When Dante Fowler was stopped by police for speeding July 15, he had a unique reason for why he couldn't show officers his registration documents.

According to TMZ, the Jacksonville Jaguars star told police he didn't have his registration on him because the car recently had been stolen and he just got it back the day before.

He said he had left the keys in it and someone took the car, but he got it back in time to pick up a speeding ticket.

Dante Fowler Says Car Had Been Stolen During Speeding Ticket Stop

Why it is not had taken? When the police asked him "why doesn't he have his registration documents" he could have answered "I left my keys in my car and someone took it" so reported speech should be had left and had taken but either someone took is not reported speech or it is to maintain the time relations between these sentences.

  • I think I might understand what you want to ask, but the question is not clear. Please rework it, paying particular attention to your final paragraph.
    – Mark G B
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 16:32
  • 1
    The past perfect is often used to effect a shift in temporal perspective: the past perfect refers to an event before Reference Time, and events which succeed that prior event are narrated using the simple past, with the introductory perfect maintaining an 'anchor' for returning to Reference Time. See this question, especially §4. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 21:12
  • I know all of that !!!So only left is considered as reported speech. Even without past perfect it is obviously logical that the car thief happens after Dante has left the keys so both events are in logical order no need for past perfect here
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


It sounds as if, in your English instruction, you have been taught some set of inviolable rules related to the perfect tense. These rules might have helped you pass a class or learn the basics, but at some point you have to discard your book learning in favor of how native speakers actually talk.

Yours is a good example of how people often mix the tenses -- perhaps inelegant, but nevertheless perfectly natural.

I had driven all the way to the store, and started to walk in, only to realize I left my wallet at home.

Here the use of the past perfect sets the time frame between the time I got to the store, and the time I began walking toward the store. I want to emphasize the events that happened in that moment, in a particular order, which can help the listener feel like they were there, or get them to sympathize with my predicament.

I could have said:

I drove to the store, and started to walk in ...

but this is just simple recitation of events. It doesn't have the same nuance.

(Edit) Turning this into reported speech changes very little:

He said he had driven all the way to the store, and started to walk in, only to realize he left his wallet at home.

  • yes but that is not reported speech as the example given
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 15:30
  • @user5577 I edited my answer, but it changes next to nothing.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 16:06
  • Thanks got it now ,but I really had thought before you explained it to me that this sentence would be he told the police he had left(no backshift) the keys in the car and someone had taken it(backshift possible because past simple) but the time relationship between the sentences was not the same Do you find this kind of sentence inelegant due to mixed tenses?
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:18

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