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What is the difference between 田中さんは明日アメリカに行くと言いました and 田中さんは明日アメリカに行くと言っていました?

If I want to rely what Tanaka-san has said to another person, can both be used or only the latter?
In English, there is only one way of saying - Tanaka-san said that he will go America tomorrow.

For learning: Japanese
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    There is a difference in nuance. I might choose the latter, but either way, your two examples would not cause misunderstanding. Both are possible. Most of us are more likely to say 言っていました is better, then so be it. You can accept their opinion. Personally 言いました sounds more direct, 言ってました is indirect but it's only subtle difference.

    I choose (b)
    (a) 田中さんを知りませんか?  田中さんはトイレに行くと言いました。
    (b) 田中さんを知りませんか?  田中さんはトイレに行くと言っていました。

    (a), (b), Both sound okay as a reply.
    (a) 誰がそれを言いましたか? 田中さんが言いました。
    (b) 誰がそれを言いましたか? 田中さんが言っていました。

    In this context, again, I basically choose 言っていました

    From my understanding, when we use 「言っていました」, it gives the nuance of stressing the "person" who said it:

    => we are stressing the person "田中さん" who said it.

    Whereas if we use 「言いました」 it not only sounds more direct but gives the impression of stressing the "content" of what was said:

    => we are stressing the content:「明日アメリカに行く。」


    basically you should say "言っていました". That is the easiest solution.

    When you say "田中さんは明日アメリカに行くと言いました " to me, I would be like "okay, and then?". It sounds not like a message to me but sounds like more you are talking to yourself.

    When you say "言っていました" to me, probably I would say "oh yeah? okay. Thanks for the information". It sounds like a message to me compare to the former.

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