Hi I’m a student from Germany and I have a problem with this grammatical speech.

I understand the direct and indirect speech. But let me give you an example for my question.

For example,

Luis says: I work at a Supermarket.

Now I have to write it over into:

Luis said: He worked at a Supermarket.

This one is pretty clear. But what’s with this?:

  1. I packed my stuff after he told me to pack my stuff.

Why isn’t it like this ?:

  1. I packed my stuff after he told me to packed my stuff.

I mean in present "he says: pack your things"? I know that the second sentence is wrong but why?

So can I say "he said: Packed your stuff"?

  • 1
    Your first example needs refinement in terms of punctuation. It should be, Luis said (that) he worked at a supermarket. 2) It's incorrect to say to packed, but 'to pack'. After 'to' the first form of the verb is used, like to go, to study, to pack, etc.
    – Ram Pillai
    Jan 9, 2021 at 0:36
  • 1
    Also: “Luis said he works at a supermarket.”
    – Jim
    Jan 9, 2021 at 1:59
  • You have different complements in your examples with different engines. This answer might help: english.stackexchange.com/a/50138/36710
    – livresque
    Jan 9, 2021 at 2:03
  • In English, we don't capitalise an ordinary noun like 'supermarket', unless it is the first word of a sentence. Jan 9, 2021 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


There are two different things to explain. First, you need to understand that you are stating why you did something. You stating what you did and why you did it. It can also be seen as an request or action followed by your reaction. It can actually be viewed as two separate sentences. Sentences 1 is "Luis told me to pack my backpack". Sentence 2 is "I packed my backpack". To combine the sentences into one sentence, both sentences need to be in past tense. I believe it would be considered a complex sentence. This website is advanced english, but I will provide it.

Part two. You seem to understand the standard English sentence structure, which is which is subject + verb + object. In English, only the verb needs to have the tense changed. Now review the sentence of "Luis told me to pack my bag". You have already provided a verb and changed it to past tense, "told". The "pack your stuff" is stating what Luis said, which is considered the object. The objects do not need the tense changed. (The "me" is a subject too, but does not influence the results of the concept. You are specifying who he talked to).

Intermediate English: 4 types of sentence structures! Advanced english: 7 patterns of sentence structures.!

  • The point is that an infinitival VP is headed by a plain form verb, never by a tensed form like "packed".
    – BillJ
    Jan 9, 2021 at 7:52
  • 1
    Thank you for summarizing. I explained it under the assumption that the person is still learning. I am not an English teacher, but I like to help others.
    – Star Galaxy
    Jan 10, 2021 at 2:35

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