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While doing some reported/indirect speech stuff (again!) lots of questions has come to my mind. Here are some of them.

1/ 'I never eat meat', (Bill said/explained) -> turns into -> Bill said/explained (that) he never ate meat. - This is the normal way in which most of us would transform the sentence, isn't it?

BUT!

a) Is there a change of meaning between the direct and indirect form? To my liking, the second one, the transformed one, implies that Bill never ate meat before but nowdays maybe he likes it... My impression is, that after we transform the sentence, it somehow represents THE PAST, not the present or general truth. Thus... point b)

b) Thus, I guess, that it would be wiser to say "Bill said that he never EATS meat" because he probably doesn't eat meat to this day, it's a permanent truth, general one... but I don't know whether I'm right or wrong, that's why I'm asking. Is it possible ? Is it grammatically correct?

I guess it's pretty similar like in the following sentence : "Jack said he loves Mary" and the explanation taken from G. Leech A-Z Grammar says that he probably still loves her, it's like a general truth...

c) Is this sentence "Bill said he never ate meat" translated as : "Bill never eats meat" or "Bill never ate it (in the past!) ?

2/ A very similar problem emerges with 'I'm waiting for Ann' (said Jack). And, again, the normal way of transforming this sentence would be : "Jack said (that) he was waiting for Ann".

a) I'm wondering... Does this sentence imply that Jack was waiting for Ann some day in the past or does it imply that he was waiting for her "in the present" I don't know if you guys know what I mean... The thing is that I'd rather say something like "Jack said he is waiting for Ann" IF, is have to stress it, IF the situation still takes place in the present tense. BUT...

b) But if, for instance, on the next day, Bill, who is a friend of Jack, would report what Jack has told him, he would say "Jack said he was waiting for Ann". Am I right? If yes, why. If no, why?

3/ What's the difference between :

I would like to see it VS I should like to see it.

4/ According to Thomson & Martinet's Practical English Grammar the following sentece would have a different meaning if we change the tense from simple past to past perfect in reported speech :

I'm quoting form T&M :

He said, 'I loved her' must become "He said he had loved her" as otherwise there would be a change of meaning. But - He said, 'Ann arrived on Monday' could be reported "He said Ann arrived (<had> is optional here) on Monday"

This is presented in the point 309 "Past tenses sometimes remain unchanged"

a) I don't understand why there would be a change of meaning in the first sentence. Why do I HAVE to use past perfect? And why in the second one it's optional?

b) When past tenses remain past tenses without changing into past perfect? T&M gives examples but no explanmation :/

c) And, again, could we say "He said he loves her" instead of "He said he loved her" ? Why? Why not?

d) Does "He said he loved her" imply that he, possibly, doesn't love her anymore?

5/ Which ones are correct? And which ones are TOTALLY incorrect?

a) He says he knows her. VS

b) He said he knows her. VS

c) He said he knew her. VS

d) He says he knew her.

I guess that :

a) is ok, such a sentence may be heared when a person reads a letter from somebody outloud.

b) seems fine to me... implies that he knew her, he knows her and will know her...

c) ok? seems to imply that he used to know her but now he doesn't because maybe she's abroad or something...

d) correct? Again, a person reading a letter from somebody could say "Jack says/writes that he knew Jany... (bla bla bla... when they were at school, for instance) ?

6/ 'Who lives next door' ->

a) He asked who lived next door

VS

b) He asked who lives next door

Again, a) sounds to me like, somebody who lived next door doesn't live there anymore... But maybe I'm wrong...I don't know.

When I was younger, I used to have no problems with reported speech, I just adhered to the rules of tense shifts and things seemed to be ok. But nowdays after years of learning and studying English, I'm having lots of doubts...

Help me please :- )

PS. Let me know whether I did some mistakes or not in this post, it's essential to me, not just the reported speech, but other things too.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Let's do this in pieces:

2/ A very similar problem emerges with 'I'm waiting for Ann' (said Jack). And, again, the normal way of transforming this sentence would be : "Jack said (that) he was waiting for Ann".

a) I'm wondering... Does this sentence imply that Jack was waiting for Ann some day in the past or does it imply that he was waiting for her "in the present" I don't know if you guys know what I mean... The thing is that I'd rather say something like "Jack said he is waiting for Ann" IF, is have to stress it, IF the situation still takes place in the present tense. BUT...

b) But if, for instance, on the next day, Bill, who is a friend of Jack, would report what Jack has told him, he would say "Jack said he was waiting for Ann". Am I right? If yes, why. If no, why?

This isn't really that similar, because while someone could love someone else all the days of his life, he's not going to be waiting for someone for very long. Well, I guess, if someone loved someone and didn't marry anyone else because she was waiting for her lover to come and claim her... but in the normal meaning of "waiting for," it's going to be of relatively short duration.

You walk into a restaurant with your friend Bill and see Jack at the entry way. You tell Bill to go ask Jack to join you. Bill comes back. "Will he join us?" "No, Jack said he was waiting for Ann." Obviously, he's still waiting. But Bill could just have easily have said "No, Jack said that he is waiting for Ann." Your context makes it clear. He's still standing there, looking at his watch and peering anxiously down the street. He's still waiting, regardless of how Bill reports Jack's comments.

Okay, now it's the next day. You tell Peter how you and Bill saw Jack at the restaurant, but he didn't join you. "Why not?" "Well, Bill said that Jack said he was waiting for Ann. We were seated in another room, so I don't know if she ever showed up." Obiviously, Jack isn't still waiting. You would definitely use the past tense here.

Clear enough?
3/ What's the difference between :

I would like to see it VS I should like to see it.

In American English, you do not use "I should" to mean "I would like to," which translates roughly into "Please, may I see it." I'm sure you can construct a situation in which you'd say "I should like to see it" - but you'd have to work hard to do it. Perhaps our British friends can tell us whether "I should like" is still used to mean "Please can I..."

4/ According to Thomson & Martinet's Practical English Grammar the following sentece would have a different meaning if we change the tense from simple past to past perfect in reported speech :

I'm quoting form T&M :

He said, 'I loved her' must become "He said he had loved her" as otherwise there would be a change of meaning. But - He said, 'Ann arrived on Monday' could be reported "He said Ann arrived (<had> is optional here) on Monday"

This is presented in the point 309 "Past tenses sometimes remain unchanged"

a) I don't understand why there would be a change of meaning in the first sentence. Why do I HAVE to use past perfect? And why in the second one it's optional? Because of the ambiguity of saying simply "He said that he loved her." That could mean current or past, as we've discussed. In his direct speech, he said his love for her was in the past - so if you want to avoid the ambiguity, you use the past perfect. Clearly in the past. On the other hand, Ann's arrival is definitely in the past, so the "had arrived" doesn't add any clarity or other information that the simply past doesn't provide all on its own.

b) When past tenses remain past tenses without changing into past perfect? T&M gives examples but no explanmation :/ See above - is my explanation clear enough?

c) And, again, could we say "He said he loves her" instead of "He said he loved her" ? Why? Why not? If you report his speech as "he loves her" you are putting his love for her in the present, and he told you it was in the past. It's not exactly equivalent, but I said to you "I just got home late," my arrival home is in the past. You wouldn't say "Barb says she's getting home late." That puts it back in the present. You'd say "Barb says that she got home late."

d) Does "He said he loved her" imply that he, possibly, doesn't love her anymore? Yes, as we've stated many times now, it's ambiguous. It could imply that he doesn't love her anymore or it could mean that he still does. You need context. Using M&T's guide, to avoid the ambiguity, you should say "he said that he HAD loved her" for past love and "he said that he loves her" for current love.

By the way - I'm female.
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And finally...

5) I agree with all your comments.

6/ 'Who lives next door' ->

a) He asked who lived next door VS b) He asked who lives next door

I agree with you - If he asked in the past and asked about who LIVED, it's probably (but not definitely) asking about who used to live there, even though they may not live there anymore. In b, the people next door are still living there.

Just for one more wrinkle
He is asking who lived next door: In this case, with the asking in the present tense (perhaps you are translating), the living next door definitely took place in the past. Likewise, he is asking who lives next door means the people NOW living there.

Okay - are we done now??

Emotion: big smile
Thanks! Lots of thanks!

I will have more questions... Can I post them here? I don't want the topic to get lost... before I collect new questions...
Yes, you can, but please post them one at a time, and wait for an answer. It was a LOT of content in one post and difficult to manage.
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Yes, shorter messages would help the focus.