Should I backshift second conditionals in reported speech?



Consider this sentence, please (taken from the English Grammar Secrets website):

If I had millions dollars, I would give a lot to charity.

If we used it in reported speech, would it remain the same, or would we have to use had had and would have, as in third conditionals?

He said that if he had millions dollars, he would give a lot to charity.

He said that if he had had millions dollars, he would have given a lot to charity.

This question occurred to me while reading this article on as if / as though. According to it, if the verb of an as if or as though clause is already in the past tense, it doesn't change.


Posted 2015-09-09T19:45:11.110

Reputation: 1 864

3"Second conditionals" are not usually backshifted in reported speech, but they can be. – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-09-10T10:16:36.210



The answer is in the same website. If it is possible for him in the future to have a million dollars, then you would use his words, no changes. However, if not possible, then you would backshift it.

Ghaith Alrestom

Posted 2015-09-09T19:45:11.110

Reputation: 1 563