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What is the difference between the statements?

He asked me where I lived

OR

He asked me where I had lived.


How to know which suits best under what circumstances?

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  • Welcome to the ell, would you please tell us where did you see those statements, and add your opinion? You can add new information by clicking on "edit". – Cardinal Jul 6 '17 at 2:49
  • @Barry We need to know what those circumstances are! Please use this link to add more information to your question. Read our our Details, Please meta post to understand what we're looking for. Welcome to ELL, by the way, and thanks for the question. Be sure to read our tour and Help Center pages, too. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 6 '17 at 2:59
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When we talk about speech that took place in the past, we call it reported speech.

Your examples demonstrate the way we use past tenses in reported speech in English.

When the action or condition described in the reported speech is in the past at the time when we describe the speech, we use the simple past or past continuous in the speech as we report it.

If someone asked me:

"Where do you live?"

...I might later describe (or report) that question by using the simple past or past continuous:

He asked me where I lived.SIMPLE PAST
He asked me where I was living.PAST CONTINUOUS

On the other hand, if someone asked me:

"Where did you live last year?"

...I might later describe that question by using the past perfect or past perfect continuous:

He asked me where I had lived.PAST PERFECT
He asked me where I had been living.PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS

When the action or condition described in the reported speech was already in the past when the reported speaker talked about it, we often use the past perfect or past perfect continuous when we report the speech.

We use the past perfect to talk about an action or condition that happened before another action or condition in the past, or before or during a certain time in the past. We use the past perfect continuous to talk about an action or condition that was in progress in the past, or before or during a certain time in the past.

Because the questioner specified "last year" as the certain time in the past about which he was asking, we use the past perfect (or past perfect continuous) when we describe the question.

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