lets assume I saw my friend last night and he said exactly on of these to me:

I've lost my keys.


I Had lost my keys.

so, I know in reported speech I must convert "Have" to "Had".

my friend said that she had lost her keys.

but second sentence has "had" itself, should I use the same reported speech for both sentences? If yes how do we Differentiate them? Thanks in advance

  • 1
    It's unlikely that anyone would say I had lost my keys without any other information, because the past perfect implies that the keys are no longer missing. He might say I thought I had lost my keys, but I found them in my coat pocket. In reported speech: He said that he had thought he had lost his keys, but he had found them in his coat pocket. Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 13:13
  • Thanks @KateBunting, so if I say this sentence : "she said she had lost her keys" to my friend, He doesn't understand Whether she had the key or not( at the time I spoke to her), unless I give more information . am I right?
    – Hadimsv
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 14:49
  • "She said she had lost her keys" would be understood to mean that they were missing at the time she spoke, unless further information was added. Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


You can't differentiate them. I lost, I have lost, and I had lost all become she had lost when you backshift them.

(You seem to be confused about his and her: if your friend is a "she" then she lost her keys).

  • so based on the context it can has two meanings? and I corrected the mistake .thanks.
    – Hadimsv
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 14:52
  • Well, you might say two meanings. I would prefer to say that I lost, I have lost, and I had lost could all refer to the same event in the past, but the speaker is choosing to present the temporal relationshbips differently. In reported speech, those fine distinctions are neutralised.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 15:34

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