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I have a question about the tense in reported speech. Please look at the following sentences:

direct speech: He said, "John is honest."

inrect speech: He said that John was honest.

The last sentence uses "was", does that mean John is not honest now? If not, can we use "is" instead of "was" in the last sentence?

Please help me with my question, and I'd appreciate it.
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Viceidol

direct speech: He said, "John is honest."

inrect speech: He said that John was honest.

I think both sentenses are perfectly OK. The second one means that, John was honest at the time of speaking. So it does not imply whether John is honest now or not, we just can't tell from this sentense alone.
Thank you for your explanation! I umderstand now.
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Infinik
Viceidol

direct speech: He said, "John is honest."

inrect speech: He said that John was honest.

I think both sentences are perfectly OK. The second one means that, John was honest at the time of speaking. So it does not imply whether John is honest now or not, we just can't tell from this sentence alone.

I don't agree with this. Indirect speech follows a certain pattern. Present simple passes to past simple. Grammatically speaking, "he said that John is honest" would be incorrect.

cheers[H]
said he is
is correct, but not the strictest.

It's used when you want to make the said text more vivid.

From the BBC:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Abbc.co.uk+%22said+he+is%22+&btnG=Google+Search
direct speech: He said, "John is honest."

inrect (indirect) speech: He said that John was honest.

He said that John was honest (ok)

He said that John is honest is also correct if he thinks that John is an honest person.
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Marius Hancusaid he is
is correct, but not the strictest.

It's used when you want to make the said text more vivid.

Sounds rather informal to me, or, news-wise style...
Hi,

How long ago the original statement was made is very relevant. Was it said 30 years ago, or 30 seconds ago? eg

A: John is honest.

B, to his friend C: I didn't hear that. What did A say?

C: He said that John is honest.

This seems fine to me.

Best wishes, Clive
CliveHi,

How long ago the original statement was made is very relevant. Was it said 30 years ago, or 30 seconds ago? eg

A: John is honest.

B, to his friend C: I didn't hear that. What did A say?

C: He said that John is honest.

This seems fine to me.

Best wishes, Clive

Hi Clive, I think the essence here is: Are we talking a bout an exam or "everyday talk"? If it's an exam, I woudl strongly advise against using is here, as in my experience it would surely be marked as a mistake.

cheers[H]
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