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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jan 2016
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Unhappy Reported Speech Help

    Hi ESL

    I have a question that confuses me for reported speech

    If somebody (David)
    says

    "Cecil is an incompetent employee."

    Would it be:
    David said Cecil was an incompetent employee.

    or

    David said Cecil is an incompetent employee.

    It's a little confusing. What if the speech is being reported from a situation that happened just moments ago? In that situation Cecil (in David's opinion) would still be an incompetent employee, so "was" seems unsuitable.

    I hope somebody can help!

  1. Piscean's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Jul 2015
    • Posts: 10,018
    #2

    Re: Reported Speech Help

    Backshifting (e.g.' changing is to was​) is almost always possible in reported speech. If the situation reported is still valid at the time of reporting, then it is acceptable not to backshift. In examples such as yours, we have free choice in BrE.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #3

    Re: Reported Speech Help

    The same is true in AmE.

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