Reported speech, Indirect speech - Backshift and conversions

Reported speech - Explanation
Reported commands
Reported statements - Backshift and conversions
Reported questions
Exercises - Reported speech

Statements

1) If the introductory sentence starts in the present (Susan says), there is no backshift of tenses in Reported speech.

Example:
Direct speech: Susan: "I work in an office."
Reported speech: Susan says (that) she works in an office.


2) If the introductory sentence starts in the past (Susan said), there is often backshift of tenses in Reported speech. (see: Note)

Example:
Susan: "I work in an office."
Susan said (that) she worked in an office.

Backshift of tenses
from to
Simple Present Simple Past
Simple Past Past Perfect
Present Perfect
Past Perfect
will would
Progressive forms
am/are/is was/were
was/were had been
has been
had been

Backshift of tenses
from to
Peter: "I work in the garden." Peter said (that) he worked in the garden.
Peter: "I worked in the garden." Peter said (that) he had worked in the garden.
Peter: "I have worked in the garden."
Peter: "I had worked in the garden."
Peter: "I will work in the garden." Peter said (that) he would work in the garden.
Peter: "I can work in the garden." Peter said (that) he could work in the garden.
Peter: "I may work in the garden." Peter said (that) he might work in the garden.
Peter: "I would work in the garden."
(could, might, should, ought to)
Peter said (that) he would work in the garden.
(could, might, should, ought to)
Progressive forms
Peter: "I'm working in the garden." Peter said (that) he was working in the garden.
Peter: "I was working in the garden." Peter said (that) he had been working in the garden.
Peter: "I have been working in the garden."
Peter: "I had been working in the garden."

If the sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it as well.

Peter: "I worked in the garden yesterday."
Peter said that he had worked in the garden the day before.

Shifting/Conversion of expressions of time

this (evening) that (evening)
today/this day that day
these (days) those (days)
now then
(a week) ago (a week) before
last weekend the weekend before / the previous weekend
here there
next (week) the following (week)
tomorrow the next/following day

Note:

In some cases the backshift of tenses is not necessary, e.g. when statements are still true.

John: "My brother is at Leipzig university."
John said (that) his brother was at Leipzig university. or
John said (that) his brother is at Leipzig university.

or

Mandy: "The sun rises in the east."
Mandy said (that) the sun rose in the east. or
Mandy said (that) the sun rises in the east.

Note:

The word >that< can be left out.

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