Reporting the direct speech we follow the rule of "one tense back".

Since that we are able to use Past Perfect instead of Past Simple as well as leave it the same. The Past Perfect tense stays the Past Perfect.

I saw the we can leave the Past Continuous the same. I found the example where it becomes Past Perfect Continuous, though.


"I was getting bored lying on the beach", Mrs.Jones said.

So, which one would be better:

  1. Mrs.Jones said (that) she was getting bored lying on the beach.
  2. Mrs.Jones said (that) she had been getting bored lying on the beach.
  • Most native speakers of AmE would not backshift to "had been getting bored".
    – TimR
    Oct 1, 2017 at 14:44
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo, according to you, I'd better use Past Continuos as mentioned in the above. Oct 1, 2017 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


Past perfect is not "one tense back" from the past continuous. It has its own use, to indicate one past action happened before another past action.

She said she had been sunbathing when the giant wave washed up the beach and drenched everyone.

You dont usually backshift to it from the present perfect continuous, because that would change the meaning.

She said, "I have been playing piano every day"
She said she has been playing piano every day.
She said she had been playing piano every day (before something else happened)

  • So, what would be better in my example? Oct 1, 2017 at 20:23
  • Mrs. Jones said that she was getting bored lying on the beach.
    – Andrew
    Oct 2, 2017 at 6:16
  • That's what I wanted to hear. Oct 2, 2017 at 10:48

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