INDIRECT SPEECH / REPORTED SPEECH

INDIRECT SPEECH / REPORTED SPEECH

Indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), doesn’t use quotation marks to enclose what the person said and it doesn’t have to be word for word.

When reporting speech the tense usually changes. This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too.

For example:

Direct speech Indirect speech
“I’m going to the cinema”, he said. He said he was going to the cinema.

 Tense change

As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right):

Direct speech Indirect speech
Present simple
She said, “It’s cold.”
Past simple
She said it was cold.
Present continuous
She said, “I’m teaching English online.”
Past continuous
She said she was teaching English online.
Present perfect simple
She said, “I’ve been on the web since 1999.”
Past perfect simple
She said she had been on the web since 1999.
Present perfect continuous
She said, “I’ve been teaching English for seven years.”
Past perfect continuous
She said she had been teaching English for seven years.
Past simple
She said, “I taught online yesterday.”
Past perfect
She said she had taught online yesterday.
Past continuous
She said, “I was teaching earlier.”
Past perfect continuous
She said she had been teaching earlier.
Past perfect
She said, “The lesson had already started when he arrived.”
Past perfect
NO CHANGE – She said the lesson had already started when he arrived.
Past perfect continuous
She said, “I’d already been teaching for five minutes.”
Past perfect continuous
NO CHANGE – She said she’d already been teaching for five minutes.

 Modal verb forms also sometimes change:

Direct speech Indirect speech
will
She said, “I’ll teach English online tomorrow.”
would
She said she would teach English online tomorrow.
can
She said, “I can teach English online.”
could
She said she could teach English online.
must
She said, “I must have a computer to teach English online.”
had to
She said she had to have a computer to teach English online.
shall
She said, “What shall we learn today?”
should
She asked what we should learn today.
may
She said, “May I open a new browser?”
might
She asked if she might open a new browser.

 Time change

If the reported sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it to fit in with the time of reporting.

For example we need to change words like here and yesterday if they have different meanings at the time and place of reporting.

Today + 24 hours – Indirect speech
“Today’s lesson is on presentations.” She said yesterday’s lesson was on presentations.
Expressions of time if reported on a different day
this (evening) that (evening)
today yesterday …
these (days) those (days)
now then
(a week) ago (a week) before
last weekend the weekend before last / the previous weekend
here there
next (week) the following (week)
tomorrow the next/following day

In addition if you report something that someone said in a different place to where you heard it you must change the place (here) to the place (there).

For example:-

At work At home
“How long have you worked here?” She asked me how long I’d worked there.

 Pronoun change

In reported speech, the pronoun often changes.

For example:

Me You
“I teach English online.” She said she teaches English online.

EXERCISE 1
EXERCISE 2
EXERCISE 3

About YONDY

LET'S LEARN ENGLISH
This entry was posted in GRADE X, GRADE XI. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s