must in reported speech

Ivan_I

Senior Member
Russian
If I am not mistaken I have come across two treatments of must in reported speech, one is when MUST doesn't change and the second one is when it changes into HAD TO. Are both OK or not?

Example.

1) He said he must fix my laptop the next day.
2) He said he had to fix my laptop the next day.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I could say: "He said that he must fix my laptop tomorrow" (his "tomorrow" is still to come), but if "the next day" is now in the past (relative to when I'm speaking), I would use: "He said that he had to fix my laptop the next day".

    In these sentences,"must" indicates obligation:
    I saw John this morning, and he said that he must fix my laptop tomorrow - otherwise they won't pay him.
    I saw John last Tuesday, and he said that he had to fix my laptop the next day - because he was going on holiday
    on the Thursday.


    I think that "Must" doesn't change in reported speech when it's a "speculative must":
    It must be wonderful not to have to work for a living.
    She said it must be wonderful not to have to work for a living.
     

    AidaGlass

    Senior Member
    Persian-Iran
    What about "he said that he'd have to fix my laptop the next day"? Can we use "would have to" instead of "had to"?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    What about "he said that he'd have to fix my laptop the next day"? Can we use "would have to" instead of "had to"?
    In that example you probably can, yes. :)

    It would correspond to a future tense in direct speech like this:
    "I'll have to fix your laptop tomorrow"
    becomes
    He said that he'd have to fix my laptop the next day.

    I doubt personally that there's a meaningful difference between the present tense "must" and the future tense "will have to" in that particular sentence as it stands.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I have recently come across a guideline which says that MUSTN'T should remain.

    You mustn't be here! - He said I musn't be there.

    There are no other options for mustn't, right?
     
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