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When I started learning French, I thought if I lived in Paris, I could speak French fluently.

How to report it?

I said that when I started learning French, I thought if I lived in Paris, I could speak French fluently.

or

I said that when I had started learning French, I had thought if I lived in Paris, I could speak French fluently.

or

I said that when I had started learning French, I had thought if I had lived in Paris, I could speak French fluently.

or

I said that when I had started learning French, I had thought if I had lived in Paris, I could have spoken French fluently.

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    At the moment this question is not suitable for the site. There is no question about a point of English language and you have included no research.
    – Astralbee
    Aug 1, 2023 at 7:01
  • Actually, this is a well established grammar topic of "Reported speech".
    – user1425
    Aug 1, 2023 at 7:47
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    Like @Astralbee said, "... you have included no research". This means we don't do homework-type questions unless the person asking has included what they already know about the topic in the question, has demonstrated that they have tried to apply what they know, and specifies what they're still unsure about. Please edit your question to add this information or it will likely be closed.
    – gotube
    Aug 1, 2023 at 16:58
  • Don't you see that I applied back-shifting?
    – user1425
    Aug 2, 2023 at 5:04

1 Answer 1

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Back-shifting is fairly flexible. Sentences with many "had"s are sometimes more technically correct than simpler phrasings, but rarely necessary for comprehension. Contracting had to 'd is common.

Because the first sentence is so simplified it takes a second to parse and the later ones are wordy, I prefer the second sentence, but all of them are acceptable and sound natural.

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