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Indirect Speech: He said that she was a beautiful girl.
Direct Speech causes no problem to me but I always find Indirect Speech obscure and weird. Why can't it be said he said that she is a beautiful girl? If it were he said that she is a beautiful girl then I will be having no problem and that will make complete sense to me. Why can't is be used in place of was? What is the reason for using was?
Approved answer (verified by BarbaraPA)
Jackson6612It is not wrong to say, "She said that she is a beautiful girl." It emphasises that she is indeed a beautiful girl.
It is also not wrong to say, "She said that she was a beautiful girl.' This is because 'was' (a past tense verb) is consistent with the reporting verb 'said' (a past tense verb).
The teacher said, "The world is round" is usually reported as The teacher said that the world is round.
It is not wrong to say The teacher said that the world was round. ('was' is used to be consistent with 'said')
You can say 'He said that she is a beautiful girl.' the meaning is that at the moment the sentence is being said, the situation referred to in that sentence is still true. She is still beautiful.
The past tense in the reported clause would normally imply that the situation in the sentence has changed. For example, 'He met her a long time ago and when I talked to him, he said that she was a beautiful girl at the time.'
Doll:You can understand this from their names.Direct and indirect.Difference lies here.
Step 1: It was reported that John Doe had been taken to hospital after he was found unconcious in his room.
Step 2: It was reported (by Peter) that John Doe had been taken to hospital (by Peter) after he was found unconcious in his room (by Peter).
Step 3: Peter reported that he had taken John Doe to hospital after he found him unconcious in his room.
Step 4: Peter reported, ''he took John Doe to hospital after he found him unconcious in his room.''
Reversing the order of steps, we again get the original sentence. Right?
1: Why isn't there any change in the tense of the clause he found him unconcious in his room when Direct Speech of Step 4 is changed into Indirect Speech of Step 3?
2: Can't we write this statement ''Peter reported that he had taken John Doe to hospital after he found him unconcious in his room'' as Peter reported that he took John Doe to hospital after he found him unconcious in his room? If we cannot do so then what is the reason for this? What harm will it cause? What will be the difference in meaning if took is used in place of had taken?
Doll:Well, to tell the truth past perfect isn't used much in English as much as simple past and past perfect can't be changed into past.I mean past perfect is the end of the road.
As for your question, I really don't think there will be something wrong if you change it into past perfect.The only thing will be that you will draw our attention to the time order while reading the sentence (Hm be careful!He first fainted then was taken to hospital).But in your sentence be careful about which action took place first.I think it should be he took him hospital after he had found him ill/unconscious.
Indirect Narration: On 15 February 1989, the Soviet Union announced that all its troops had left Afghanistan.
Please explain in simple terms that why couldn't has left be used in Indirect Narration above instead of had left?
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