In my textbook, it says the translation of "Roberto said it was interesting" to be


Since we quote the person in the same tense they used, does this imply that Robert thought it was interesting, and that it is no longer interesting?

If Robert still thinks it's interesting, would this make more sense?


1 Answer 1


I think this is a bit tricky. In short: you are getting it right, but in this particular example he doesn't necessarily think it is no longer interesting: his comment was probably made on something that had finished earlier.

There's no tense agreement in Japanese, so we can think of these two pairs

Robert さんはおもしろいといっています。 -> Robert さんはおもしろいといっていました。

Robert さんはおもしろかったといっています。 -> Robert さんはおもしろかったといっていました。

and your observations are justified. ("Robertさんはケーキを[食]{た}べたかったといっていました" means he said he had wanted to eat cake [before the time of his remark], and "ケーキを食べたいといっていました" means he said he wanted.)

However, the expression "おもしろかった" rarely means that '[sb] thought it was interesting but no longer'. Rather, the phrase is more like [sb] enjoyed it being interesting/funny/entertaining. Like, after finishing a book, we'll exclaim "ああ、おもしろかった!". So if what "it" in the example refers to took place earlier, we can safely interpret おもしろかった as "he enjoyed it".

Let's add some context. Let's pretend our Robert is a student, and he commented about some lectures.

Robert さんはその[授業]{じゅぎょう}がおもしろかったといっていました

He enjoyed the class, and said it had been interesting after it's finished.

Robert さんはその授業がおもしろいといっていました

His comment was most likely made during the class or mid-term.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .