Reported Speech



Reported speech 

When we report someone’s words we can do it in two ways. We can use direct speech with quotation marks (“I work in a bank”), or we can use reported speech (He said he worked in a bank.)

In reported speech the tenses, word-order and pronouns may be different from those in the original sentence.

Present simple and present continuous tenses

  • Direct speech: “I travel a lot in my job” Reported speech: He said that he travelled a lot in his job.
The present simple tense (I travel) usually changes to the past simple (he travelled) in reported speech.
  • Direct speech: “Be quiet. The baby’s sleeping.” Reported speech: She told me to be quiet because the baby was sleeping.
The present continuous usually changes to the past continuous.

NB:
  • “I work in Italy” Reported speech: He told me that he works in Italy.
It isn’t always necessary to change the tense. If something is still true now – he still works in Italy – we can use the present simple in the reported sentence.

Past simple and past continuous tenses


  • Direct speech: “We lived in China for 5 years.” Reported speech: She told me they had lived in China for 5 years.
The past simple tense (we lived) usually changes to the past perfect (they had lived) in reported speech.
  • Direct speech: “I was walking down the road when I saw the accident.” Reported speech: He told me he’d been walking down the road when he’d seen the accident.
The past continuous usually changes to the past perfect continuous.

Perfect tenses
  • Direct speech: “They’ve always been very kind to me”. Reported speech: She said they’d always been very kind to her.
The present perfect tense (have always been) usually changes to the past perfect tense (had always been).
  • Direct speech: “They had already eaten when I arrived” Reported speech: He said they’d already eaten when he’d arrived.
The past perfect tense does not change in reported speech.

You can find more information below:


Reported Speech