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    #1

    Past or past perfect in indirect speech

    Hi

    When I change a sentence from the direct to the indirect speech, should I keep the past tense or change it to the past perfect?

    E.g. He said, "I must tell you about a dream I had."

    He said that he must tell me about a dream he had OR he had had. ?

    She said, "When I was young...."
    She said when she was or she had been young?

  1. Mr_Ben's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Past or past perfect in indirect speech

    Hi malekm.

    Welcome to the forum and very nice first post. Good question, too!

    Quote Originally Posted by malekm View Post
    Hi

    When I change a sentence from the direct to the indirect speech, should I keep the past tense or change it to the past perfect? It's not always strictly necessary to change past tense to the past perfect unless the original meaning of the utterance changes or is unclear.

    E.g. He said, "I must tell you about a dream I had."

    He said that he must had to tell me about a dream he had OR he had had. ? I'd say he'd had to to make it clear he didn't want to tell me about a dream he has (like "he dreams of being an astronaut")

    She said, "When I was young...."
    She said when she was or she had been young?
    In this situation, "When I is young" is an impossible sentence to infer from "She said when she was young" so it's not necessary to use the past perfect.
    Basically, if you take your reported speech and change it back into direct speech, is it possible that the reader will be confused? In that case you have to use the past perfect.

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