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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 reports like - He denied the charges claiming that he is/was the most powerful person. So here which is correct- is or was ?

Thanks in advance.

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    We could easily use present tense: "He says he's the most powerful person."
    – Robusto
    May 9 '15 at 10:21
  • You might find this helpful.
    – user73373
    May 9 '15 at 13:19
  • @Arrowfar --My intention of asking question is, if we use sentence structure 'He denied the charges claiming +....' in place of 'He said +....' then do we follow the same rules of backshifting which we follow in 'He said +....' ?
    – iamRR
    May 9 '15 at 14:35
  • @iamRR Yes same rules of backshifting apply.
    – user73373
    May 9 '15 at 15:49
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Was is correct after denied (backshift applies).

But by making charges plural, and by adding the word 'claiming' you have made the phrase ambiguous (So, was he denying the charges by claiming that he was etc.?). In any case, 'claiming' is unnecessary after charge.

Follow charge, or allegation simply with 'that he was...'

(substantive phrase in apposition)

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  • My intention of asking question is, if we use sentence structure 'He denied the charges claiming +....' in place of 'He said +....' then do we follow the same rules of backshifting which we follow in 'He said +....' ?
    – iamRR
    May 9 '15 at 11:41

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