Let's Revise Reported Speech!


Table of Reported Speech Tenses.


     Present Simple tense into Past Simple
     Present Continuous tense into Past Continuous
     Present Perfect tense into Past Perfect 
     Present Perfect Continuous into Past Perfect Continuous
     Past Simple into Past Perfect
     Past Continuous into Past Perfect Continuous
     Past Perfect into Past Perfect
     Future simple, will into would 

     Am/Is/Are Going to into Was/Were Going to

     Future Continuous, will be into would be
      Future Perfect, will have into would have






                                                  PRESENT TENSE

                           PRESENT SIMPLE changes into PAST SIMPLE

He said, “I write a letter”

She said, “he goes to school daily”

They said, “we love our country”

He said, “he does not like computer”

He said that he wrote a letter.

He said that she went to school daily.

They said that they loved their country

He said that he did not like computer.

                PRESENT CONTINUOUS changes into PAST CONTINUOUS

He said, “he is listening to the music”

She said, “I am washing my clothes”

They said, “we are enjoying the weather”

I said, “it is raining”
She said, “I am not laughing”

He said that he was listening to the music.

She said that she was washing her clothes.

They said that they were not enjoying the weather.

She said that she was not laughing.

                         PRESENT PERFECT changes into PAST PERFECT

She said, “he has finished his work”

He said, “I have started a job”

I said, “she have eaten the meal”

They said, “we have not gone to New York.

She said that he had finished his work.

He said that he had started a job.

I said that she had eaten the meal.

They said that they had not gone to New York.


He said, “I have been studying since 3 O’clock”

She said, “It has been raining for three days.”

I said, “She has been working in this office since 2007”

He said that he had been studying since 3 O’clock.

She said that it been raining for three days.

I said that she had been working in this office since 2007.

                                                      PAST TENSE

                             PAST SIMPLE changes into PAST PERFECT

He said to me, “you answered correctly”

John said, “they went to cinema” 

He said, “I made a table”
She said, “I didn’t buy a car”

He said to me that I had answered correctly.

John said that they had gone to cinema.

He said that he had made a table.

She said that she had not bought a car.


They said, “we were enjoying the weather”

He said to me, “ I was waiting for you”

I said, “It was raining”
She said, “I was not laughing”

They said that they had been enjoying.

He said to me that he had been waiting for me.
I said that it had been raining.

She said that she not been laughing.

      PAST PERFECT changes into PAST PERFECT (tense does not change)

She said, “She had visited a doctor”

He said, “I had started a business”

I said, “she had eaten the meal”

They said, “we had not gone to New York.

She said that she had visited a doctor.

He said that he had started a business.

I said that she had eaten the meal.

They said they had not gone to New York.

                                                      FUTURE TENSE

WILL changes into WOULD

He said, “I will study the book”

She said, “I will buy a computer”

They said to me, “we will send you gifts”

I said, “I will not take the exam”

He said that he would study the book.

She said that she would buy a computer.

They said to me that they would send you gifts.

I said that I would not take the exam.

WILL BE changes into WOULD BE

I said to him, “ I will be waiting for him”

She said,” I will be shifting to new home”

He said, “I will be working hard”

He said, “he will not be flying kite”

I said to him that I would be waiting for him.

She said that she would be shifting to a new home.

He said that he would be working hard.

She said that he would not be flying kites.


He said, “I will have finished the work”

She said, “they will have passed the examination”

He said, “I will have gone”

He said that he would have finished the work.

She said that they would have passed the examination.

He said that he would have gone.

Note: The tense of reported speech may not change if reported speech is a universal truth though its reporting verb belongs to past tense.

       Direct speech: He said, “Mathematics is a science”
       Indirect Speech: He said that mathematics is a science.
       Direct speech: He said, “Sun rises in east”
       Indirect Speech: He said that sun rises in east. (Tense didn’t change because                                    reported speech is a universal truth thought its reporting verb                                    belongs to past tense)




Indirect speech for sentence having MODALS, “can, may, must,

Present modals are changed to past modals

Direct Speech

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech for sentence having MODALS,
“can, may, must, should, ought to”

CAN changes into COULD

He said, “I can drive a car”

She said, “he can play a violin.”

They said, “we can climb on a hill”
He said that he could drive a car.

She said that he could play a violin.

They said that they can climb on a hill.

MAY changes into MIGHT

He said, “I may buy a computer”

She said, “he may visit a doctor.”

They said, “they may go to zoo”

He said that he might buy a computer.

She said that he might visit a doctor.

They said that they might go to zoo.

MUST changes into HAD TO

He said, “I must work hard”

She said, “they must carry on their work”

I said to him, “you must learn the test-taking strategies”

He said that he had to work hard.

She said that they had to carry on their work.

I said to him that he had to learn the test-taking strategies.

Indirect speech for sentence having MODALS, should, ought to, might, would, and could”

The modal will not change in indirect speech

Direct Speech

Indirect Speech

Would, could, might,  should, ought to”


They said, “we would apply for a visa”

He said, “I would start a business.

She said, “I would appear in exam”

They said that they would apply for visa.

He said that he would start a business.

She said that she would appear in the exam.


She said, “she could play a piano”

They said, “we couldn’t learn the lesson”

He said, “I could run faster”

She said that she could play a violin.

They said they couldn’t learn the lesson.

He said that he could run faster.


He said, “guests might come”

She said, “it might rain”

John said, “I might meet him”

He said that guest might come.

She said that it might rain.

John said that he might meet him.


He said, “I should avail the opportunity”

She said, “I should help a him”

They said, “we should take the exam”

He said that he should avail the opportunity.

She said that she should help him.

They said that they should take the exam.

Ought to

He said to me, “you ought to wait for him”

She said, “I ought to learn method of study”

They said, we ought to attend our classes”

He said to me that I ought to wait for him.

She said that she ought to learn method of study.

They said that they ought to attend their classes.


Reporting Verbs

We use reporting verbs to report what someone said more accurately than using say and tell.

Verb + infinitive

agree, decide, offer, promise, refuse, threaten

  • They agreed to meet on Friday.
  • He refused to take his coat off.

Verb + object + infinitive

advise, encourage, invite, remind, warn

  • Tom advised me to go home early.
  • She reminded me to telephone my mother.

Verb + gerund

deny, recommend, suggest

  • They recommended taking the bus.
  • She suggested meeting a little earlier.

Verb + object + preposition (+ gerund)

accuse, blame, congratulate

  • He accused me of taking the money.
  • They congratulated me on passing all my exams.

Verb + preposition + gerund

apologise, insist

  • They apologised for not coming.
  • He insisted on having dinner.

Verb + (that) + subject + verb

admit, agree, decide, deny, explain, insist, promise, recommend, suggest

  • Sarah decided (that) the house needed cleaning.
  • They recommended (that) we take the bus.

Reported Questions

Reported questions are one form of reported speech.

direct question reported question
She said: "Are you cold?" She asked me if I was cold.
He said: "Where's my pen?" He asked where his pen was.

We usually introduce reported questions with the verb "ask":

  • He asked (me) if/whether... (YES/NO questions)
  • He asked (me) why/when/where/what/how... (question-word questions)

As with reported statements, we may need to change pronouns and tense (backshift) as well as time and place in reported questions.

But we also need to change the word order. After we report a question, it is no longer a question (and in writing there is no question mark). The word order is like that of a normal statement (subject-verb-object).

Reported YES/NO questions

We introduce reported YES/NO questions with ask + if:

direct question She said, "Do you like coffee?"
reported question She asked if I liked coffee.

Note that in the above example the reported question has no auxiliary "do". But there is pronoun change and backshift.

Note that we sometimes use "whether" instead of "if". The meaning is the same. "Whether" is a little more formal and more usual in writing:

  • They asked us if we wanted lunch.
  • They asked us whether we wanted lunch.

Reported question-word questions

We introduce reported question-word questions with ask + question word:

direct question He said, "Where do you live?"
reported question He asked me where I lived.

Note that in the above example the reported question has no auxiliary "do". But there is pronoun change and backshift.

Remember that there are basically three types of question:

  1. YES/NO questions: Do you want tea?
  2. Question Word questions: Where did you drink tea?
  3. Choice questions: Do you prefer tea or coffee?

Reported choice questions have the same structure as Reported YES/NO questions. Questions with the verb BE always have a different structure: Was the tea cold? Where is my tea? You can see all these differences in the examples below.

Look at these example sentences:

  direct question reported question
YES/NO questions I said: "Can I help you?" I asked if I could help her.
She said to us: "Did you feel cold?" She asked if we had felt cold.
He said: "Are your hands cold?" He asked whether my hands were cold.
question-word questions He said: "Where are you going?" He asked me where I was going.
He said: "Why didn't you say something?" He asked me why I hadn't said anything.
He said: "When will they come?" He asked when they would come.
He said: "Who has seen Avatar?" He asked me who had seen Avatar.
He said: "How much might it cost?" He asked me how much it might cost.
She said to me: "Where is the station?" She asked me where the station was.
choice questions He asked, "Do you want tea or coffee?" He asked whether I wanted tea or coffee.
He said, "Is the car new or second-hand?" He asked whether the car was new or second-hand.

Reported Orders, Commands and Requests 

  • Reported Orders, Commands and Requests are formed using the to-infinitive and not to-infinitive.
  • The reporting verbs for the orders/ commands/ requests are: order, shout, demand, warn, beg, command, tell, insist, beseech, threaten, implore, ask, propose, forbid…
  • When we change from direct to indirect speech, the pronoun and tense changes that are also needed.



Direct speech: “Open the door!”

Reported speech: He ordered me to open the door.


Direct speech: “Don’t answer the phone.”

Reported speech: She told me not to answer the phone.


Direct speech: “Don’t be back late.”

Reported speech: He ordered me not to be back late.


Direct speech: He said to me “Come with me.”

Reported speech:He told me to go with him.


Direct speech: He said to me, “Don’t lie to me.”

Reported speech:He told me not to lie to him.


Direct speech: “Turn the music down! I’m trying to get to sleep.“

Reported speech:He told us to turn the music down as he was trying to get to sleep.


Direct speech: “I think you should leave now. It’s very late.” 

Reported speech:She ordered us to leave as it was very late.

Changes in Reported Speech: Some words and phrases also change:
Demonstrative Adjectives
this→ that
these→ those
Adverbs of Place and Time:
here→ there
now→ then
today→ that day
yesterday→ the day before/the previous day
tomorrow→ the day after/ the following day
at this moment→ at that moment
last→ previous
next→ following
Personal Pronouns
Possessive Adjectives


Now follow these links and do the exercises:
Fuente: Created by Susan Zilberstein
Fecha: 4/11/2020 | Creado por: Susana Beatriz
Categoria: Grammar Time
Etiquetas: Zilberstein, Susan, 2020, B1+, Inglés, Almagro