ for convenience) has an answer that could be considered canonical for back-shifting in reported speech questions. I've just referred someone to that answer and voted to close their question as a duplicate of TBQ.

In doing so, I found that TBQ was closed as "not a real question", or in greater detail, "This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form."

After looking at Shoe's answer, I consider the question unambiguous, precise, complete, of useful breadth, genuine, and reasonably answered in its current form. In short, I submit that it is a real question and I would like to drum up some support to reopen it, with a view to making it a canonical Q&A for back-shifting in reported speech questions.

Here is a sample canonical ELL post. I haven't found an equivalent for ELU. The ELU community seems to be able to find good examples for many recurring questions, but with the recent comments in ELUm about the number of low-quality ELU questions, I'd like to explore the idea of gathering a collection of canonical answers and presenting that list in the Ask Question page.

Update (Thanks @Shoe) Here is a more comprehensive post to serve as a canonical answer for back-shift questions.

  • The first three paragraphs of this are sensible enough, but the fourth is pointless. If you have enough rep, you can vote to re-open directly, and if not those who can are unlikely to be swayed by your vote on a meta question. The last sentence is also a duplicate of What is a 'canonical answer'?. Feb 1, 2016 at 15:06
  • @TimLymington Thanks, particularly for the link. I've reworded the last paragraph of my question to better express my thoughts about canonical posts.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 1, 2016 at 15:19
  • 1
    You make a good case. I've cast my reopen vote.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 1, 2016 at 16:14
  • 1
    I've just voted to reopen it. Good luck.
    – user140086
    Feb 1, 2016 at 16:21
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Thanks for the suggestion. Hellion beat me to it and even did an extensive edit. Also Dan and Rathony - thanks for voting to reopen.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 2, 2016 at 0:16
  • You link to an answer I gave about backshift, one of several that I have written on the topic. If the idea of a canonical post is to be pursued, a better starting point might be the following answer, in which I cite various authoritative sources: english.stackexchange.com/questions/240479/…
    – Shoe
    Feb 6, 2016 at 9:18
  • @Shoe Thanks - I've added the link as an update to the post.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:50


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