(also known as indirect speech)

So most often, the reported speech is going to be in the past tense, because the original statement, will now be in the past!

ما يجب معرفته

*We will learn about reporting verbs in part 2 of this lesson, but for now we will just use said/told as our reporting verbs.

ما يجب معرفته

Take note: the structures of say and tell are different:

  1. when using say, we cannot include an object:

He said that (that) he was leaving.

  1. when using tell, we must include an object:

He told John (that) he was leaving.

Direct speech to Reported speech

Usually, the reported statement is one tense back from the direct speech statement:

DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH
                            Present Simple                                       ➔           Past Simple  
“I often play tennis,” she said. She said (that) she often played tennis.
                           Present Continuous                              ➔           Past continuous
“We love going camping,” he said.

He said (that) they loved going camping.

                           Past Simple                                              ➔                 Past Perfect
“I stayed in Rome,” he said. He told me (that) he had stayed in Rome.
                           Present Perfect                                       ➔          Past Perfect
“Sue has eaten,” Mila said. Mila said (that) Sue had eaten.
                           *Past Perfect                                           ➔       *Past Perfect
“Our taxi had just arrived,” Connor said. Connor told me their taxi had just arrived.
                            Present Perfect Continuous             ➔        Past Perfect Continuous
“Ryan has been studying,” Mila said. Mila said (that) Ryan had been studying.
                        Past Continuous                                        ➔       Past Perfect Continuous
“They were singing,” she said. She said (that) they had been singing.

Modal verbs

Some modal verbs change when using reported speech, as follows:

DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH
can  could
“I can swim well,” said Emma                       Emma said (that) she could swim well.
“They can’t get out,” she said She said (that) they couldn’t get out.
will would
“I’ll wash the dishes,” Adam said. Adam said (that) he would wash the dishes.
“I won’t run very far,” she said. She said (that) she wouldn’t run very far.
must (for obligation) had to
“We must go,” he said. He told me (that) they had to go.

mustn’t (for prohibition)

*shouldn’t (mustn’t)

“You mustn’t touch that,” he said. He told me (that) I shouldn’t touch that. He told me (that) I mustn’t touch that.

 

*mustn’t can also remain unchanged in reported speech.  
                                                                                                      ➔         
   
   
                                                                                                       ➔          
   
   
                                                                                                      ➔ 
   
                                                                                                      ➔ 
   

ما يجب معرفته

  • If the direct speech statement includes the any of the following modal verbs, they do not change when transformed into reported speech:

may, might, would, should, ought to

DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH
might might
“I might buy a new car,” said Ryan. Ryan told me (that) he might buy a new car.
        should                                                    ➔                                             should             
“They should try the local cuisine,” Leo said. Leo said (that) they should try the local cuisine.

 

  • If the situation in the reported statement hasn’t changed and is still true in the present, the reporting verb can remain in the same form:
DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH
“My son is four years old,” said Marge. *Marge said (that) her son is four years old.
“Vegetables are good for a healthy diet,” he said. *He said (that) vegetables are good for a healthy diet.

*the above examples are still correct if you do convert the verbs to their past tenses: Marge said (that) her son was four years old.

He said (that) vegetables were good for a healthy diet.

  • When we talk about places, if the direct speech statement includes here, it changes to there in the reported version:
DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH
     here                                                             ➔                                 there
“Have you been here before,” asked Kevin. *Kevin asked if I had been there before.
“They make the best pizza here,” said Brandon.

Brandon said (that) they made the best pizza

there.

*The above examples also depend on where the reported statement is being made. For example, if the above reported statements are being made while the person reporting the information is still in the same place where the conversation took place, the reported speech could also be:

Kevin asked if I had been here before.

Brandon said (that) they made the best pizza here.

Adverbs of time

In reported Speech, adverbs of time also change as follows:

DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH
today(tonight) that day(that night)
“Craig is going to the beach today,” she said. She said (that) Craig was going to the beach
tomorrow

that day. the next day, the day after, the following day

“We will fix it tomorrow,” he said. He said (that) they would fix it the next day.
yesterday the day before, the previous day
“I went yesterday,” she said. She said (that) she had been the day before.
last week The week before
“Shirley paid him last week,” he said.

He told me (that) Shirley had paid him the

week before.

this morning that morning
“I washed my car this morning,” Mila said.

Mila said (that) she had washed her car that

morning.

next (Wednesday) the following (Wednesday)

 

 

“We are leaving next Wednesday,” Connor said. Connor said (that) they were leaving the following Wednesday.
ago before
“I arrived here a long time ago,” he said.

He said (that) he had arrived there a long time

before.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

reported-speech-chart

TENSE DIRECT SPEECH TENSE REPORTED SPEECH
PRESENT SIMPLE “I work hard.” PAST SIMPLE He said that he worked hard.
PRESENT CONTINUOUS “I am working hard.” PAST CONTINUOUS He said that he was working hard.
PAST SIMPLE “I worked hard yesterday.” PAST PERFECT He said that he had worked hard the previous day / the day before.
PAST CONTINUOUS “I was working hard at six this morning.” PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS He said that he had been working hard at six that morning.
PRESENT PERFECT “I have worked hard.” PAST PERFECT He said that he had worked hard.
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS “I have been working hard.” PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS He said that he had been working hard.
PAST PERFECT “I had worked hard.” PAST PERFECT He said that he had worked hard.
FUTURE SIMPLE “I will work hard.” CONDITIONAL He said that he would work hard.
MODALS

“I can work hard.”

“I could work hard.”

“I may work hard.”

“I must work hard.”

“I shall work hard.”

“I should work hard.”

 

He said that he could work hard.

He said that he had been able to work hard.

He said that he might work hard.

He said that he had to work hard.

He said that he should work hard.

He said that he should work hard.

Task 1

Transform the following sentences from direct speech into reported speech

  1. “I am always in a bad mood on Monday mornings,” said Brian.

              __________________

  1. “They were working last week,” she said.

             __________________

  1. “I have been to Zimbabwe,” said Evelyn.

            __________________

  1. “Isabell will give you a lift to the airport tomorrow,” he said.

            __________________

  1. “We had already eaten before we arrived so we didn’t taste the food,” said Simon.

             __________________

  1. “I can’t come to the party tonight, I have to study,” she said.

             __________________

  1. “You mustn’t go near that cliff edge, it’s dangerous!” said Zoey.

             __________________

  1. “You weren’t looking well yesterday,” Luke said.

             __________________

Key

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