Grammar Lessons: Reported Speech

Reported Speech

Reported Speech

Reported Speech can be a problem for some learners because you need to undertand most  tenses well.

Reported speech is how we represent the speech of other people or what we ourselves say.

There are two main types of reported speech:

  • Direct speech
  • Indirect speech.

Direct speech repeats, or quotes, the exact words spoken

Indirect speech isusually used to talk about the past, so we normally change the tense of the words spoken

Reported Speech Rules and Examples

To turn sentences into Indirect Speech, you have to follow a set of rules:

Present Tenses and Reported Speech

  • Present Simple Tense changes into Past Simple Tense
  • Present Progressive Tense changes into Past Progressive Tense
  • Present Perfect Tense changes into Past Perfect Tense
  • Present Perfect Progressive Tense changes into Past Perfect Tense

Past Tenses and Reported Speech

  • Past Simple Tense changes into Past Perfect Tense
  • Past Progressive Tense changes intoPerfect Continuous Tense
  • Past Perfect Tense doesn’t change
  • Past Perfect Progressive Tense doesn’t change

Past Tenses and Reported Speech

  • Future Simple Tense changes into would
  • Future Progressive Tense changes into «would be»
  • Future Perfect Tense changes into «would have·
  • Future Perfect Progressive Tense changes into «would have been»

Reported Speech Examples

These are some examples of sentences using indirect speech

Reported Speech and the Simple Present

The present simple tense usually changes to the past simple

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
I travel a lot in my job He said that he travelled a lot in his job
I play video games a lot She said that he played video games a lot
We run every morning They said that they ran every morning
I do yoga every weekendShe said that he did yoga every weekend

Reported Speech and Present Continuous

The present continuous tense usually changes to the past continuous.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
My mom is cooking She said that her mom was cooking
My brother is watching TV He said that his brother was watching TV
My family is eating dinner She said that her family was eating dinnner
I am doing Yoga She said that she was doing yoga

Reported Speech and the Simple Past

The past simple tense usually changes to the past perfect

Direct Speech Reported Speech
My mom cooked dinner She said that her mom had cooked dinner
My brother watched a movie He said that his brother had watched a movie
My family just ate dinner She said that her family just had eaten dinner
I really enjoyed the party He said he had really enjoyed the party
Bill arrived on Saturday He said that Bill had arrived on Saturday

Reported Speech and The Past Continuous

The past continuous tense usually changes to the past perfect continuous.

Direct Speech Reported Speech
My mom was cooking dinner She said that her mom had been cooking dinner
My brother was watching a movie He said that his brother had been watching a movie
My family was talking in the room She said that her family had been talking in the room
Derek was doing YogaShe said that Derek was doing Yoga

Reported Speech and The Present Perfect

The present perfect tense usually changes to the past perfect tense

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
My mom has been kindShe said that her mom had always been kind 
My brother has worked hard He said that his brother had worked hard
My girlfriend has contributed a lotHe said that his girlfriend has contributed a lot
My family has always helped She said that her family had always helped

Reported Speech and the Past Perfect

The past perfect tense does not change

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
My mom had been kind She said that her mom had always been kind 
My brother had worked hard He said that his brother had worked hard
He has played very wellHe said that he had played very well
My family had always helped She said that her family had always helped

Reported Speech and ‘Can’ and ‘can’t’

 ‘Can’ and ‘can’t’ in direct speech change to ‘could’ and ‘couldn’t

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
My mom can’t remember her name She said that her mom couldn’t remember his name
My brother can play soccer well He said that his brother could play soccer well
My family can help you a lot She said that her family could help me a lot
My mom can lend me moneyShe said that she could lend me money

Reported Speech and ‘Will’ and ‘won’t

Will’ and ‘won’t’ in direct speech change to ‘would’ and ‘wouldn’t

Direct Speech Reported Speech
My mom won’t go to my wedding She said that her mom wouldn’t go to her wedding
My brother won’t be in my team He said that his brother wouldn’t be in her team
My family will help me with some money She said that her family would help her with some money
She will travel to EuropeShe said that she would travel to Europe

Reported Speech and Could and couldn’t

Could and couldn’t doesn’t change

Direct Speech Reported Speech
My mom could go to the wedding She said that her mom could go to the wedding
My brother could be in your teamHe said that his brother could be in your team
My family could help me out She said that her family could help me out

Reported Speech and the Future Continuous

Will’ and ‘won’t’ in direct speech change to ‘would’ and ‘wouldn’t

Direct Speech Reported Speech
I’ll be using the car next FridayShe said that she would be using the car next Friday
I will be going homeHe said that he would be going home
I will be working in NorwayHe said that he would be working in Norway
I will be doing exercisesHe said that he would be doing exercises

Reported Questions Exercises Online

Reported Statements Exercises Online

How to Find the Main Idea

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