Definition - The backwards-in-time shifting of tense that occurs when we report indirect speech.

1. A useful general rule for backshifting is: Present tense becomes past tense and past tense become past perfect.

Example -

(1) "I have lived in the south for years," Mr Smith said. (direct speech)

(2) Mr Smith told me that he had lived in the south for years. (backshifted indirect speech)

Oxford English Dictionary -
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