2

Which one is more correct:

Melissa said she was going to the mall.

or

Melissa said she is going to the mall.

3

Both are correct.

Melissa said she WAS going to the mall.

This implies that at some point she had informed you that she was going to the mall. Whether she went there is ambiguous.

Melissa said she IS going to the mall.

This implies that she is on her way to the mall.

Depending on the situation, either could be right.

For example, you're in college and you're sitting in front of the TV and it's late and your roommate asks where Melissa is. Your response would most like be: "Melissa said she was going to the mall.

If you're sitting in front of the TV and Melissa has just stepped out the door after telling you where she was going and your roommate asks where she's heading off to, then your response would likely be: "Melissa said she is going to the mall.

  • I think the "was" further implies that the statement was made sufficiently far in the past that the journey to the mall has likely been completed, and Melissa is no longer in transit. (as you say, we have no proof she ever went, of course). I also think "is" in this sentence could imply a future event, not present tense. "Is everyone coming to the cinema with us [later]?" reply: "Melissa said she is going to the mall". – AdamV May 7 '14 at 11:34

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