New answers tagged indirect-speech
Both alternatives are perfectly valid. It simply depends on the emphasis the (later, reporting) speaker wants to convey. That's to say if the reporter is particularly interested in the fact that the original speaker thought that at the time (or is misguidedly influenced by pedantic grammarians' "rules" which conflict with natural usage), he'll use couldn't ...
'Can' changes to 'could', when you convert somthing to indirect speech. Since can't is 'can not', you'd say couldn't in indirect speech. He told me it couldn't have been her I had seen in the street the previous day because she was abroad. Similarly, won't changes to wouldn't.
Indirectly, 'Richard said that it couldn't have been her that you saw yesterday', or in direct speech: 'Richard exclaimed "It can't have been her you saw yesterday".'
The sentence She asked the teacher what should she do. Is not written or spoken by a native speaker I assume. I would guess what is meant is: She asked the teacher what she should do. And that sentence does indeed mean: She asked the teacher: "What should I do?"
Top 50 recent answers are included