To be or not to be a wife...

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violazoli
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To be or not to be a wife...

Postby violazoli » 2018-10-28, 0:29

Hi, first of all, excuse me my bad English... I am novice in it. My question is - I think - some kind of "style-like". First I shall to admit, my native tongue is Hungarian. Now, please imagine a situation written in a book (sci-fi or any theme): there are 3 protagonist, two men and one woman (or girl, lady...). The 2 men is in conversation about her. One of them (I will labelled him as S1 in short) tell it to the second ( S2 ):

"Azt mondta, a feleséged".

This is in English:
"She said, she is your wife". (However I am not sure in the "is", maybe it need to be replaced with "was"? After all the quoted speech committed by her happened in the past. But the situation is not perfectly clear for me, because she is a wife even now, when S1 is talking about her.).

But the problem described above between parenthesis is my smallest/less. The real problem is, that how I can translate the Hungarian sentence, if I want use this:

"Azt mondta, a feleséged volna".

This Hungarian sentence is in "conditional" grammar, in past "tense", so, the approximate translation word-by-word is:
"She said, she would be your wife".
but I am quite sure that this is wrong. The problem is that in Hungarian there are 2 words in order to express conditionality: "lenne" and "volna". But here I cannot use "lenne" in Hungarian, because it says that she has wish to become a wife, so, when she did say this, then she wasn't a wife yet! I think my English translation express exactly this, if my translation is correct as grammar at all.
But my Hungarian sentence includes the 2nd Hungarian word in order to express conditionality: "volna". Strictly saying, this is the past-tense variant of "lenne", but in this situation it means no any "past"! The usage of this "conditional" word in this situation is a very, very, very, very... polite manner (almost "vintage", "ancient" style, used by the topmost well-educated people only, very rarely) in order to express the scepticism felt by the S1. So, with this style S1 says, that she asserted it (boldly...) that she is the wife of S2, but S1 is not sure that she told the reality. So, S1 thinks that she is MAYBE and PERHAPS a liar. But S1 thinks not for sure that she is a liar, just he thinks that MAYBE. It is not excluded as possibility.

My question is, how can I express in English this very, very polite misgiving/scepticism? I think it is not good if I write:
"She said, she is your wife allegedly".
Because it sound as if SHE told the word "allegedly", however she didn't use any conditional grammar or word: she stated it explicitly that she is a wife!
Moreover, I would like to express this very fine and polite doubt only and exclusively with grammar tools, not with any extra word(s).

Thanks for the help... I asked in the past about this even an (Hungarian) professional English teacher, but he didn't know the answer...
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Dormouse559
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Re: To be or not to be a wife...

Postby Dormouse559 » 2018-10-28, 2:26

violazoli wrote:"Azt mondta, a feleséged".

This is in English:
"She said, she is your wife". (However I am not sure in the "is", maybe it need to be replaced with "was"? After all the quoted speech committed by her happened in the past. But the situation is not perfectly clear for me, because she is a wife even now, when S1 is talking about her.).

Both “She said she is your wife” and “She said she was your wife” are correct. Given the soeaker knows she is still a wife, the first one is more likely. By the way, English doesn’t use commas before subordinate clauses as much as Hungarian; you don’t need a comma in either sentence.


My question is, how can I express in English this very, very polite misgiving/scepticism? I think it is not good if I write:
"She said, she is your wife allegedly".
Because it sound as if SHE told the word "allegedly", however she didn't use any conditional grammar or word: she stated it explicitly that she is a wife!
Moreover, I would like to express this very fine and polite doubt only and exclusively with grammar tools, not with any extra word(s).

Thanks for the help... I asked in the past about this even an (Hungarian) professional English teacher, but he didn't know the answer...

This kind of distinction isn’t normally expressed morphologically or lexically in English, but rather with intonation. The most natural method in speech is to put extra stress on “said” (represented in writing with italics): “She said she’s your wife.”
N'hésite pas à corriger mes erreurs.

violazoli
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Re: To be or not to be a wife...

Postby violazoli » 2018-10-28, 4:04

Oh, what a quick reply! Thank you very much dear Dormouse559!
—————————————————————————
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Webpage: https://haroldking.weebly.com/
Native: (hu)
Intermediate: (us)
Intermediate (were, once upon a time): (de) (eo)

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Re: To be or not to be a wife...

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-09-27, 2:12

You could also say "she claimed to be your wife" or "she claimed she was your wife" (I guess she claimed she is your wife is acceptable to me, too, although I don't think I'd hear that as often from native speakers). These are all a little bit more formal than she said she's your wife, though.

violazoli
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Re: To be or not to be a wife...

Postby violazoli » 2019-09-27, 9:55

Thank you very much!
—————————————————————————
My pen-name: Harold King.
Webpage: https://haroldking.weebly.com/
Native: (hu)
Intermediate: (us)
Intermediate (were, once upon a time): (de) (eo)

vijayjohn
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Re: To be or not to be a wife...

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-06, 4:17

No problem! :)


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