Reported speech

  • If the reporting verb is in the Present or Future tense (e.g., say, will say) there is no change in the tense of the verb in the Indirect speech.
    James says, “I eat an apple”.
    James says that he eats an apple”. 
  • If Reporting Verb is in the Past Tense. the tense of the verbs in the reported speech or Indirect Speech must be generally changed.
1. Present Tense in the Direct becomespast tense.

Present tense: Ahmed said, “I write a letter”.
past tense: Ahmed said that he wrote a letter.

2.Past Tense in the direct becomes past perfect.
  Rachid said, “I bought a pen yesterday”.
Rachid said that she had bought a pen the day before.

3.Present Continuous in the direct becomes past continuous.
Jamal said, “I am going to school”.
Jamal said that he was going to school.

4.Past Continuous in the direct becomes past perfect continuous.
Farid said, “I was playing chess with my friend”.
Farid said that he had been playing chess with his friend.

5.Present Perfect in the direct becomes past perfect.
Kamal said, “I have finished my home work”.
kamal said that he had finished his home work.

6.Present Perfect Continuous in the direct becomes past perfect continuous.
He said, “I have been writing a short story”.
He said that he had been writing a short story.

7.‘Will’ and ‘Shall’ are changed to ‘would’.
He said, “I will go to Fes tomorrow”. 
He said that he would go to Fes the next day.

8.Modals in reported speech :

 Direct speech
indirect speech  
had to
ought to

must/ had to
had to
ought to

Farid said, “I must go now”.
Farid said that she must (or) had to go then. 
9 . Expressions of timeand place in reported speech

     Direct speech
   indirect speech
 lasl week
 next week
 that day
 that night
 the day before/ the previous day
 the next day/ the following day
 the week before
 the week after

10.Statement in reported speech :
Rules :
  • Remove the quotation marks in the statement
  • Use the conjuction ‘that’
  • Change the reporting verb ‘say to’ into ‘tell’
  • Change the reporting verb ‘said to’ into ‘told’
  • He said that (correct)
  • He told me that (correct)
  • He told that (Incorrect)
1. “Iwill travel tomorrow” said Samir
Samir said he would travel the following day.

2. “You can use my car” said Ahmed to Ali 
Ahmed  told Ali that he could use his car.

3. He says, “I am happy to be here this morning”
He says that he is happy to be there that morning.

4. “I‘m going to the market now” said James
James said that he was going to the market then.

11.ImperativeSentence (Order or Request)in reported speech.
Rules :
  • Remove the quotation mark in an Imperative sentence.
  • Use ‘to’ if it is an affirmative sentence. (without don‘t)
  • Use ‘not to’ if the sentence begins without Don‘t.
  • Don‘t use ‘that’
  • Omit the word ‘please’. Use the word ‘request’ instead of ‘say’.
  • If the direct speech contains a request or a command, the reporting verb (say, said) change to tell, request, order, command etc. In its correct tense.
1. “Don‘tplay in the class” said the teacher to the boys. 

The teacher advised the boys not to play in the class.

2.“Please give me a pen to copy this essay” the student said to them.
The student requested them to give him a pen to copy that essay .

3. “Be careful” said he to her.

He ordered her to be careful.

4. “Bring me a cup of tea” said Jane to John.

Jane asked John to bring her a cup of tea.

12.Interrogative Sentence (Questions) in reported speech.
Rules :
  • Remove the quotation marks and question mark in the interrogative sentence.
  • Use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ if the sentence inside the quotation marks begins with a helping verb (Auxiliary verb).
  • Use the given interrogative word (what, when, where, why, who, whom, whose, which, now etc.) if it does not begin with the helping verb.
  • Don‘t use ‘that’
  • Changing the reporting verb (say, said) into ‘ask’ or ‘enquire’ in its correct tense.
  • Omit helping verb like ‘do, does, did’. But don’t omit them when they are with ‘not’.
1. “Won’tyou help me to write a paragraph?” said I to my friend.
I asked my friend if he would not help me to write a paragraph. 

2. Samir said to Fatima, “Why did not you attend the English class yesterday”?
Samir asked Fatima why she had not attended the English class the day before.

3.“How often do you go to school?” said Samir to Fatima.
Samir asked Fatima how often she went to school.

4. Fatima said to Samir, “Do you like reading books?”
Fatima asked Samir if he liked  reading books.