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Suppose, today I tell you a story which happened few days ago and I say that "A few days back I met my dream girl at the shopping mall. But when I asked her name she said that she 'is' busy".

I have two questions regarding this phrase.

Question 1 : Here, if at the time of reporting I don't know if she's still busy or not and even then I use 'is', would it be grammatically correct then ?

Question 2 : You see, even if at the time of telling you the story, she is not still busy and I still use 'is', I don't think it would be wrong because I have already put 'said' which is in the past tense, so obviously the listener would understand she was busy when she spoke to me. Isn't it ?

Thank You.

marked as duplicate by Damkerng T., Nathan Tuggy, tchrist, StoneyB, JMB Oct 18 '15 at 9:08

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

  • It would still be "was" whether she's still be or not. – imkingdavid Oct 10 '15 at 19:16
  • If she told you several days ago, "I'm busy", and you want to tell someone in indirect speech, "She told me she was busy" would be the natural choice. If you somehow know that she is not busy now or you're not sure about her status, the natural choice would still be the same, "She told me she was busy". If you somehow know that she still is busy (with a long-running project, for example), a natural choice would be "She told me she was busy, and she still is." – Damkerng T. Oct 10 '15 at 21:46
  • By the way, if you asked her her name, and she said "I'm busy", "I'm busy" wasn't really used to give you any information about her life, it was only used as a quick rejection or refusal. She may or may not be really busy. – Damkerng T. Oct 11 '15 at 9:06
  • @Damkerng : I understand that 'iam busy' is not really a reply to give any info about her life but I was interested in asking when is the present tense retained in reported speech ? I come across many such sentences where people do retain the present tense in reported speech and I have repeatedly asked questions over this matter on this forum and surprisingly I've got some mixed replies. – iamRR Oct 11 '15 at 14:36
  • @Damkerng : Some of them have said that 'She said that she is busy' is grammatically acceptable even if at the time of reporting she is not still busy ? I seek your advise on this question. Thanks – iamRR Oct 11 '15 at 14:53