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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > REPORTED SPEECH    



Hello fellow colleagues:
 I wonder if you could help, please?
My students had to rephrase the following sentence: 
"What did you do to show your dedication to the legal profession?"
The journalist asked Tom what he had done to show his dedication to the legal profession.
Now my question is: some of my pupils decided to use "did" insead of "had done". What should I do?

15 Mar 2016      

United Kingdom

I would insist on had done . Using did here implies that Tom is still doing it and the original question is definitely asking what he did in the past - finished action. 

15 Mar 2016     


Well, in my opinion their answer is wrong because past simple changes to past perfect in reported speech as you so well put it.
I don t know if there are any exceptions, maybe our native speaker colleagues will be able to help but I still think you are right and should consider their "did" as incorrect. 

15 Mar 2016     

[email protected]

I agree with Cunliffe.

There are times, though, when the original [past simple] can be used in reported speech.

I would like to give an example from the popular and famous (Raymond Murphy) English Grammar In Use.

The past simple (did/saw/knew etc) can usually stay the same in reported speech, or you can change it to the past perfect (had done/had seen/had known etc):
direct -
Tom said: I woke up feeling ill, so I didn t go to work .
reported -
Tom said (that) he woke up feeling ill, so he didn t go to work.
Tom said (that) he had woken up feeling ill, so he hadn t gone to work.
End quote
I gave this example just to show what the accepted grammar / pattern is for reported speech.
As I said above, Cunliffe s answer tells you what you need to know. 

15 Mar 2016     


Since the introduction is done with the past of the verb (said), you´ll have to change the tense of the verb. So, I think the past simple should be  changed into the past perfect, that is "had done".

16 Mar 2016     


Thanks everybody!

16 Mar 2016