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I am talking with my friend, I want to tell him about the meeting with another friend who borrowed some money from me.

what I said him:

“when I met him yesterday, he told me, he will give my money today”

or

“when i met him yesterday, he told me I will give your money tomorrow”

Which is correct ?

  • 1
    er, to whom is he giving that money? – F.E. Aug 3 '15 at 15:02
  • hmm, this verb "GIVE" seems rather complicated to explain, what with all its different senses. For instance, "He will give some money" seems fine, but probably not "He will give my money". Interesting. (Though, maybe there is a context to support that last one? doubtful?) – F.E. Aug 3 '15 at 15:12
  • he borrowed money from me, so he told me, he(who borrowed) will give(return borrowed money) my(that's me) money – rashidnk Aug 4 '15 at 5:33
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    er, consider: "He will give my money to F.E. That will make F.E. happy, but it will make me (rashidnk) sad because I won't be getting my money back." – F.E. Aug 4 '15 at 5:36
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If by correct you mean grammatical, then both sentences are correct. The second utterance (When I met him yesterday, he told me: "I will give you your money tomorrow") reports your friend's exact words - indicated here by the speech marks (i.e. direct speech). The use of direct speech in the spoken reporting of what someone told you, however, is very unusual and needs to have the appropriate prosody to be easily interpreted.

The first utterance (When I met him yesterday, he told me, he will give me my money today) uses indirect / reported speech, which is far more common in spoken language than direct speech. When reporting what was said to them, speakers often backshift the tense of the verb, so that the words "I will give you the money" become: He said he would give me the money.

However, backshift is not mandatory. Very often speakers retain the tense of the verb if they believe that what was said to them still holds true. So, for example, if Friend A told me yesterday "I will give you the money tomorrow" and I see Friend B early in the morning of today (firmly believing that A will keep his promise), then I can say:

When I met him yesterday, he told me he will give me my money today.

Of course, if it is the end of the day, and the probability of getting your money back is now low, then you would use would:

When I met him yesterday, he told me he would give me my money today.

Note: if you are learning this grammar for an exam, you are probably better off sticking with the backshifted version, which some consider to be the default usage in such contexts.

  • answer is well explained,, – rashidnk Aug 5 '15 at 12:28
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Both the sentences you've written are incorrect. You can say it like :
When I met him yesterday, he told me that he would give my money the next day(or today).
When converting to indirect speech "will" will be changed to would (as the reporting verb is in past tense).
For tomorrow, "the next day" should be used but here, since you're mentioning "yesterday" before the indirect speech, you can use "today".

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Both are wrong. What you need is "indirect speech". And the rule is to make each sentence one degree past. Because time has passed between the moment of speaking and the time of the report. To be more explanatory:

I said, ‘I’m not very happy at work.’ I told her I was not very happy at work.

They said: ‘We’re going home.’ They told us they were going home.

‘I’ve been working,’ she said. She said she had been working.

‘What happened to make her so angry?’ he asked. He asked what had happened to make her so angry.

According to the rule, we need to correct your sentence as follows: When I met him yesterday, he told me that he would give my money that day. Will becomes (one degree past tense) would. Today becomes (one degree past tense)that day.

For more examples of indirect speech please see: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/reported-speech-indirect-speech

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