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What is the correct form of switching from Direct speech to Reported speech in this example:

A policeman says "You will have to turn back because the road is closed"

Shall it be:

1) A policeman told us we would have to turn back because the road was closed"

OR

2) A policeman told us we had to turn back because the road was closed

I am just confused with use of 'would have to' and reported speech.

EDIT:

It is not about "to use backshifting or not", "is the statement still true or not?" Let's say we want to say it in reported speech ... how to handle backshifting correctly here?

  • Possible duplicate of When is "backshifting" optional? – FumbleFingers Dec 1 '18 at 18:16
  • Would anyone really care whether the policeman actually said You have to turn back or You will have to turn back? – FumbleFingers Dec 1 '18 at 18:17
  • yeah, the examiners. – user326457 Dec 1 '18 at 18:19
  • 1
    Any "examiners" who think there's a "right answer" here should get a job they're actually qualified for. – FumbleFingers Dec 1 '18 at 18:20
  • There is no correct answer. Direct speech is exactly what he actually said. Reported speech is a re-phrasing, in a different tense, whose accuracy reflects both what was said and the reporter's skill. By those rules clearly, both your examples are fine. If you think back-shifting has a place here, can you explain how? – Robbie Goodwin Dec 11 '18 at 0:42
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Phrase in Direct Speech [ Future ] --> Equivalent in Reported Speech

example:

I will be in Geneva on Monday", he said.

will be :

He said that he would be in Geneva on Monday.

So the answer for your question is :

A policeman told us that we would have to turn back because the road was closed.

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A policeman says "You will have to turn back because the road is closed."

This implies that we don't have to turn back NOW, but we will have to if we continue. Therefore, the correct version is:

A policeman told us we would have to turn back because the road was closed.

  • What if the policeman saying "you will have to turn back..." was a direct order, to be followed immediately? Or how about "A policeman told us we (would have had to turn back)" or "(would have had to have turned back)"? Or .... well, you get the idea... – Zebrafish Jan 1 at 14:45

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