What is indirect form of:

He said, "If I were you, I would protest."

I think the answer is:

If he had been I, he would have protested

Can it also be:

If he had been me instead of I

or is that wrong ?

  • 3
    If he had been I may be strictly correct, but in practice most people would say if he had been me. Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 8:13
  • @Everyone on this page - Why is the second pronoun changing too? That seems to be making an assumption about the sentence that would have to be verified by additional context. If you change "you" to "I/me," you're implicitly assuming that the speaker (in the sentence) is addressing the listener directly. This is certainly possible (even probable), but not necessary - he could also be addressing a third person in the room. In that case, the simplest indirect rephrasing of the original sentence would be "He said that if he were you, he would protest." Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 5:28
  • 1
    @QuackE.Duck The assumption to which you refer is a safe assumption, per the context provided by the original poster's own attempt to construct an indirect quote. The original poster takes the directly-quoted speaker's "you" as having been a direct address to the person (that is, to the original poster) who is now composing an indirect version of that original direct quote. So, the original poster takes the original direct quote's "If I had been you" and transforms it into "If he had been I" and this reveals the identity of the antecedent of that original direct quote's "you". "
    – J. Berry
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


An indirect form could be:

"He said that if he had been me, he would have protested."

It may be that "I" is strictly correct. But in practice most people would say "me".

If common usage dictates correctness, thus making "me" the correct answer, then apparently the English language has veered off course into a world of logical and grammatical errors. So it goes.

  • In the situation posited by the original direct quote, it seems that protest is still an option. Sam's indirect quote is well done, except that there is no need to change the tense of the verb that is found in the original direct quote. Thus a more accurate indirect quote would be "He said that if he were me, he would protest."
    – J. Berry
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 8:35

Most native English speakers will naturally use "me" instead of "I" unless it is the first noun in the phrase. So we would say "If he had been me, he would have protested."

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