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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Reported speech

    What is the difference between these sentences:

    Mike told his brother that he needed to talk to him.

    Mike said that he enjoys reading books.


    I mean why can you say "Mike said that he ENJOYS reading books", but you can't say "Mike told his brother that he NEEDS to talk to him"? This is how it is in my grammar book. It says that you can use present tense when the situation hasn't changed, but I don't get it, if Mike says that he needs to talk to his brother then that situation hasn't changed either, has it?

  2. Unwritten's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Reported speech

    .
    .

    Look at this sentence: 1. "Mike said that he enjoys reading books."

    Reading books is enjoyable for Mike, he likes to read books, it is a fact, something that won`t change.

    But the sentence: 2. " Mike told his brother that he needed to talk to him."

    Talking to his brother is a temporary situation, the moment he talks to his brother, the validity of the sentence disappears! And Mike no longer needs to talk to his brother, which means that the situation has changed.

    However, in the first sentence, if Mike read a book , he will keep enjoying reading books.( unchangable situation).

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    #3

    Re: Reported speech

    Hello guest,
    You're right. Of course you can say either and both are used in normal conversation; I told my sister I need /needed to talk to her. Mike said he enjoys /enjoyed reading books. Both are correct although the tendency is to use 'enjoys' i.e. the present tense when the situation is true or a fact.
    Last edited by bds51; 03-May-2010 at 07:12.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Reported speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    What is the difference between these sentences:

    Mike told his brother that he needed to talk to him.

    Mike said that he enjoys reading books.


    I mean why can you say "Mike said that he ENJOYS reading books", but you can't say "Mike told his brother that he NEEDS to talk to him"? This is how it is in my grammar book. It says that you can use present tense when the situation hasn't changed, but I don't get it, if Mike says that he needs to talk to his brother then that situation hasn't changed either, has it?
    You might have misinterpreted what your grammar book is saying.
    Perhaps it says that you can use the present tense in a situation that does not change, not that has not changed.
    Mike will always enjoy books, but he won't always need to talk to his brother.
    1. Mike said that he wants to get up early from now on.
    2. Mike said that he wanted to get up early tomorrow.

    Usage is more variable than this, but that might explain your current problem.

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