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Reported Speech Rules

Reported Speech Rules

Reported speech


reported speech use and exercises ,rules
Example of Reported speech

Reported speech is when you tell somebody else what you or a person said before.
Distinction must be made between direct speech and reported speech.
We use reported speech in:


We use a reporting verb like (e.g. say, tell, ask, etc.) and then change the tense of what was actually said in direct speech.
Direct speech
Reported speech
He says: "I like cake."
He says that he likes cake.
She said: "I'm visiting Paris next weekend"
She said that she was visiting Paris the following weekend.

Direct Speech
Reported Speech
Simple Present
He said: "I am busy."
Simple Past
He said that he was busy.
Present Progressive
He said: "I'm looking for my books."
Past Progressive
He said that he was looking for his books.
Simple Past
He said: "I visited London last year."
Past Perfect Simple
He said that he had visited London the previous year.
Present Perfect
He said: “I’ve lived here for a long time."
Past Perfect
He said that he had lived there for a long time.
Past Perfect
He said: "They had finished the work when I arrived"
Past Perfect
He said that they had finished the work when he had arrived"
Past Progressive
He said: "I was playing football when the accident occurred"
Past Perfect Progressive
He said that he had been playing football when the accident had occurred
Present Perfect Progressive
He said:"I have been working for two hours."
Past Perfect Progressive
He said that he had been working for two hours.
Past Perfect Progressive
He said: "I had been reading a newspaper when the light went off"
Past Perfect Progressive
He said that he had been reading a newspaper when the light had gone off
Future Simple (will+verb)
He said: "I will open the door."
Conditional (would+verb)
He said that he would open the door.
Conditional (would+verb)
He said: "I would buy Mercedes if I were rich"
Conditional (would+verb)
He said that he would buy Mercedes if he had been rich"

Say and tell: to introduce reported speech we can use say or tell;
Say never has an object: he said (that)// Not he said me that
Tell always has an object; he told me (that) not he told that.
* We don't have to use that in reported speech: he said (that) he wanted to work abroad.
*we often have to change pronouns and possessive adjectives in reported speech;
I do not see my aunt very often.
Mike said that he did not see his aunt very often.

Direct speech
Repored speech
"I can do it."
He said he could do it.
"May I go out?"
He wanted to know if he might go out.
“I should call brother.”
She said she should call her brother.
"She must apply for the job."
He said that she must/had to apply for the job.
“You might be wrong.”
He said (that) I might be wrong.
“I shall come early.”
He said (that) would come early.
"They will call you."
He told her that they would call her.

The different changes of place; demonstratives and time expressions
Direct Speech
Reported Speech
Time Expressions
that day
the day before
… days ago
… days before
last week
the week before
next year
the following year
That night
the next day / the following day

Reported question:

We make reported questions with: (he) asked (me) / wanted to know/question word/if/whether+subject+verb.
* In reported questions the word order is the same as in positive sentence: I asked where he was. Not I asked where was he.
* We use if or whether when we report questions without a question word.
*we do not use the auxiliaries do, does and did in reported questions; "what do you think"===>
He asked me what I taught; not he asked me what i did think.
Tips: the changes in verb forms are the same as in reported sentences
* We sometimes use an object with asks: he asked; or he asked me.
Types of questions
Direct speech
Reported speech
With question word (what, why, where, how...)
"Why" don’t you speak English?”
He asked me why I didn’t speak English.
Without question word (yes or no questions)
“Do you speak English?”
He asked me whether / if I spoke English.
More examples:
Have you got a tin opener?’ he said.
He asked (me) if/whether I had a tin opener.
Why are they cutting the traffic?’ he wondered.
He wondered why they were cutting the traffic.
Who broke the window?’ he said.
He wanted to know who had broken the window.

Reported request

When you are asking someone to do something for you
When transforming requests and commands, check whether you have to change:
·         pronouns
·         place and time expressions
Direct speech
Reported speech
“Would you open the door, please?”
She asked me to open the door.
 “Please do not smoke”.
He asked me not to smoke.

Tenses are not relevant for requests – simply use to  / not to + verb (infinitive without "to")

For affirmative use to + infinitive (without to)
For negative requests, use not to + infinitive (without to).

Reported order (Imperative).

When someone tells you very directly to do something.
we make this into reported speech in the same way as a request. We just use 'tell' instead of 'ask':

Direct Order                Reported Order
“Go to bed!”                She told the child to go to bed.
“Don't worry!”             She told him not to worry.
For affirmative use: told+object+ to + infinitive (without to)
For negative use: told+object +not to + infinitive (without to).