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We use reported speech to report what someone said.
When we use reported speech, we have to change the tense and the time expression used in the reported sentence. In order to do that, you have to understand the difference between direct speech and indirect speech first.
Table of contents of this lesson: Reported speech
We use indirect speech when we report what someone said without speech marks ("").
Indirect speech is also called reported speech.
- She said she was happy.
- We answered that you weren't at home.
Watch out! When using reported speech, you also have to change time expressions!
Today → Yesterday / that day
Yesterday → The day before yesterday / the day before
Last night/week/month → The night/week/month before
Tomorrow → Today / The following day
Now → Then / At that time
Change in tense
When we report what someone says in the present simple, we don’t change the tense, but we change the subject.
- Direct speech: "I'm cold", Claire says.
- Indirect speech: Claire saysshe's hot.
When we report things in the past, we change the tense.
Study the following table to know how tenses change in reported speech/indirect speech:
|Direct speech||Indirect speech|
|Present simple||Past simple|
|Past simple||Past simple|
Here's an example:
- "I'm cold", Claire said. → Claire said she was cold.
- "I didn't have time", Claire said. → Claire said she didn't have time.
Reported speech worksheet
It's time to practise!
Download the worksheet below and test yourself!
Always remember to change verb tenses and time expressions when reporting in the past!