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My mum says:

You have to go back home tomorrow by 6pm.

The day after, do I tell my friend:

My mum said I have to go back home by 6pm

OR

My mum said I had to go back home by 6pm

Another example: my mum says

I think it is a good chance for you.

Next day after, do I tell my friend:

My mum thought it is a good chance for me.

OR

My mum thought it was a good chance for me.

When I repeat the past conversation by using "(someone) said", is it a must that I need to change the sentence to past tense, or can I keep it in present tense?

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Would you like to know how to quote your mum to a friend using indirect speeh, or would you like to know how best to rephrase your mum's statements in your own words, using proper verb tenses? –  tylerharms May 7 '13 at 20:51
    
So when should I use present or past tense when I quota my mum?Does it mean if I rephrase it without speaking "my mum SAID" I need to change it to past tense.Alternatively, if I say "My mum said:....)then I can keep it in present tense?Thank you –  ukoraus May 8 '13 at 8:59
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marked as duplicate by MετάEd, Kris, RegDwigнt May 8 '13 at 10:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers

It depends on where in the timeline you conversation with your friend happens.

Yesterday, your mum told you to be home today by 6 pm. It's now 4 pm and you tell your friend:

My mum told be I have to be home by 6. So I better get going.

You use the present tense, because the action is still current.

But, if the conversation with your friend takes place a week later, then you can use the past tense, because being home by 6 is now in the past as well:

When we met last week I had to catch the bus at 4 pm because my mum had told me that I had to be home by 6.

The same goes for the chance. If the chance is still something that you can make happen, then it's

My mum thought it is a good chance for me, so I'm applying for the job tomorrow.

If the chance has come and gone and everything is in the past, then you can use past tense:

My mum thought it was a good chance for me, so I applied and I got the job.

or

My mum thought it was a good chance for me, but I did not want to try it.

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Saying "My mum thought it is...* would imply she no longer thinks so. Thought it was or thinks it is are usual, as you explained. –  TimLymington May 8 '13 at 10:04
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You can use present tense also:

like for example:

My mum says, that I have to reach(or use go) back home by 6pm.

My mum thinks it is a good chance for me.

my mum said: past tense

my mum says: is present tense

you can use both along with the present tense of the sentence to follow after my mum said...

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So when should I use present or past tense when I quota my mum?Does it mean if I rephrase it without speaking "my mum said" I need to change it to past tense.Alternatively, if I say "My mum said:....)then I can keep it in present tense?Thank you! –  ukoraus May 8 '13 at 8:57
add comment

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