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  1. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #1

    Reported speech: can / could

    Hi,

    The sentence "I can dance very well" I'd report it as: "She said she can dance very well."
    However I've read in a book that it should be could rather than can.
    Could someone, please, tell me if I'm mistaken.

    Thank you.
    Not a teacher.

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    #2

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    From what I have gathered your'e trying to work out whether "She said she can dance very well" is grammatically correct well in terms of colloquial i.e. in everday speech most definitely. Could and can have identical connotations both suggest one has the ability to do so but it is unclear whether they have shown that or not, the latter is contingent upon context.

    I am not a teacher but I have been speaking the English language for long enough to understand its very fundamentals. Never the less if you feel you have not been adequately served yet than you may wait for another response but to me it is crystal clear at least from what I comprehended from your post. So in essence it could be could, it could be can. Haha get it... both will do since this isn't a flash in the pan.. Disregard the last sentence went overboard with rhyming.

  2. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    Thanks for your reply Sheikh. Yes, I see it's pretty common in everyday language. My concern is about the grammar. Both sentences make it very clear that she has the ability to dance, however in the second one, perhaps I would understand that she could dance, but not anymore. That for some reason now she can't. That's what puzzling me.
    Not a teacher.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    Quote Originally Posted by BrunaBC View Post
    Hi,

    The sentence "I can dance very well" I'd report it as: "She said she can dance very well."
    However I've read in a book that it should be could rather than can.
    Could someone, please, tell me if I'm mistaken.

    Thank you.
    Back shifting to the past tense 'could' is always correct. Sometimes not doing so sounds odd.

  4. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    Thanks Raymott.

    Sorry if I'm insisting, but if I tell you that "she said that she could dance" wouldn't you, maybe, think that she no longer dances?
    Not a teacher.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    Quote Originally Posted by BrunaBC View Post
    Thanks Raymott.

    Sorry if I'm insisting, but if I tell you that "she said that she could dance" wouldn't you, maybe, think that she no longer dances?
    It would depend on the context. Usually not.
    "She said that she could dance when she was a child." Yes, it's possible that she no longer dances.
    "When I employed her, she said that she could dance! Why is she not performing?" There is no need to use 'can'.
    In fact, it's difficult to think of a situation where 'can' is more natural.

  6. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    hummm thank you. One more lesson for the day!
    Not a teacher.

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Reported speech: can / could

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh_14 View Post
    From what I have gathered, your'e you're trying to work out whether "She said she can dance very well" is grammatically correct. Well, in terms of colloquial (i.e. in everyday) speech, most definitely. "Could" and "can" have identical connotations. Both suggest one has the ability to do so but it is unclear whether they have shown that or not. The latter is contingent upon context.

    I am not a teacher but I have been speaking the English language for long enough to understand its very fundamentals. Never the less Nevertheless, if you feel you have not yet been adequately served yet than then you may wait for another response but to me it is crystal clear, at least from what I comprehended from your post. So, in essence, it could be "could", it could be "can". Haha. Get it? Both will do since this isn't a flash in the pan. Disregard the last sentence - I went overboard with rhyming.
    Please see the corrections I have made to the above post in red. Whilst Sheikh_14's grasp on English vocabulary is very good, some areas of written English still require work.
    Sheikh_14, I realise that in this particular response, you did say in paragraph 2 that you are not a teacher. However, to avoid learners getting confused, please state that at the beginning of your posts where you are answering someone else's question rather than posing one of your own. Thanks.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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