Notes On Change in Tenses - Indirect Speech - CBSE Class 9 English Grammar

Changing the Tense (backshift)

If the introductory verb is in the simple past (e.g. He said), the tense has to be set back by one degree . The term for this in English is backshift.
Example:
1.He said, “I check my mail every day.”
   He said that he checked his mail every day.
2. He said, “I saw a new film.”
   He said that he had seen a new film.
3. He said, “She was studying when you were plaing.”
   He said that she had been studying where I was playing.

Direct speech

Indirect speech

simple present

simple past

present progressive

past progressive

simple past

past perfect simple

present perfect simple

past perfect simple

past progressive

past perfect progressive

present perfect progressive

past perfect progressive

future I (going to)

was / were going to

future I (will)

conditional I (would)

conditional I (would)


The verbs could, should, would, might, must, needn’t, ought to, used to normally do not change.
Example:
He said, “I could have asked her for an autograph.”
He said that he could have asked her for an autograph.

No Change of Tenses

If the introductory verb is in the simple present, however (e.g. He says), then the tense remains unchanged, because the introductory clause already indicates that the statement is being immediately repeated (and not at a later point in time).
Example:
He says, “I saw a new film.”
He says that he saw a new film.

In some cases, however, we have to change the verb form.
Example:
She says, “I read every day.”
She says that she reads every day.

He says, “She was reading when you are playing.”
He says that she was reading when I was playing.


Summary

Changing the Tense (backshift)

If the introductory verb is in the simple past (e.g. He said), the tense has to be set back by one degree . The term for this in English is backshift.
Example:
1.He said, “I check my mail every day.”
   He said that he checked his mail every day.
2. He said, “I saw a new film.”
   He said that he had seen a new film.
3. He said, “She was studying when you were plaing.”
   He said that she had been studying where I was playing.

Direct speech

Indirect speech

simple present

simple past

present progressive

past progressive

simple past

past perfect simple

present perfect simple

past perfect simple

past progressive

past perfect progressive

present perfect progressive

past perfect progressive

future I (going to)

was / were going to

future I (will)

conditional I (would)

conditional I (would)


The verbs could, should, would, might, must, needn’t, ought to, used to normally do not change.
Example:
He said, “I could have asked her for an autograph.”
He said that he could have asked her for an autograph.

No Change of Tenses

If the introductory verb is in the simple present, however (e.g. He says), then the tense remains unchanged, because the introductory clause already indicates that the statement is being immediately repeated (and not at a later point in time).
Example:
He says, “I saw a new film.”
He says that he saw a new film.

In some cases, however, we have to change the verb form.
Example:
She says, “I read every day.”
She says that she reads every day.

He says, “She was reading when you are playing.”
He says that she was reading when I was playing.


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