Site Feedback

Resolved questions
How to put this phrase in the past tense?

Gordon says that he has a new car.

I'm doubting how to put that phrase in the past tense. Because do I just change the first verb or do I change both? because he does keep the car, so it would seem strange to me, to change it. Can anyone help?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

Share:

0 comments

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

     

    Answers

    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    It's a good question. It depends on what the speaker is trying to convey. For example, if I saw my friend John at work, and he bought a new car, then when I get home, I would say to my wife (if I had a wife) "John said he HAS a new car" because the "HAVING" is still relevant, true information.
    If, however, I saw as I was leaving work, that John actually bought scooter. I would say to my gorgeous wife. ``John said he had a new car. What a liar``.

    The short answer: If you don`t know more about the context EITHER WAY IS FINE!

     

    The rules of reported speech say to change both verbs: "Gordon said that he had a new car." You'd use this to mean 'the information which was true at the time of the report'. Whether or not it changed later is a moot point.

    If you want to indicate that Gordon's comment is still definitely true, then you can write "Gordon said that he has a new car." This is bending the rules somewhat, and this probably isn't a good example to illustrate the point.

    Submit your answer


    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.