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I know the main idea behing the reported speech (shifting of tenses) but one of the textbooks I have says:

I like pizza.

He said he liked pizza.

But I think that if he likes pizza, he likes in in general and he still like it when we report that statement of his/hers. So I think it should be:

He said he likes pizza

in case he is still alive and has not changed his mind. Is that correct?

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Add an 's': 'He said he likes pizza.' And I will agree with you. –  Jim Aug 26 '13 at 6:07
    
Oh, a typo. Sure, thank you! –  user970696 Aug 26 '13 at 6:10
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2 Answers

The default is that, in the words of the ‘Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English’ (LSGSWE), ‘the tense of the verb in the indirect quote agrees with the past tense of the reporting verb’. That is the case in ‘He said he liked pizza.’

However, the LSGSWE goes on to say ‘although this use of past tense in reported speech is common, reported speech also occurs with other tenses’, and gives examples in which ‘the reporting verb is in the past tense, but the verb in the indirect quote remains in the present tense, emphasizing that the circumstances expressed . . . are still continuing.’ That seems to be the case with ‘He said he likes pizza.’

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I agree with the first paragraph of the answer from @BarrieEngland, and I also agree that the reported statement could be written in the present tense.

I would add that in writing "He said he liked pizza", there is no indication of whether he said that two minutes ago, or two years ago. In the latter case, we do not know whether he still likes pizza, and reporting the statement in the past tense is quite appropriate.

[I know that those comments may not apply very well to this particular case, but they are intended as a generic principle.]

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