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1- Let's suppose that Mary is saying this on September 2019, and I'm reporting her words in November of the same year; can I keep (this winter) in the reported speech, or should I stick to the rule and change it to (that winter); even if winter hasn't come and snow hasn't fallen yet?

2- If I were to stick to the rule and change (this) to (that); does (that) semantically still mean (this), as winter and snow are yet to come, and the change is just a matter of grammar?

Because if it doesn't, this means I should be specifically reporting Mary's words in spring 2020 in order to be able to refer to winter as (that winter).

Thank you.


You need to consider the tense of the reporting verb (says, said, etc). If the direct speech took place in the immediate past, and refers to something that is still the case, we can use the present tense. If the time (week, winter, season etc) can still, at the time of reporting, be referred to using 'this', then it does not change. Suppose that Mary said five minutes ago "I want/plan/hope to go skiing this winter" you can report that as "Mary says that she wants/hopes/plans to go skiing this winter".

You could use the past tense for the reporting verb in this situation also: Mary said that she wanted/hoped/planned to go skiing this winter.

If the time period has passed, then we would change 'this' to 'that'. Mary said in 2014 that she wanted to go skiing that winter.

Reported speech

Time and Place in Reported speech

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