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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 report this sentence: I had been a teacher before I went to the USA.

  • Can you explain what you mean by "report a sentence"? – phenry Jul 16 '14 at 20:10
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    I think he means indirect quotation. And I think his teacher told him you had to change tenses when you do that. But no reason why. – John Lawler Jul 16 '14 at 20:23
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    You can only change a quote structure (direct speech with quote verb) into a report structure (indirect speech, with report verb): He said "You must go". ==> He said [that] I must go. 'Say' is both a quote and a report verb. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 16 '14 at 21:37
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'I am a teacher', when reported becomes 'He said he was a teacher'.

'I was a teacher' becomes 'He said he had been a teacher'.

'I have been a teacher' equally becomes 'He said he had been a teacher'.

'I had been a teacher before I joined the army' when reported becomes 'he said he had been a teacher before he had joined the army'.

  • Tnx for your all-rounded answer. What if we want to report "may" and "might"? Do the change to may/migh have+pp. What if we want to report may/might have+pp. Does it remain the same like had+pp? – amirhossein Jul 18 '14 at 8:43
  • 'I may be dyslexic' is reported as 'he said he might be dyslexic'. 'I may have been responsible for what happened' is reported as 'He said he might have been responsible for what happened'. If you want to supply a list of statements I am happy to provide you with the reported form. – WS2 Jul 18 '14 at 8:50

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