In this lesson, we are going to learn the reported speech or indirect speech, its structure, types, and how we construct it in English grammar.
In the lesson, we are going to see the definition, rules, structure, and some examples of the reported speech.
We usually use reported speech when we talk about something that someone else has said.
When you describe what someone else told you, you use reported speech.
So, how we use it? What are the reported speech changes(structure) from direct to indirect? and how we convert it?
The way we do this, we take the original sentence and we change it into one tense back.
Let’s see some examples to make things clear.
He said, “I Like the blue color”
He said that he liked the blue color.
In this case, the tense has changed from the simple present tense to the past simple.
It is really important to know how to use tenses in English because you are going to need them in the reported speech lesson.
You can learn more about tenses from here. (all 12 tenses in English with examples)
Reported speech in all tenses :
The changes between tenses in reported speech apply as follows:
|Present simple||Past simple|
|Present continuous||Past continuous|
|Present perfect||Past perfect|
|Past perfect||Past perfect (no change)|
|Will do||would do|
|have/has done||had done|
|Had done||had done (no change)|
|Will have done||would have done|
|am/is/are doing||was/were doing|
|have/has been doing||had been doing|
|was/were doing||had been doing|
|Had been doing||had been doing(no change)|
|Will be doing||would be doing|
|Will have been doing||would have been doing|
Example the verb “to be” in reported speech.
Example of the verb “to do“.
|Used to||used to (no change)|
|am/is/are going to do||was/were going to do|
Reported speech and modal verbs (modals)
|Might||might (no change)|
|Ought to||ought to(no change)|
|Have to/has to||had to|
have to and need to actually are not modal verbs, but they are ordinary verbs that are always followed by an infinitive without “to” just like modal verbs.
Learn more about modal verbs in English from here:
Place/time expressions in modal verbs
Changement from the original sentence (quote) to reported speech doesn’t apply only on tenses actually, but it does apply also on time and place.
|Yesterday||the day before|
|Tomorrow||the day after|
|Next week||the following week|
|Anna says: I did my homework
|Anna said that she had done her
homework the day before
|John says: I will go to the gym
|John said that he would go to the
gym the day after.
|Bella says: Yesterday was a great
|Bella said that the day before was a great festival there.|
So, like we said, in order to use reported speech rules or indirect speech rules. We change it into one tense back. And we have seen that we use reported speech to report what somebody has said.
If somebody has told you something, this is going to be a “quote”. The “quote”, means you copy the person’s words exactly. So, in indirect speech, we change the quoted into reported speech.
So now, let’s see some examples, sentences, and some statements of everything we saw in this lesson in order to make things clear.
Reported speech in all tenses “Table examples”:
|Present simple||she said ”I like the
|she said that she liked the green color|
|Present continuous||she said “I’m
|she said that she was
|Past simple||she said “I lived in my parent’s house”||she said that she had
lived in her parent’s house
|Past continuous||she said “I was watching tv”||she said that she had been watching tv|
|Present perfect||she said “I have seen a new movie”||she said that she had
seen a new movie
|Past perfect||she said “I had
|she said that she had
Reported speech with modals “Table examples”:
|Will||she said “I will study
|she said that she
would study hard
|Would||she said “I would study hard”||she said that she would study hard|
|Can||she said “I can do this”||she said that she could do that|
|Could||she said “I could
|she said that she
could speak English
|Shall||I shall come with you||she said that she
would come with him
|Should||she said “I should
wake up early”
|she said that she
should wake up early
|Might||she said “I might be a child but I’m smart”||she said that she
might be a child but she is smart
|Must||she said “I must win
|she said that she had
to win that game
Reported speech Questions form.”Table examples”
|what are you doing?||she asked what I was doing.|
|Where is your sister?||she asked me where my sister was.|
|What is your favorite color?||she asked me what my favorite
|What is your favorite country?||She asked me what was
my favorite country.
Yes/no questions in the reported speech:
In the yes/no questions, and suggestions we usually use “if”.
|Do you like fruit?||She asked me if I liked fruit|
|Do you have anything for me?||She asked me if I had something for her.|
|Are you studying?||She asked me if I was studying.|
|Do you like horror movies?||She asked me if I liked horror movies.|
|where does he live?||She asked me where did he live.|
Reported speech suggestions:
|Could you open the door, please!||She asked him if he could open the door.|
you may notice or ask why the verb “live” stay in its base form and hasn’t changed to “lived“.
Because we said that the verb changes into one tense back.
Actually we have two reasons here.
First, we have two verbs here that are: “do and live”. The first one “do” has already changed to “did”.
Secondly, any verb comes after did stays in its base form.
did + base verb
Requests in the reported speech:
|Could you help me, please?||She asked me to help her.|
|Be quiet, please.||She asked me to be quiet.|
|Please to review the book I wrote.||She asked me to review the book she wrote.|
In the negative form we use “not”:
|Don’t make noise, please||She asked me to not make noise.|
|Don’t be lazy.||She asked me to not be lazy.|
|Don’t eat quickly.||She asked me to not eat quickly.|
you can check more details about indirect speech on wikipidia