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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #125327: Reported speech
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Direct/Indirect speech [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Interrogative clauses - Direct and Indirect Interrogative forms ... - Difficulties in Reported Speech - Direct or indirect interrogative clauses - How and What ... like - Direct or Indirect Clauses - Reported speech and present continuous - Indirect speech
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    Reported speech


    Reported/ Indirect Speech.

    When we want to tell another person something you or the other person said before, we have to use reported speech (indirect speech). Examples of Direct speech and Indirect (Reported) speech.

    Direct speech

    Reported speech

    Nick says, “I eat tuna fish”.

    Nick says he eats tuna fish.

    Jane said, “I'm studying Physics next semester”.

    Jane said that she was studying Physics the following semester.


    Types of sentences: 1 – Statements. 2 – Questions. 3 – Requests (Commands). 4 – Other types.

    1 – Statements reporting. What do we have to change when we transform a direct statement to a reported statement? A: Pronoun.  B: Tense.  C: Time or/and place.

    A – Pronouns: We have to change the pronouns in a reported speech. It depends on us and the other person. Examples:

    Direct speech

    Reported speech

    Kevin says, “My wife likes roast beef”.

    Kevin says that his wife likes roast beef.

    B – Tense: If the tense of the verb in the direct speech is in the present form, we don't change it in the reported speech (No backshift). If the tense of the verb in the direct speech is in the past form, we have to change it in the reported speech (Backshift).

    I - No backshift

    Direct speech

    Reported speech

    He says, “I write my book”.

    He says that he writes his book.

    II – Backshift

    Direct speech

    Indirect speech

    He said, “I write my book”.

    He said that he wrote his book.

    Examples of changes in the tenses.

    Direct speech...He said...

    Indirect speech...He said that...

    Simple present

    Simple past

    He said,” I am sad”.

    He said that he was sad.

    Present progressive

    Past progressive

    He said, “I'm looking for my book.

    He said that he was looking for his book.

    Simple past

    Past perfect simple

    He said, “I visited Paris last month”.

    He said that he had visited Paris the month before.

    Present perfect

    Past perfect

    She said,” I have studied here for a long time”.

    She said that she had studied there for a long time”.

    Past perfect

    Past perfect

    Mary said,” They had left the school when I arrived”.

    Mary said that they had left the school when she arrived.

    Past progressive

    Past perfect progressive

    Jack said, “I was playing basketball when I was a teenager”.

    Jack said that he had been playing basketball when he was a teenager.

    Present perfect progressive

    Past perfect progressive

    John said,” I have been reading a book when the sun set down."

    John said that he had been reading a book when the sun set down.

    Future simple(will + verb)

    Conditional(would + verb)

    Daisy said, “I will close the door”.

    Daisy said that she would close the door.

    Conditional (would + verb)

    Conditional (would + verb)

    Nick said,” I would sell my house if I needed money”.

    Nick said that he would sell his house if he needed money.


    Important notice: The modal verbs like could, would, hadn't, might, ought to, used to, normally do not change. But some of them will change.

    Can... Could, May... Might, Must...Must/Had to, Will...Would.

    C: Place and time expression if the location and/or time of the reported statement is different from the direct speech, we change time and place expression. They will be changed as shown  below.

    Direct speech

    Reported speech


    That day




    The day before

    Days ago

    Days before

    Last week

    The week before

    Next year

    The following year


    The next day/ The following day




    Also, “This” will change to “That and “These” will change to “Those”.

    2 – Questions (Reported question). When we want to change a direct question to an Indirect (a Reported) question,we have to change: A – Pronouns. B – Place and time expression. C – Tense in the question.

    Direct Question

    Reported Question

    Why don't you speak French?

    He asked me why I didn't speak French.

    Do you speak Spanish?

    He asked me whether I spoke Spanish.

    3 – Requests (commands) (Direct to Reported). In this case we have to change: A – Pronouns. 2 – Time and place expression.

    Direct requests/commands

    Reported requests/commands

    Harry, do the homework.

    He told Harry to do the homework.

    Jane, give me your book, please.

    He asked Jane to give him her book.

      4 – Other types

    A - If the word “advice” comes with must, should and ought to in the sentence, we have to change it to “advise/ urge”.

    Example: Direct, “You ought to read this newspaper.”  Reported (Indirect), “He advised/urged me to read that newspaper.”

    B – The word “let's” will change to “suggest”.

    Example: Let's go to the cinema. 1 – He suggested going to the cinema. 2 – He suggested that we should go to the cinema.


    Please complete the sentences in reported speech.



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    1. John said, "I love this city." John said that he that city.

    2. James asked me, "Do you like tennis?”. James asked me whether I tennis.

    3. Jenny said, "I can't drive an ambulance". Jenny said that she drive an ambulance.

    4. John said, "Be nice to your brother". John asked me to be nice to brother.

    5. Jack said, "Don't be nasty". Jack urged me be nasty.

    6. Jean said, "Don't waste your money". Jean told the boys not to waste money.

    7. Jennifer asked him "What did you want to do?”. Jennifer asked him what he wanted to do.

    8. Joe said, "I always wake up early". Joe said that he always up early.

    9. Jason said, "You should revise your lessons". Jason advised the students to revise lessons.

    10. Josef said, "Where have you been?”. Josef asked me where I been.

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