Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The changing of the tense of a verb from present to past in reported speech.
  • n. A function on a stochastic process whose value on any random variable is the preceding random variable in the process.
  • v. To change the tense of a verb from present to past in reported speech.

Etymologies

back +‎ shift (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I would punctuate this differently: I heard her say, "Who knew?" – no full stop necessary. But more to the point, this does not really illustrate the backshift, at least not as I understand it. A better illustration would be if she asks, "Who knows about the affair?" one might report this as:
    She asked who knew about the affair.

    The present tense of the direct speech has been backshifted to the preterite of the reported speech.

    May 20, 2011

  • I heard her say "Who knew?".

    April 17, 2011