Reported speech


Reported speech

AReported sps we all know, speech is a way to express feelings and thoughts by making a sound or talking. We can categorize speech in many forms. Direct speech and indirect speech are two types of speech in which we describe what someone else is saying or what someone else is talking about. In Direct speech, we repeat the other person’s words. 


Carla came in and said, “I am going to the park.”


The customer said, “Food is spoiled.”

Indirect speech is also used to talk about what the other person is saying. But this time, we are not using their exact words. 


Carla came in and said that she was going to the park.

The customer complained that the food was spoiled.

Indirect speech is also called reported speech. In the above examples of reported speech, we saw few changes. Often in reported speech, the pronoun is changed, and if possible, the verb is moved back to tense.

Parts of Speech Reports

There are two parts of speech reports

1. Reporting clause

2. Reported clause

The reporting clause indicates the verb such as tell, ask, complain, says, shout, etc., whereas the reported clause indicates what the first person said. For example

Mike told me that he was thinking of eating ice cream.

The above example “told me” is reporting clause, and “he is thinking of eating ice cream” is the reported clause.

Martha said, “I need your charger.”

“Said” is reporting clause, and “I need your charger” is a reported clause. 

 Using verbs “say” or “tell.”

An alternative to using ‘say’ or ‘said’ is using ‘tell’ or ‘told’ (if we are talking in the past).

Reporting Present Simple, Present Continuous, and Present Perfect sentences.

While using reported speech, one should change Present Simple turns to Past Simple, Present Continuous turns to Past Continuous, and Present Perfect turns to Past Perfect tense.

‘I work a lot when I go to my office.’

Mark said that he worked when he went to his office.

‘The mother’s cooking!’

She told me the mother was cooking.

‘I’ve hurt my hand.’

Britney said she’d hurt her leg.

Reporting past simple and past continuous sentences

In the same way, we can change tense, past simple changes to past perfect simple, and past continuous changes to past perfect continuous tenses.

‘We lived in the united states of America for ten years

Adil told me they’d lived in the United States of America for ten years.

‘I was driving all evening.’

He told me he had been driving all evening.

Reporting past perfect sentences

 While talking in indirect speech, past perfect does not change

‘I’d tried everything, but this new vacuum cleaner was perfect.’

He said he’d tried everything, but the new vacuum cleaner was perfect.

Reported sentences with no backshift

There are some cases in which there is no backshift of tenses. If what the person has said is still applicable, then we do not change the tense.

‘I drink coffee from this café everyday.’

Harry told me that he drinks coffee from this cafe every day. I am thinking about joining him.

‘I am staying in this house for the next two years

He told me he is staying in this house for the next two years. Maybe I should meet him.

‘I have broken my leg.’

He said that he’d broken his leg.

Change in pronouns while reporting.

While using indirect speech, pronouns usually change


‘I enjoy talking to you,’ said Jim.

Jim said that he enjoyed talking to me.

‘We played piano for our music class,’ said Stephan.

Stephen told me they’d played piano for their music class.

But if you are the one who is speaking, or you are one of the persons who are speaking, then pronouns do not change.


‘I am eating my dinner.’

I told her that I was eating my dinner.

‘We want another vacation!’ we said,

We said that we wanted another vacation.

Reported Questions

If the person asks questions, then in reported speech, we eliminate the question mark and use ‘ask’ or ‘asked’ or ‘wanted to know’ instead.

‘What time is it?’

Tommy asked what time it was.


Tommy wanted to know what time it was.

“Does Ali live here?”

You asked me if Ali lived here.

Changing adverbs of Place

We also change demonstrations of Place if they are no longer applicable.


‘This is the building where my friend went missing.’

Now, if you are in front of the building, you’ll say

He said this was the building where his friend went missing.

And if you are not in front of the building, you’ll say

He said that was the building where his friend went missing.

Reported orders

In indirect speech, when you are ordering someone, you should use the verb without the subject. For example

‘Do not call me.’

You told me not to call you.

Reported Requests

And to report a request, use the verb “to ask” and the verb’s infinitive form.

“Will you give me a pen?”

He asked me to give him a pen.

Time expressions with reported speech

When you are reporting a speech, then it is mandatory to change time expression. Especially if the time reference is no longer applicable. For example

“It’s been snowing since this evening.”

Paul said it’d been raining since that evening.

“I am having party tomorrow.”

She said she had a party the following day.

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