“I joined the company three years ago.” Mr. Jones said yesterday that he joined the company three years ago.

“I joined the company exactly three years ago, to the day.” Mr. Jones said yesterday that he had joined the company exactly three years before, to the day.

Can somebody explained the difference in terms of meaning between these 2 different reported sentences. What does it mean to the day .Why in one sentence past simple is correct (same time frame) and why in the second it is not (different time frame)so past perfect is needed how ever both are said" yesterday"


The basic rule for tense shift in reported speech is"

1 Present tense becomes past tense

2 Past tense becomes past perfect

3 Future tense becomes conditional tense

Direct speech: I do - reported speech: He said he did

I did - He said he had done

I'll do - He said he would do


In the first example the situation is still valid so no need to backshift whereas in the second it is not true so backshift is necessary.

  • @5577, You cannot answer your question here. – Khan Feb 16 '16 at 13:49
  • 1
    @Khan, I'm sure you're aware that a user can answer his or her own question on ELL, or any of the communities on Stack Exchange. This is solely intended to help others with the same question, in a situation where the OP himself did a lot of research and came up with the most suitable answer, possibly when other answers couldn't really solve the problem explained in the original post. There is even a badge given to those who answer their own questions. – Varun Nair Feb 16 '18 at 12:36
  • However, this isn't an answer, but a comment and it shouldn't be posted as an answer. – Varun Nair Feb 16 '18 at 12:37

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