5

1)

Tom: I will phone you on Sunday.

Me: Tom said he would phone me on Sunday.

2)

I decided I will go to the library. (today)

I decided yesterday I would go to the library. (tomorrow)

Do I always have to change will to would when put a statement in the past? What if I say: "I decided yesterday I will go to the library." or "Tom said he will phone me on Sunday."

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of this question by the same poster. – tchrist Jun 23 '13 at 23:33
  • 1
    @tchrist Thanks, but if a question is closed on ELU and is a good fit for ELL we keep them open :) (Now if it's open on ELU that's another story.) I appreciate you sharing the link, though! :) – WendiKidd Jun 24 '13 at 14:12
5

It is permissible (but not obligatory) to use will in these circumstances if it refers to an event which is still in the future at the time the sentence is uttered.

If on Friday you decide that you will go to the library on Monday ...

  • You may say I decided I would go to the library on Monday at any point after your decision.
  • You may say I decided (or have decided) I will go to the library on Monday at any point after your decision right up to whatever point marks the end of any practical opportunity for going to the library on Monday.
  • After that point you must say I decided I would go to the library on Monday.
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  • The difference between "I decided" and "I have decided" is that the former implies a specific time that the decision was made, and the latter specifically avoids that specificity. It is correct to say "Yesterday I decided that I will go to the library on Monday" (assuming it isn't Monday yet), but it is not correct to say "Yesterday I have decided..." under any circumstances. – BobRodes Jun 25 '13 at 5:20
  • That's exactly the main contrast about past simple & present perfect. – Alejandro Nov 24 '15 at 21:56

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