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If you want to come, call me before 5:00.

Which one is correct?

He said if I want to come to call him before 5:00.

or

He said if I want to come I will call him before 5:00.

  • Your question would probably be better on ELL, our site for language learning. I'm voting to send it over there. It's a good question though, so +1. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 10 '16 at 17:50
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The following are all grammatical in this context, and mean the same thing (commas optional):

  • He said (that) if I want to come, to call him before 5:00.
  • He said (that) if I wanted to come, to call him before 5:00.
  • He said (that), if I want to come, I should/can call him before 5:00.
  • He said (that), if I wanted to come, I should/could call him before 5:00.
  • He said to call him before 5:00, if I want to come.
  • He said to call him before 5:00, if I wanted to come.
  • He said I should/can call him before 5:00, if I want to come.
  • He said I should/could call him before 5:00, if I wanted to come.

The following are ungrammatical:

  • *He said if I want to come I will call him before 5:00.
  • *He said if I wanted to come I will call him before 5:00.

The modal auxiliary verb will can't be used that way.

1

You need to put the first clause in the past, and to paraphrase the second clause by using should.

He said that if I wanted to come, I should call him before 5:00.

-2

You are asking about reported indirect speech rather than direct speech. This means that you are paraphrasing what the original speaker said rather than quoting them exactly. When reporting speech indirectly, the correct way normally uses "that" after "said" and puts the speech being reported into a past-tense.

Your question proposes the following statement:

If you want to come, call me before 5:00.

You listed two options for converting it to reported speech:

  1. He said if I want to come to call him before 5:00.
  2. He said if I want to come I will call him before 5:00.

Neither of these options is correct for the following reasons:

  • They don't employ proper punctuation. Both require commas to separate subordinate clauses.
  • Reported speech that is indirect speech, requires using the a past tense to voice what was said. As this is clearly not a quote, it's indirect speech. Therefore, the reported speech should used the past tense, "wanted," rather than the present tense, "want." Neither sentence does this.
  • They don't use the phrase "said that." While not strictly required, one normally says "that" after "said" ("said that") with reported speech that is indirect speech, especially in conversation. When talking, saying "said that" informs the listener that you're paraphrasing rather than exactly quoting what was said. Again, it's not absolutely required, but it certainly adds to neither of these options being ideal.

HOWEVER, if you must choose, then the better of these two options is:

  1. He said if I want to come to call him before 5:00.

While this is both grammatically and semantically wrong for the reasons stated, it is how many native English speakers would say it in conversation. The second sentence you would not normally hear. It uses "will" in a way that is not only wrong but seems foreign.

Here are a couple of handy guides you can use for understanding how to write reported speech:

http://www.edufind.com/english-grammar/direct-and-indirect-speech/

http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/reported-speech.html

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