Changing reported speech into direct speech


The boy pleaded that he had not stolen the book.

The Options given are

  1. The boy said "I don't steal the book". 

  2. The boy said "I didn't steal the book". 

  3. The boy said "I haven't stolen the book". 

  4. The boy said "I hadn't stolen the book".

I am aware of that the simple past, past perfect and present perfect in direct speech change into the past perfect in reported speech, if the reporting verb is in the past tense. So, here it seems that second, third and fourth options can be correct answers.

But a book(by a non native speaker) says only third option is right. Is it right? Could you explain to me what the correct answer is?

Omkar Reddy

Posted 2016-12-13T12:33:22.500

Reputation: 818

5To this native speaker, #2, #3, and #4 are grammatically plausible, but #2 is the simplest and most logical. – stangdon – 2016-12-13T12:38:00.623

@stangdon Does this question have only one correct answer as per the options? – Omkar Reddy – 2016-12-13T13:03:22.747

3@Nagendra: No. It means whoever set this test is incompetent, and shouldn't be in the business of teaching English. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-12-13T14:44:07.817

1@Nagendra - As I said, all of them are possible correct answers. But I cannot conceive of any way in which #3 is the only correct answer. – stangdon – 2016-12-13T14:55:23.373



I disagree with your books. The second, third, and forth could be the direct speech of

The boy pleaded that he had not stolen the book.

The second option is correct because past simple will be past perfect in reported speech.

The third option is also correct because present perfect will be past perfect in reported speech.

The forth option is also correct because past perfect stays past perfect in reported speech


Posted 2016-12-13T12:33:22.500

Reputation: 7 435