1

Tom said that he had had a strange experience a day before.

1) Tom said, "I have had a strange experience yesterday"

2) Tom said, "I had a strange experience yesterday"

I thought the answer is "1" as 'present perfect' changes to 'past perfect' in an indirect sentence. But my book says the answer is "2". Please clarify.

1

In the original, indirect quote, the main verb is in the past tense, so the past perfect tense is used to indicate that Tom's experience occurred prior to the quote itself. In the direct quote, you use Tom's actual words, which would have used the simple past tense to indicate an experience that happened prior to the time at which Tom is speaking.

  • Thanks. But why not the first option? – Abhi Oct 7 '15 at 15:38
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    Good question, one that I can't answer as formally as I would like. "An experience" is a single discrete action, rather than something that occurs for some period of time: it happened or it didn't happen, without any reference to how long it took). It also occurred completely in the past ("yesterday"), rather than today. Compare "I had several strange experiences yesterday" (still completely in the past) and "I have had several strange experiences since yesterday" (the experiences were completed, but in a sense that they've been continuing up to the present moment and may happen again). – chepner Oct 7 '15 at 16:11
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Your book is right, whereas your opinion is wrong.

As a matter of fact, the sentence #1 is not correct grammatically.

You use the simple past, not the present perfect, to talk about times such as yesterday, last week, in 2014, 2 years ago.

So the direct speech of the indirect speech "Tom said that he had had a strange experience the day before/the previous day" is the sentence #2.

Per backshift rule, you change the past simple into the past perfect simple in indirect speech.

You also change the present perfect simple into the past perfect simple, but the fault in the sentence #1 is that you have used "yesterday" with the present perfect simple. Please look at the following sentences:

Tom said, "I have had a strange experience today/this week". (direct)

Tom said that he had had a strange experience that day/that week. (indirect)

  • Per backshift rule, you change the past simple into the past perfect in indirect speech. This is the first one for me. Could you point to a book giving more of those rules? – Victor Bazarov Oct 7 '15 at 17:39
  • I think this is just what I was looking for. Thanks for answering. – Abhi Oct 7 '15 at 19:30

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