a moment earlier (instead of previously) in reported speech

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susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Hi,

Is it incorrect to use "a moment earlier" instead of "previously" in reported speech? As in,

He thought he had seen her a moment earlier.

Thank you!
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    No.

    A: "I think I saw her a moment ago."
    [Later]
    B: "A said that he thought he had seen her a moment earlier (than the moment at which he said that)."
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Ah, sorry, I got confused for a moment. So "earlier" IS fine in reported speech; it's NOT fine in narrative, where I should use "previously."
    Thank you, Paul!
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "A moment earlier" means just before the time you're talking about. "Previously" means any time earlier; it could be a moment, an hour, a day, a year . . .
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Oh, so they both work in a narrative after all. Imagine this:
    He turned his head and looked down the road, as he thought he had seen her a moment earlier while he was driving.

    Does that work?
     
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