Ken says that he lived many years in England.

Ken said that he had lived many years in England.

What’s the different between this two sentences? I know one is present tense and the other is past tense. Both are indirect speech and it’s use to report what someone said.

But I’m so confused why use says(present tense) to report what people said ( thing that the person said in the past)....

2 Answers 2


"Said" means that you're referring to a specific instance: "Ken said that he lived many years in England yesterday."

"Says", to me, has a connotation of referring to something that a person routinely says, especially when trying to establish veracity: "Ken says that he lived many years in England, but I think that he's lying."


"Ken says that he lived many years in England, and I've known him my whole life."

The truthfulness of a statement doesn't have to be in question to use "says", but it makes the point: "says" indicates that whatever is occurring is a regular...occurrence.


You're right that the meanings are very similar in your example, like in most cases. The difference is in what it emphasizes. "Said" can emphasize that Ken said something at a particular time, or that he has said it in the past. "Says" can emphasize that he would say it again if you asked him again; it can be a rhetorical way to bring Ken into the conversation as if he's saying it right now.

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