2

Do I have to change the tense of the verbs, more precisely add a "had", for this particular case of conversion from direct to reported speech?

Direct speech:

The witness: "I congratulate my good friend for the good demonstration he made just as I left for my car."

Reported speech:

He congratulated his good friend for the good demonstration he (had) made just as the witness (had) left for his car.

UPDATE

My confusion is like this. It appears to me that in the first case "he did" must change to "he had done" while in the second situation both verbs "did" and "left" have to keep their simple past form.

1) A simplified case:

DIRECT, The witness: "I congratulate my friend for the demonstration he did."

REPORTED: In that letter, the witness congratulated his friend for the demonstration he had done.

2) A more complicated situation:

DIRECT, The witness: "I congratulate my friend for the demonstration he did just as (when) I left for my car."

REPORTED: In that letter, the witness congratulated his friend for the demonstration he did just as (when) the witness left for his car.

or

REPORTED: In that letter, the witness congratulated his friend for the demonstration he had done just as (when) the witness had left for his car.

  • 2
    You can't use reported speech with that sentence unless it begins: "I congratulatED my etc. – Lambie Jan 25 '17 at 22:12
  • Lambie, I have not seen your answer. What can I say?! I believe that Andrew answered my question. I do not want to make more comments. However, I have another question (see: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/116461/… ). I have already received some answers but I still have doubts regarding the cases marked in yellow. Maybe you have a (more) complete answer. – Robert Werner Jan 26 '17 at 1:18
  • Lambie, just a remark, the witness, in a letter addressed to a group of people, congratulated one of them (his friend) for what that friend had done a few days before when the witness only saw the test from a distance and had no time to return, talk with his friend and congratulate him immediately. – Robert Werner Jan 26 '17 at 7:01
  • 1
    Ah, so he is "reading" from a letter he wrote? I get it. Personally, here, I would just add D. And it works. There is no need to change the other tenses: the actions are already over. "I congratulate you for the medal you won" versus "you have won " Reported: He congratulated him for the medal he won versus had won. Won stays won, have won becomes had won. Cheers. – Lambie Jan 26 '17 at 14:54
1

I don't think using "just" changes this in any way. Nor do you have to change it to the perfect tense, as the original direct quote uses the simple past. The example you gave is not quite idiomatic and contains some odd verb tenses, but here is how you can say it as reported speech:

The witness congratulated his friend for the demonstration just before he (the witness) left to go to his car.

It wound not be wrong to change this to the past perfect, but if you do you should be clear about the order of events:

The witness had congratulated his friend for the demonstration just before he left for his car.

This use makes it clear that the congratulations come before the leaving.

"The demonstration he (had) made" is not quite idiomatic. "His demonstration" is better, although if you want you can say he "gave" a demo:

The witness congratulated his friend on the successful demonstration he gave, just before he went to his car.

Side note: As you can see since both actors are male there can be confusion when using the same pronoun "he" for both. Most of the time this is understood in context, but here it's not exactly clear who went to the car. It's better to repeat the noun to avoid confusion.

  • I did not give the full context, my fault. The witness congratulated his friend in a letter, sent a few days after his friend performed that demonstration. The witness saw the test from a distance and had no time to return and talk to his friend. The question is, does that "just" act as an "when". Can the original be transformed in "I congratulate my good friend for the good demonstration he did when I left for my car." I know that in the presence of an "when" the simple past does not usually transform in past perfect when a sentence is converted to indirect speech. – Robert Werner Jan 25 '17 at 23:36
  • As written, the sentence implies all the actions happen at the same time, so it is misleading. The "just" indicates the following action happened right after the previous action -- but either way it's has no effect when changing to reported speech. I think you also may be confused about the effect of using "when" in reported speech, could you give an example? – Andrew Jan 25 '17 at 23:37
  • I have added an update with more explanations. – Robert Werner Jan 26 '17 at 0:05
  • 1
    Robert, the original sentence is wrong. I congratulate my friend is present tense. If he appeared as a witness and made a statement and is talking about that, he would or should have said: I congratulatED my friend. Why are you not responding to the comment? – Lambie Jan 26 '17 at 0:27
  • 1
    @RobertWerner with a sentence this convoluted it's difficult to give a meaningful answer other than the "just as" or the "when" don't change when going from direct quote to reported speech. There's no grammatical reason to change from simple past to past perfect -- it's just personal preference. Maybe you can try a simpler example that focuses on the specific grammar in question? – Andrew Jan 26 '17 at 0:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.