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Old 10.12.2013, 14:03
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English language question

I hope an english native speaker can help me out here: I have to write a letter in which I have to quote another person. I want to make absolutely clear that I do not render my own personal opinion. Unfortunately, it's quite a long quotation. It seems a bit repetitive to write "he said", "he added" or "he mentioned" all the time. In German we can use the subjunctive mood to indicate reported speech (e.g. Er habe sofort reagiert und sei völlig unschuldig" and leave out the main clause (e.g Er sagte, dass..). How do I write this in a stylistically acceptable way in English?
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Old 10.12.2013, 14:37
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Re: English language question

I would suggest you start the reported speech paragraph with "According to NAME..." and continue with the Simple Past Tense and Pluperfect where appropriate. Cheers! Glenda.
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Old 10.12.2013, 15:06
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Re: English language question

As you mention that there is a fair bit of text, you can also indent (set into the page 5 spaces) to show that the whole block of text belongs to the person that you are quoting (or are you really paraphrasing the other person?). Quoting is normally used only if you have the word-for-word of what they said (you taped the conversation or wrote down what they said) or what they wrote (you have the book or article).

With an introduction to the block of text you can make clear to people that the following thoughts/recommendations/ideas come from the other person. In staying in a neutral/factual tone, you will not give an indication if you agree/disagree with the person.

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Old 10.12.2013, 16:12
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Re: English language question

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As you mention that there is a fair bit of text, you can also indent (set into the page 5 spaces) to show that the whole block of text belongs to the person that you are quoting (or are you really paraphrasing the other person?). Quoting is normally used only if you have the word-for-word of what they said (you taped the conversation or wrote down what they said) or what they wrote (you have the book or article).

With an introduction to the block of text you can make clear to people that the following thoughts/recommendations/ideas come from the other person. In staying in a neutral/factual tone, you will not give an indication if you agree/disagree with the person.

Thanks a lot for your help, Glenda and Verbier!

I would like to "quote" 6 or 7 key sentences from letter written in German. I'm trying to stay as close as possible to the wording used in this letter. So I think you can still call it a quotation (and not a paraphrases). Since I "quote" individual sentences and not a whole passage, introducing a whole block of text isn't really an option here.
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Old 10.12.2013, 16:27
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Re: English language question

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Thanks a lot for your help, Glenda and Verbier!

I would like to "quote" 6 or 7 key sentences from letter written in German. I'm trying to stay as close as possible to the wording used in this letter. So I think you can still call it a quotation (and not a paraphrases). Since I "quote" individual sentences and not a whole passage, introducing a whole block of text isn't really an option here.
You can, I think, use ellipses (...) between sentences, and this would grammatically imply that you are omitting portions of the whole passage. This way, you could still use the block quote format.
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Old 10.12.2013, 16:28
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Re: English language question

There does exists a subjunctive mood/tense in English, but it's rarely used and only shows up in some irregular verbs, for example, if I were to suggest that you be the one for me I would be using the subjunctive.

But you can't really use it as you want here, if I understand correctly, to continue the reported speech simply by use of the subjunctive to distinguish it from what would be a simple past, e.g. <he said that> I were . No, it simply doesn't work.

In literature, if we're actually quoting speech, using "quotation marks", then it's quite easy to continue. "It's cold outside", he said, "and I need to wear a coat".

But I think in a business type document it would probably be better to use indenting or bulleting as previously suggested. Also consider using a subjunctive clause anyway, i.e. preceding your 'quoted' text with a conjunction such as 'that', so you don't need to stick with the original tense.

e.g. I could have said "the English Forum is great", or I could have said that the English Forum was great.

HTH
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Old 10.12.2013, 16:49
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Re: English language question

But does Glenda's solution work as well: I introduce the passage with "he said.." or " according to.." and then continue with the Simple Past Tense and Pluperfect? For exemple: They said that they would deal with the problem as soon as possible. In the past they had received similar complaints.....
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Old 10.12.2013, 16:58
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Re: English language question

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But does Glenda's solution work as well: I introduce the passage with "he said.." or " according to.." and then continue with the Simple Past Tense and Pluperfect? For exemple: They said that they would deal with the problem as soon as possible. In the past they had received similar complaints.....
Yes, in the context you give it would work very well.
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Old 10.12.2013, 18:15
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Re: English language question

When I have had to do this in the past for work, I usually indent, quote and italicize the block of text from the other source.

And example is below:



In analyzing the performance differences between Heather and Jack, the details delivered by Heather's best friend were useful:
"Heather is a fine person and is well suited for the position. I believe that Jack will have problems coping with the many competiting priorities, given his inability to deal with the stress of managing many projects at once. I wholeheartedly support Heather."
However, I have met Jack myself and feel he is better suited for the position.
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