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He said "I have been working in the garden for 8 hours" - direct speech.

He said that he had been working in the garden for 8 hours. - indirect speech

Is "He said that he was working in the garden for 8 hours" also possible?

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Is "He said that he was working in the garden for 8 hours" also possible?

"was working" is Simple Past Continuous. Generally speaking, that verb tense is a possibility. However, you also included "for 8 hours" which corresponds better with Simple Past. Therefore, the following are grammatically correct:

"He said that he worked in the garden for 8 hours."

"He said that he was working in the garden, when he heard a loud bang."

and

"He said that he had worked in the garden for 8 hours."

It should be noted that each of these choices, as well as the ones mentioned in the original question, have different meanings. They are not exactly synonymous.

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  • I don't see He said that he had worked in the garden for 8 hours anywhere. – FumbleFingers Nov 24 '20 at 13:07
  • I don't see He said that he will work in the garden for 8 hours. – Sam Nov 24 '20 at 13:43
  • But OP gives Present Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous (as well as "Simple Past Continuous"). There's no reason to introduce a future tense, but assuming the aspect being queried is "Do I need a continuous verb form here?", it seems only reasonable that someone should explicitly present the non-continuous Past Perfect form. – FumbleFingers Nov 24 '20 at 13:54

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