Suppose today is 30th November. Today my friend (John) says to me on phone "I will definitely go to the market tomorrow".

Now if I want to report his speech just after a few hours on 30th November, "will" or "would", which one should I use? 

  • Hey mom, tomorrow I will be very busy. I will have to have got ready by 10:30 tomorrow. John told me that he would/will definitely go to the market tomorrow. I can't miss the chance going there with him.
  • 2
    I think 100 years ago, the answer was "would". Today, you can use either one. Maybe 100 years from now, the answer will be "will". Grammar changes. Nov 30, 2017 at 19:40
  • That isn’t really about reported speech. It’s purely about consistency and context… and too clearly a constructed example, too. John told me that he would indicates John spoke about his intention to do something at a time that has already passed. John told me that he will indicates John spoke about his intention to do something at a time that is even now, still in the future. … that he would still works if the time has passed and he hasn’t gone to the market. … that he will works only when the time hasn’t yet arrived. Dec 1, 2017 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


Today is Monday. Yesterday my friend said "I will go to your house tomorrow". He said he would come today. The "action" of the modal verb took place yesterday = would.

  • In this sentence, "would" does not refer to a past action, but to a future one. It simply indicates that the assertion was made in the past.
    – fev
    Dec 16, 2020 at 9:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.