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I quote what is written down in bold from a grammar book: enter image description here

"Time reference changes when we use reported speech. For example: Anne said, ‘I’m going swimming this afternoon.’ ➟ Anne told me that she was going swimming that afternoon." Let's suppose that 'Anne' told me she was going swimming at 8 a.m., and that I reported what she had said to someone else at 11 a.m. of the same day; would it make sense to say "she was going swimming THAT afternoon". I believe the listener would assume that 'Anne' has already went swimming, and that I am talking about a previous day, rather than the one we are in. Am I right or wrong? Thanks in advance.

  • "Anne told me she was going swimming this afternoon" means I spoke to Anne earlier but she is swimming later. – Karl Oct 24 '18 at 6:04
  • Thank you, but the reported speech says "that afternoon" not "this afternoon". – Laith Leo Oct 24 '18 at 6:09
  • Right. I was trying to show you what would be correct. In the case you presented, it would be correct to say as I wrote it. You cannot use "that afternoon" to mean today. It can only refer to a day other than today. So if I said to someone, "Anne told me she was going swimming that afternoon", then I would certainly be talking about another day. You asked "would it make sense" and the answer is no, it would not. The sentence I wrote above is how to say it correctly. – Karl Oct 24 '18 at 6:11
  • Now you have added the picture, I see your confusion. The person spoke to me last week. When she spoke, she said "I am going swimming TODAY". But now it is a week later, so when I report the speech, I say "she said she was going swimming THAT day". However, if I spoke to her earlier TODAY and she said "I am going swimming TODAY" then I would say "she said she was going swimming TODAY" because it is still TODAY now. – Karl Oct 24 '18 at 6:28
  • My answer below makes this clear, I hope. – Karl Oct 24 '18 at 6:28
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There are several examples and questions in your original post, so I'll try to break them down.

Let us first assume this is all today. It is now 11am. I spoke with Anne at 8am. At 8am, Anne said, "I am going swimming this afternoon."

Now, at 11am, I can say, "I spoke to Anne this morning. She said she was going swimming this afternoon."

If I said, "She said she was going swimming that afternoon", then there is some important context missing. We would first have to establish earlier in the conversation when "that" afternoon was.

So it might happen as follows:

A: Ann didn't come to lunch on Monday. Do you know why?

B: I spoke to Anne on Monday morning, actually. She said she was going swimming that afternoon.

This would make sense.

  • Thank you, it is quite clear now. The problem with grammar books is that they don't provide examples in contexts, which cause us to get confused. I have already added a screenshot of the book from which I quoted to show you what I mean. – Laith Leo Oct 24 '18 at 6:29

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