Reported Speech

Educall Language Academy

We have two ways of reporting what someone else has said: Direct Speech and Indirect Speech (Reported Speech).

 Jerry : “ I’m hungry. “

Direct Speech: 


          Jerry says / said "I’m hungry."

There is no change in Direct Speech, you use the actual words of the speaker.

In writing, you put the speech you are reporting between inverted commas.

Jerry : "I’m hungry."

Indirect / Reported Speech: 


Jerry says he is hungry / Jerry said he was hungry.


If we’re reporting soon after the speech or the situation remains the same, we don’t have to change the tense; however, it’s more common to change the tense and use a past structure going back one degree as in the examples :

"I’m thirsty." >>> He said he was thirsty.

"I’ve been to Russia." >>> He said he had been to Russia.

"I’m going to work." >>> He said he was going to work.

"I work out every day." >>> He said he worked out every day.

"I’m going to learn Spanish." >>> He said he was going to learn Spanish.

"I can swim." >>> He said he could swim.

"I will talk to her." >>> He said he would talk to her.

"It may rain." >>> He said it might rain.

"I must / have to go." >>> He said he had to go.


Some modals and tense structures stay the same, they are not changed

"I should leave." >>> He said he should leave.

"I was going to quit." >>> He said he was going to quit.

"They had left before I came." >>> He said they had left before he came.


If necessary, certain place and time words can also be changed 

here >>> there

now >>> then

today >>> that day

tomorrow >>> the following day