before few weeks my friend said: "my job is boring"

I need to report his speech to third person, What should I say? and why?

  • He said that his job is boring.
  • He said that his job was boring.
  • 1
    This is actually one of the most common questions we get - if you search ELL for "tense in reported speech", you'll find a number of questions and answers about it. – stangdon Mar 14 '17 at 12:43

If the situation didn't change you can either do backshifting or leave the verb as it is:

He said (that) his job is boring.He said his job was boring.

You can also leave out "that".

  • 1
    If the situation hasn't changed, backshifting is optional. You don't have to do it, but you can. – snailcar Mar 15 '17 at 6:42
  • Use of "is" potentially changes the meaning. "He said" refers to a past statement. You are reporting what was said, not commenting on the same situation, so whether the situation has changed is irrelevant. Using "is" in your own sentence is ambiguous. It isn't clear whether you are inserting your own characterization of what he said (which could mean he still thinks it's boring or implied at the time that he expected it to continue to be boring), or are essentially quoting it (which would reflect only the time in which he said it). "Was" unambiguously reflects what he said at the time. – fixer1234 Mar 26 '17 at 19:08

The second sentence. If the verb in the main clause ("He said that...") is in the past tense, the verb in the object subordinate clause should also be used in the corresponding the past tense. This is the sequence of tenses, the choice of the verb tense in the subordinate clause depends on the tense of the verb in the main clause. However, there are also some exceptions to the rule, e.g.:

He didn't answer the question because he doesn't speak English.

If the subordinate clause is attributive, comparative or the clause of cause (like in the above-given example), the verb in the main clause can be used in the present and future tenses.

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