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Alice: "I moved to Rome four years ago."

Last year, Alice said she had moved to Rome [...]

Alice: "I moved to Rome long ago."

Last year, Alice said she had moved to Rome [...]

Would this be a correct way to finish these two sentences? I understand that "ago" means "before the present time", so is it acceptable to use it to mean "before the indicated past time"?

Last year, Alice said she had moved to Rome four years ago

Last year, Alice said she had moved to Rome long ago

  • Nowadays, ago almost always means earlier than / before now (time of speaking, not before some contextually relevant time in the past). So Last Christmas she moved to Rome, which she had visited four years ago would always imply she moved there three years after visiting, not four (since she moved there one year ago). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 18 '19 at 15:42
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Strictly speaking, you should change "ago" to "before" or "earlier" in reported speech:

Last year, Alice said she had moved to Rome four years earlier

Last year, Alice said she had moved to Rome long before

See more examples here.

However, it seems to me that this rule is often not followed in casual speech. Keeping "ago" sounds quite natural English to me.

Another discussion on this topic can be found here: Reported speech of (three years ago/ next week).

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