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Indirect speech and reporting

§ 49.

We can’t back-shift in reporting what has already been back-shifted for another reason. Therefore there is no tense change made in reported forms of hypothetical clauses:

It would be helpful.’ ~ I said it would be helpful.

I would rather have left him.’ ~ She said she would rather have left him.

In the same way, back-shifted verbs after wish / if only remain unchanged:

I wish he were reliable.’ ~ Cordelia wished that he were reliable.

No changes are made after it’s time:

It’s time you were getting home.’ ~ He said it was time she was getting home.

In indirect speech had better with the first or third person remains unchanged; had better with the second person can remain unchanged or be reported by advise + object + infinitive:

I’d better hurry.’ ~ He said (that) he’d better hurry.

You’d better hurry.’ ~ He said (that) I’d better hurry or He advised me to hurry.

§ 50.

Conditional sentences in indirect speech.

Type 1, basic form. The tenses here change in the usual way:

He said, ’If I catch the plane I’ll be home by five’ ~ He said that if he caught the plane he would be home by five.

Type 2, basic form. In reported hypothetical situations, tense changes are not made if the event has reference to a possible future:

If you came back tomorrow, I’d be able to help you.’ ~ She said that if I came back the next day, she’d be able to help me.

If the event is clearly hypothetical and impossible, time changes are made:

If I had a spanner, I could fix this.’ ~ He said that if he had had a spanner he could have fixed it.

Type 3, basic form. No tense changes:

If she had loved Tom,’ he said, ‘she wouldn’t have left him’ ~ He said that if she had loved Tom she wouldn’t have left him.

Many verbs describe a function, rather than report words:

Look, if I were you, I’d leave early.’ ~ She advised me to leave early.

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