This is a question related to reported speech from my English exercise book:

Choose the best answer A, B, C or D to complete the following sentences:
The boy told us that he _____ for an examination next Monday.
A. sits
B. sat
C. is sitting
D. has sat

Because the examination will happen in the future time (next Monday), I can easily ignore option B (sat) and D (has sat). Also, I think option A (sits) may be fine because it talks about an event which is fixed, as in this example:

She has a yoga class tomorrow morning.
Source: http://www.ef.com/english-resources/english-grammar/simple-present-future-events/

How about option C (is sitting)? From my English grammar book, I know the present continuous tense can be used to talk about future plans or arrangements, but I just feel weird to use "is sitting" in this case. Does it sound natural to you?

  • 2
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 12:53
  • 1
    Note: I would say "suitable for use" not "suitable to use". "Suitable" uses the preposition "for" rather than "to" in this context (and not the infinitive). Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


The question is about the best choice.

The best choice is (c) i.e. is sitting. You can use the present continuous for something you have planned or decided to do in the future. As for the use of the verb sit (for) an exam, it's ususlly used in BrE in formal English in the sense of take an exam.

The choice (a) i.e. sits is second best. You can use the present simple for something that's part of a future plan or timetable.

As for (b) i.e. sat, it's ungrammatical; you don't use the past simple for something that will hapen in the future.

Regarding (d), it's also ungrammatical. You use the present perfect for something that has happened recently.


As you have pointed out, the exam is in the future, so any of

sits an exam next Monday
is sitting an exam next Monday
will sit an exam next Monday
will be sitting an exam next Monday

are correct and natural.

The "for" is not necessary in your sentence.

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