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Suppose that my boss had a talk with me yesterday morning. He told me “You will have a meeting next week.” After a while, I called my wife and told her what the boss said. At the time, can I say to my wife that my boss told me I would have a meeting next week? I was wondering if the “would” can be used here. Do you think there are any other tenses to express the same meaning. For example, I told my wife I have a meeting next week, or I told my wife I will have a meeting next week. As for the three sentences above, which one is correct and which ones are incorrect? Please explain the reasons. Thank you very much.

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If you’re reporting speech, then, as you say, will becomes would.

‘I told my wife I have a meeting next week’ is possible, but so is ‘I told my wife I had a meeting next week’. It depends on the timeframe and how you want to emphasise it.

‘I told my wife I will have a meeting next week’ would not be the usual way of putting it. Because will normally becomes would in reported speech, it would probably occur as ‘I told my wife I will have a meeting next week’.

These sentences are useful for illustrating certain points of grammar, but they are unlikely to occur quite in this way in actual conversations.

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    So sorry for my adding the comments late. I really appreciate your answer. It is quite clear. Thank you so much. – user57916 Dec 9 '13 at 15:30
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Your question is rather confusing, but I will assume you are asking how you should report your boss's statement to your wife on the same day as the boss told you. Here are your three options:

  1. "My boss told me I would have a meeting next week."

  2. "My boss told me I have a meeting next week."

  3. "My boss told me I will have a meeting next week."

In my opinion by far the most natural answer in the context I outline above is Option 2:

"My boss told me I have a meeting next week."

Option 3 is possible, but Option 1 for me sounds more like a conditional missing an if-clause.

A second scenario is that you tell your wife at a much later date. Here there are only two possibilities:

  1. "My boss told me I would have a meeting the next week."

  2. "My boss told me I had a meeting the next week."

Note how in this context you need to add the definite article before next week (or the following week).

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  • Thank you,Shoe. It is you who always answer my questions. Your answer is really worth of much consideration. – user57916 Dec 9 '13 at 15:34

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