1

Let's suppose we have a sentence:

If I see John I will tell him you are looking for him.

Now how should I put it in reported speech in the past? Like this:

Mike said that if he saw (?) John he would tell him I was (?) looking for him.

Is it correct?

2

Yes, that's exactly how you should phrase it for past reported speech.

1

That's correct. But you can write the following way too.

If he saw John, Mike said, he would tell him I was looking for him.

It depends on "emphatic purposes".

  • That doesn't work well for me. It looks like you've put in a comma inappropriately to this sentence: If he saw John, Mike said he would tell him O was looking for him – Beta Decay Nov 9 '15 at 7:11
0

Just brainstorming here. Let's assume the fact that there could have been chances for Mike having seen John, this could be a case of future in the past. How about

Mike said that if he sees John, he would tell him I was looking for him.

  • When it comes with the present simple, the tense is not normally changed. (For example: facts, regular actions, etc.) So normally you do the backshift like the OP's example. – Alejandro Dec 9 '15 at 11:29
  • I believe it should be "saw" – Varun Nair Jan 8 '16 at 11:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.