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My friend says to me : What did you tell him yesterday?

Me: I told him that I could do it when I was young and that I couldn't do it anymore because I'm old now.

Hi since I'm talking about something that I said in the past I changed Can to Could but I'm not sure If I should change Couldn't to can ( can't do it anymore) , should I keep couldn't and should it be I was old ? because it's something I said in the past so I'm not sure.

I read the other threads they're different from my question.

  • Either one is fine. If something is still true when you use reported speech you can retain the present tense. – green_ideas Oct 25 '17 at 0:19
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Since the whole exchange being referenced is in the past, "couldn't" is the way to go. In terms of being old, you presumably are currently old, so "because I'm old now" is fine.

  • Although you said it yesterday, the second couldn't does not refer to the past, but to the present, both to yesterday and from that moment on. Since you said yesterday that you can no longer do it, can works as well as couldn't. – Yosef Baskin Jul 26 '17 at 17:24
  • @Yosef Baskin Well it refers to what I said event if it applies to the present too, I prefer to stick with could past / can future/present. , Like '' I said I would do it'', ( I haven't done it yet but I'm just saying what I said, the original sentence is ''I will do it'' even if when I said it I was talking about the future(the present we are in now .) – Difference Jul 26 '17 at 17:30
  • See this ELL Q&A which supports the answer. – MikeJRamsey56 Jul 26 '17 at 22:09

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