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Consider the direct speech:

"You are one of the Pinkerton's men, I presume," he said.

I converted it to indirect speech as follows:

He said that he presumed that I was one of the Pinkerton's men.

But it is not correct. Please help me in identifying the mistake. What would be the correct indirect speech in the sentence?

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    Why do you think your sentence is incorrect?
    – mamster
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 11:20
  • In the textbook the indirect speech is given as 'He said that he presumed me as one of Pinkerton's men'. But I could not get why my answer is wrong.
    – Sanat
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 12:56
  • You are right. You might also say, rather stiffly, "He presumed me to be one of the Pinkerton's men", but presumed as in your textbook's answer is not idiomatic English. Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 13:32
  • I doubt about the use of two 'that' in my version of indirect speech.The use of second 'that' is making me to doubt about.
    – Sanat
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 13:39
  • Who voted this down? Seems like a good question, even if it needs to be reworded to say that the poster believes that the example is incorrect. Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 15:43

2 Answers 2

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He said that he presumed that I was one of the Pinkerton's men.

It is proper indirect speech, there is no need to worry.

In the textbook the indirect speech is given as 'He said that he presumed me as one of Pinkerton's men'

Usually, there are several ways to tell the same thing. It is the same here. The book is also right.

However, it would be better to say:

He said that he presumed me to be one of Pinkerton's men.

so the book is not completely right.

I doubt about the use of two 'that' in my version of indirect speech.The use of second 'that' is making me to doubt about.

Although it might not sound perfect, it is still correct to use "that" twice in a sentence.

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  • +1 but [several ways to say the same thing].
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 16:48
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"You are one of the Pinkerton's men, I presume," he said.

becomes:

He said he presumed I was one of the Pinkerton's [detective agency's] men.

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