won't vs wouldn't

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5jj

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5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
Sorry, I do not understand why both of them are correct? Could you explain?
President Barack Obama said he won't/wouldn't have a discussion about increasing the nation's borrowing limit while Republicans hold/held a gun at the head of the American people.

When we report speech, we usually move the tenses back into the past (backshifting). That's why "wouldn't" is possible. If we do that, we need to backshift "hold" to "held".

If the situation reported still holds true at the moment of speaking, backshifting is not essential. That's why "won't" is possible.
 
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