Indirect speech is speech describing what someone has said without using a direct quote.

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what is time reference of a verb

In indirect speech if the time reference has not changed then the tenses are not back shifted. Randolph Quirk, in A Comprehensive Grammar of The English Language states Backshift is optional when ...
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optional backshifting criterion in non reported speech [duplicate]

In an indirect speech back shifting of tense is optional if what is said is still true. For example -- Kate said that she is not well. ( Here non change in tense because Kate is still not well at the ...
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sentence structure and sequence of tense

In sentence structure of indirect speech like - (He said +........... , He informed +....... , He claimed + .......... ), I am aware that if the situation is still relevant then back shifting of ...
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sequence of tenses (optional and obligatory back shifting )

Consider a sentence: 1) The president learned that the earthquake has caused havoc all across the country. Here present perfect tense is used. First tell me is it correct to use 'has caused' ? ...
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present perfect vs past perfect

What's the difference between the following examples: I noticed that the clock had stopped. I noticed that the clock has stopped.
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reported speech in news articles [duplicate]

In reported speech we generally back shift the tense. But why in news articles I often see that this guideline is violated ? For example ...
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Different form of reported speech [duplicate]

In indirect speech we generally backshift the tense. For ex - Direct speech : "I am the most powerful person." Indirect speech : "He said that he was the most powerful person." What if someone ...
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I asked if he speaks/spoke English

I asked if he speaks English I asked if he spoke English Speak or spoke? Colloquially, is it correct to say speaks?
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I asked + present/past tense

Consider the examples: "My name is Ricky." He said his name is Ricky. The tense is not backshifted in #2 because his name is and will always be Ricky. Also consider: Ricky says: "I live in ...
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Sequence of tenses in reported speech [duplicate]

I've found it in a book and assume it's got to be correct, but I cannot understand why the Past Perfect of I had been offered. Would was offered not have been clearer? I explained that when I was in ...
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What will be the word order in converting this to reported speech? [duplicate]

We need to convert the following to reported speech: Why have you taken a room on the tenth floor? I am confused about the word order. Should it be He asked her why she had taken a room on ...
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reporting past simple tense [closed]

Choose: He said that while he was watching television, the light (went/had gone) out. Some people say that past simple tense doesn't change in indirect speech, but my teacher says that the direct ...
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verb tense in reported speech

I told Cindy we would not be able to eat American Chinese food again for a couple of years, once we moved to Shanghai. I told Cindy we would not be able to eat American Chinese food again for ...
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Direct speech to reported speech with Hush! [closed]

Please change the sentence from direct speech to reported speech. I cannot solve this problem. Can anyone solve this? He said, "HUSH! The headmaster is coming."
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Capitalization in direct speech without quotation marks

My question has been largely answered in the discussion linked to below. However, one question remains: in mid-sentence hypothetical direct speech without quotation marks, what is preferable ...
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Was emerging vs Is emerging

The sentence below was written using was emerging: Narayanasamy said Congress was emerging as a forceful organisation and the people would be convinced that the PM and BJP had only extended false ...
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Present tense and conditional tense in a stated past tense

I have a question about using past and conditional tenses in a context that refers to something told in the past. I think I’ve seen both forms used in films/books, etc., but I'm not sure about it ...
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284 views

Reported speech in Minute taking

I have to take minutes of a meeting, but I am quite confused at the moment. Here are some sentences which got me confused: ''Mr Johnson: Latin America and Asia produce the same products, so I suggest ...
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Converting direct to reported speech: who-question [closed]

The teacher asked Marga, "Who helped you with your work?" Would "The teacher asked Marga who had helped her with her work." be an acceptable conversion to reported speech?
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“Used to” and reported speech

He said: “You are a very stupid man.” → He said that I was a very stupid man. But when we express the past by using the structure "used to" is the shift rule valid as well? He used to say: ...
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question on past or present in indirect speech [duplicate]

Amit: I will send you an email. Me: OK. After one day how can i tell this indirectly. Should i say Amit told me that he would send me an email or Amit told me that he will send me an email. It is ...
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Should I use present or past tense in indirect speech?

Suppose a person has told me this: I will go home. I want to report what he told me to someone else, but I don’t know whether the condition is still true — that is, whether he has gone home. ...
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Reported speech of future time clauses

How should we report sentences including "future time clause?" We will have dinner when your father gets home. Do we have to change the tense of 'future time clause' or leave it in the original ...
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«Said I» vs «I said»

Are «said I» and «I said» interchangeable? «Said I» is pretty uncommon, or so I thought. The sentence in question looks like so: «"It's not going to be your way," — said I.» Or it could be «"It's not ...
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reported speech sentences

When we want to report a sentence we change both simple past and present perfect verb into past perfect. What if the sentence we want to report has past perfect element itself. For example How do we ...
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Change “What are you doing?” asked Sally into indirect speech

Is "Sally asked what you were doing." correct? It couldn't possibly be "Sally asked what I was doing." right? Thanks.
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Promise of something would happen as reported speech

He promised the following: “your payment will reach your account next Friday”. How to phrase the message below correctly? The payment you promised to make reach my account a week ago has still not ...
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What tense to use when reporting something which has never been true or never happened? [duplicate]

The report said that years ago city planners had planned to build a facility that turns salt water into fresh water, but financial woes made that impossible. In this sentence should turned be ...
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Question about tenses used in Seinfeld show: “what you were doing tomorrow night”

In the sentences "Did she even ask you what you were doing tomorrow night? If you were busy?" occurring at about 0:42 - 0:43 in this clip, why was past tense used in "What you were doing ...
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Is back-shifting necessary in speech and writing [duplicate]

Can I say "I told you he is going to the book club" when he has already gone there by now; or is it necessary to back-shift it to past i.e. "I told you he was going to the book club". So will I be ...
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Use of IS and WAS in reported speech [duplicate]

Which one is more correct: Melissa said she was going to the mall. or Melissa said she is going to the mall.
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What does “It can't have been her you saw yesterday: she is abroad.” become in indirect reported speech?

What does the sentence: It can't have been her you saw yesterday: she is abroad. become in indirect reported speech? He told me it… can't have been (?) couldn't have been (?) … her I had seen ...
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Have I transformed this reported speech correctly? [closed]

She asked the teacher what should she do. Should it read as - She asked the teacher, What has to be done? Please explain why the sentence might be incorrect.
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398 views

Indirect Speech Backshifting in Commands & Requests with Time Clauses

I know that backshifting can used when reporting statements and questions. This is clearly stated in many grammar books. Aside from a mere example on some webpage, I haven't found any reference in the ...
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Reported speech commands - negations which aren't related to subject

First my english ain't pretty good but I hope you can understand me. :) So at the moment I'm doing my homework and I'm pre-finished with it but 2 sentences are very difficult for the exercise. I need ...
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at which point I can shift from past perfect back to simple past?

Imagine I'm writing a story in past tense. Here come some questions: SENTENCE 1: "Tom simply couldn't imagine how different the world had been when his father was at Tom's age: there hadn't been ...
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Proper tense for reported speech

Jimmy: Did you read my novel? Sara: Not yet. People told me it was romantic. Is it fine to use 'was' here? I suspect 'is' most suitable here, because that book still exists, so use of 'is' ...
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Reported speech - statements whose meaning still stands

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 ...
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Can verb tense be changed mid-sentence for something that still exists?

Look at this sentence: I knew that the sky is blue. To me, it doesn't make sense to say the sky was blue since it still is blue. Even so, is it grammatically incorrect to say I knew that the sky ...
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Reported Speech

I am correcting a reported speech test. I am more than familiar with the backshifts and exceptions. However, I would need some help to see if I can accept these two reports: "We can't protect our ...
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Can I use the word “must” in subjunctive mood?

I'm a student in China. Our English exam has a grammar item. 54.My boss ordered that the legal documents __ to him before lunch. A.be sent B.were sent C.were to be sent D.must be ...
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Direct to Reported Speech - a scenario of ambiguity [duplicate]

The question is: How would one convert He said, "My name is Harry" to reported speech? Rules do say that the converted sentence reads He said that his name was Harry. The factor causing ...
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Is reported speech reasonable in this example? [closed]

What is the right word to the gap (21)? (had/have) That is about 400 years earlier than when the Inca Indians were thought to (21) __ discovered the silver in the ground. I think it's had as ...
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Is the sequence of tenses applied properly in this example?

I found this sentence in some book: When Mom asked Gramma why she hasn't been answering the telephone, Gramma said. . . . My question is about the sequence of tenses: shouldn't the past perfect ...
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Do tenses in a time clause never back-shift in reported speech? [closed]

Do tenses in a time clause never back-shift in reported speech? For example, does "I went to Italy when I finished school." become "She said she had gone to Spain when she finished school." and "I ...
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Isn't this against tense agreement?

When I got home yesterday, John called and said he will arrive next week. (Wikipedia) Wikipedia says the sentence above is possible. Does it not break the tense agreement when there’s no ...
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Tense agreement in reported speech

Jack didn't tell me that he __ my chocolate. eats ate had eaten has eaten I have a hard time figuring out which one to choose and why.
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“has”+perfect in reported speech of the future

(1) I will jump out from behind the couch. Then I will tell him: "I have been in the room all along." (2) I will pronounce him dead. Then I will tell him: "You have been pronounced dead." ...
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Questions in indirect speech and verb tense change

Today I had another English lesson and all students were instructed by teacher to ask each other few predefined questions and then to report them. I got the following questions: "What kind of ...
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“Would” in a reported statement

I am teaching some students changing original quotes into reported speech. Well, one of my students asked how the following quote can be changed into reported speech: I would like to swim. From ...