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  1. #1
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Has 'must be' be changed to 'had to be' in reported speech?

    The general informed his troops, "We must be ready as the enemy is preparing to attack us tonight."

    I have reported the above speech as follows. Is it necessary to change 'must' to 'had'. I think it is not necessary. Am I right?

    The general informed his troops that they had to be ready as the enemy was preparing to attack them that night.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    moonlike is offline Member
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    Re: Has 'must be' be changed to 'had to be' in reported speech?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    The general informed his troops, "We must be ready as the enemy is preparing to attack us tonight."

    I have reported the above speech as follows. Is it necessary to change 'must' to 'had'. I think it is not necessary. Am I right?

    The general informed his troops that they had to be ready as the enemy was preparing to attack them that night.

    Thanks.
    Both can be correct. It depends. If the reported speech happened exactly the same day that it was mentioned you don't need to change the tense "must". If it's reported one day later or more, yes you change the tense "had to".
    Good luck

  3. #3
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Has 'must be' be changed to 'had to be' in reported speech?

    You are right. If you are writing in an examination, I'd recommend that you use 'had to', especially if the examination is to be marked by non-native speakers (some of whom insist on rules they have read being followed), but many native speakers would use 'must'.

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