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1) I know that last changes to previous but what does past transform to for this example:

Direct Speech: Some strange things happened during the last/past year.

Reported Speech: On October 25, 1842, he said that some strange things had happened during the previous/(?) year.

I can change "the past year" with "the previous 12 months". Is there a better choice?

UPDATE:

2) I do not want to open a new topic. This is another question I have.

Text from 1881: "The two inventors are said to have increased the stability of their machine."

I made an attempt to convert the sentence above to, I do not know how to call this because it does not look to be pure reported speech, but I am not sure especially about "to have increased". Does its form change or not.

In 1881, the two inventors were said to have increased the stability of their machine.

  • Last and past in this context mean the same thing, so "the previous year" or "the prior year" is fine for both. – StoneyB Dec 26 '16 at 1:04
  • I was told that "past year" means the last 365 days (October 26, 1841 - October 25, 1842) and "last year" is January 1 - December 31, 1841. Is it true? – Robert Werner Dec 26 '16 at 1:57
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    Last year means in the 12 months prior to the most recent January 1, but in the last year means during the most recent twelve months. So right now, December 25 2016 (where I am), it happened sometime last year means sometime between 2015-01-01 and 2015-12-31, but it happened sometime in the last year means sometime between 2015-12-25 and 2016-12-25. – 1006a Dec 26 '16 at 3:18
  • So "last year" changes to "previous year" and "past year" to ...? – Robert Werner Dec 26 '16 at 8:47

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