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  1. #1
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    The boy said that he was/had been six the previous year.

    The boy said, "I was six last year."

    In reported speech, which is correct?

    The boy said that he was six the previous year.
    The boy said that he had been six the previous year.

    I think the first answer is correct.

    Am I right?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: The boy said that he was/had been six the previous year.

    If the reporting of the speech takes place in the same year that the boy said this, then last year works better for me. Many grammar books recommend converting last to previous, but it's not an absolute rule- there's no need to do it when the meaning is clearer by leaving the original.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 27-Jul-2017 at 12:12. Reason: Fixing typo.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The boy said that he was/had been six the previous year.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertJ View Post
    "The boy said that he turned six last year." Don't use 'previous' because we don't know where your starting point is.
    On the other, we don't know when he said it. If he said it this year, then "last year" is fine. If he said it five years ago, using "last" would be misleading.

    Minor to barman: "I turned 18 last year."
    Barman to judge (in a court case a few years later): "He told me he [had] turned 18 the previous year."

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