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In indirect speech if the reporting verb is in past tense, then the verb in subordinate clause will also be in past tense.

Ex- He said that he was going to see movie.

What tense will be used in subordinate clause if the reporting verb is in past continuous tense ?

Ex -1) He was saying that he was/is going to cinema.

marked as duplicate by tchrist, Tragicomic, Mari-Lou A, RegDwigнt Sep 28 '15 at 11:54

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First of all

He said that he was going to see movie.

A movie is countable so this should be

He said that he was going to see a movie.

Also, why switch to cinema in the second example when it's not relevant to your question?

He was saying that he is going to see a movie

Makes sense to me only when I think of it like this:

He was saying that, "he is going to see a movie"

That is, as if speaking what "he" would say.

He was saying that he was going to see a movie.

Makes sense because I can think of this all remaining from the speakers perspective and not switching to the movie goers perspective.

  • The original statement was, "I'm going yo see a movie." Now to report these words one can use He said +.... Or He was saying +... My question is if the sentence starts with, He was saying +.. then which one is to be used ? Is or was ? – iamRR Aug 7 '15 at 9:18
  • My point is you can use either one. But the meaning changes when you do. I personally like was just because it doesn't require me to think as hard to figure out what was meant. – candied_orange Aug 7 '15 at 9:36
  • How would the meaning change if someone used 'is' ? – iamRR Aug 7 '15 at 9:42
  • It changes the perspective. The point of what is said is still the same but how it's being conveyed is different. Here's an example that changes both the perspective and the meaning: "He said he loves me" vs "He said he, 'loves me'" – candied_orange Aug 7 '15 at 9:47
  • @PeterShor -- Could I get an advice from your side ? – iamRR Aug 7 '15 at 18:30

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