Reported speech

  •  Reported speech is used when you want to tell someone else what a person said before.
  •  The tense in reported speech is one tense back in time from the tense in direct speech.

I/ you/ we/ they

He/ she/ it/ James

  • Present simple
  •  Ex: “I go shopping every Friday”, my mom said.
  • Past simple
  •  Ex: My mom said (that) she went shopping every Friday.

  • Present continuous
  •  Ex: “We are watching TV”, they told me.
  • Past continuous
  •  Ex: They told me (that) they were watching TV.
  • Present perfect
  •  Ex: “I have lived here for 10 years”, David said.
  • Past perfect
  •  Ex: David said (that) he had lived there for 10 years.
  • Past simple
  •  Ex: “I was at school yesterday”, my sister said.
  • Past perfect
  •  Ex: My sister said (that) she had been at school the day before.
  • Past continuous
  •  Ex: “We were cooking when she came”, they told me.
  • Past perfect continuous
  •  Ex: They told me (that) they had been cooking when he had come.
  • Past perfect
  •  Ex: “I had had a car accident”, Marry told me.
  • Past perfect
  •  Ex: Marry told me (that) she had had a car accident.
  • Present perfect continuous
  •  Ex: “I have been explaining to her for hours”, Jim said.
  • Past perfect continuous
  •  Ex: Jim said (that) he had been explaining to her for hours.
  • Simple future with WILL
  •  Ex: “I will travel to Asia next year”, my cousin told me.
  • WOULD + bare infinitive
  •  Ex: My cousin told me (that) she would travel to Asia the following year.
  • Simple future with BE GOING TO
  •  Ex: “I am going to write a story”, Sarah said.
  • WAS/ WERE GOING TO + Bare infinitive
  •  Ex: Sarah said (that) she was going to write a story.
  • Future continuous
  •  Ex: “I will be coming back in an hour”, Michael told me.
  • WOULD BE verb-ING
  •  Ex: Michael told me (that) he would be coming back in an hour.
  • modal verb MAY
  •  Ex: “I may see you in the afternoon”, Jane said.
  •  Ex: Jane said (that) she might see me in the afternoon.
  • modal verb MIGHT
  •  Ex: “Jim might visit me tomorrow”, my sister said.
  •  Ex: My sister said (that) Jim might visit her the following day.
  • modal verb MUST
  •  Ex: “You must make your final decision by 20th May”, she said.
  •  Ex: She said (that) I had to make my final decision by 20th May.
  • modal verb SHALL
  •  Ex: “We shall need your help”, they told me.
  •  Ex: They told me (that) they would need my help.
  • modal verb CAN
  •  Ex: “You can wait for me in the office”, my boss said.
  •  Ex: My boss said (that) I could wait for him in the office.
  • modal verb COULD
  •  Ex: “We could finish everything soon”, My husband told me.
  •  Ex: My husband told me (that) we could finish everything soon.
  • modal verb SHOULD
  •  Ex: “You should go to bed early”, my mom said.
  •  Ex: My mom said (that) I should go to bed early.
  • modal verb WOULD
  •  Ex: “I would teach you how to make cookies”, my mom said.
  •  Ex: My mom said (that) she would teach me how to make cookies.
  • modal verb NEED
  •  Ex: “You need to drink more water a day”, my doctor told me.
  • NEED
  •  Ex: My doctor told me (that) I need to drink more water a day.
    Place, time words and demonstratives

    Direct speech

    Reported speech



    That day


    The day before


    The next day/ the following day

    … days ago

    … days before

    Last week

    The week before

    Next week

    The following week











    Reported questions
    • There are two types of questions: WH-question and Yes/No question.
    • In reported speech, the word orders change.
    • In WH-question, the WH-words (what, where, why, how, etc.) remains the same.

    ...ASK ME + WH-WORDS

    • In Yes/ No question, the auxiliary is deleted. We use if/ whether instead.

    ... ASK ME + IF/ WHETHER 

    Direct speech

    Reported speech


    “Where do you go?” She asked.

    She asked me where I went.

    “What have you done?” He asked.

    He asked me what I had done.

    “Why are you crying?” She asked.

    She asked me why I was crying.

    Yes/ No questions

    “Are you going shopping?” Jenny asked.

    Jenny asked me if/ whether I was going shopping?

    “Have you ever been to London?” He asked.

    He asked me if/ whether I had ever been to London.

    “Can you help me with this homework?” Tom asked.

    Tom asked me if/ whether I could help him with that homework.

    Reported commands/ requests


    Direct speech

    Reported speech

    “Go away.” She said.

    She asked me to go away.

    “Don’t come any closer.” He said.

    He asked me not to come any closer.

    “Jack, wait for a second.” He said.

    He asked Jack to wait for a second.


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