1 "I am going" she said

If I want to report that sentence using a verb in past simple " said" I can choose if I want to backshift tenses or not ( obviously it is also omportant if we think that something is still true or not)

She said she was going or is going

Both are fine. Correct?

2 If I use either she says or she has said then I'm not allowed to backshift I repeat eveything as it was. Correct?

She says she is going

3 If I use had said then I have to report what she said or leave it but in quotation marks. Correct?

She had said she was going

Ahe had said "I'm going"

2 Answers 2


It's not about what you are "allowed" to do, it's about what makes sense.

  1. The tense you use depends on whether the 'going' is in the past or the future.

She said that she was going to school that morning.

She said that she is going to the party next week.

  1. 'She says she is going' normally refers to a current plan for the future, so there is no reason to backshift.

  2. 'She had said' refers to the past, so it's logical to backshift.

  • I mean when something is still true and I use "said" even though I think something is still possible I can backshift and some natives do it. My concern is related to " say" i may imagine that if I stubborn I could backshif there too but wouldn't it be confusing for instance she says she's going to a shop if I decided to backshift I might be misleading for my speaker since he doesn't expect to do it since the verb say is in the present tense. Sams thing with has said?
    – Adam
    Commented May 20 at 9:26
  • I don't understand what you are asking. "She says she's going to a shop" means that she has recently announced her intention of going there. Commented May 20 at 9:47
  • @ Kate Bunting. "I will do it". Now I report this using she said. Here I can either leave it as it is or backshift. Depends on context. She says and has said. What about these two? Is backshifting also possibble if the reporting verb is in the present or present perferct tense?
    – Adam
    Commented May 20 at 9:52
  • I've already told you this. "She says..." normally refers to something she has said recently about a situation in the present or future, so backshifting is not appropriate. "She has said..." refers to the past, so backshifting is possible. Commented May 20 at 10:29
  • @ Kate Bunting with say and has said I can choose either to backshift even if something is still true or leave it. How is it with had said?
    – Adam
    Commented May 20 at 20:50
  1. "She said she was going" is correct. If you used "She said she is going" the original direct speech would have to be something like "she said 'I will be going'".

  2. "She says she is going" is the equivalent of "She says 'I am going'". Is this what you meant? Equally "She says she was going" equals "She said 'I was going'".

  3. Your two quotes are equivalent, but "She had said 'I was going'" might also be ok as the first quote ("She had said she was going") is ambiguous. You don't know if the action was before she said it or at the same time.

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