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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 and 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

The present simple tense usually changes to the past simple

Direct Speech Reported 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

The present continuous tense usually changes to the past continuous.

Direct Speech Reported Speech
My mom is cooking She said that her mom is cooking
My brother is watching TV He said that his brother is watching TV
My family is eating dinner She said that her family is eating dinnner

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

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

The present perfect tense usually changes to the past perfect tense

Direct Speech Reported Speech
My mom has been kind She said that her mom had always been kind 
My brother has worked hard He said that his brother had worked hard
My family has always helped She said that her family had always helped

The past perfect tense does not change

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Direct Speech Reported 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
My family had always helped She said that her family had always helped

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

Direct Speech Reported 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

 ‘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

Other modal verbs don’t change .

  • Direct speech: “You could be right.”
  • Reported speech: I said that he could be right.

Reported Questions Exercises Online

Reported Statements Exercises Online

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