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REPORTED SPEECH

REPORTING STATEMENTS

• When we change a sentence from


Direct Speech to Reported Speech, pronouns and possessive
adjectives change according to the context.
E.g. Liz said, ‘I can’t find my keys.’
• When the reporting verb is in the Past Simple, we make the following
changes:

DIRECT SPEECH REPORTED SPEECH


Present Simple Julie said, ‘I play Past Simple Julie said (that) she
tennis every played tennis every
Saturday.
Saturday.’
Present John said, ‘I’m Past Progressive John said (that) he
Progressive working.’ was working.
Past Simple Ian said, ‘I turned Past Perfect Ian said (that) he
the lights off.’ Simple had turned the
lights off.
Present Perfect Sandra said, ‘I’ve Past Perfect Sandra said (that) she
Simple never travelled Simple had never travelled
abroad.’ abroad.
Present Perfect Andy said, ‘I’ve Past Perfect Andy said (that) he
Progressive been waiting for an Progressive had been waiting for
hour!’ an hour.
Will ‘I’ll wait for you,’ Would Alex said (that) he
said Alex. would wait for me.
Can Simon said, ‘I can’t Could Simon said (that)
fix it!’ he couldn’t fix it.
May Catherine said, ‘I Might Catherine said (that)
may have this she might have his
number.’ number.
Must Bill said, ‘I must Had to Bill said (that) he
work hard!’ had to work hard.
Conditional Diane said, ‘If we take a Conditional Diane said (that) if they
Sentences Type 1 taxi, we’ll get there Sentences Type 2 took a taxi, they would
quicker.’ get there quicker.
This / these She said, ‘These That / those She said (that)
shoes are very those shoes were
tight.’ very tight.
Here Eric said, ‘I saw it There Eric said (that) he
here.’ had seen it there.
Now Mandy said, ‘I’ll talk Then Mandy said (that)
to him now.’ she would talk to
him then.
Today / tonight Dave said, ‘They’re That day / that Dave said (that) they
arriving tonight.’ night were arriving that
night.
Yesterday Donald said, ‘They The previous Donald said (that)
arrived yesterday.’ day / the day they were arriving
before that night.
Tomorrow Kate said, ‘I’ll see The next day / Kate said (that) she
them tomorrow.’ the following day would see them the
following day.
Last week / Ron said, ‘I saw him The previous Ron said (that) he had
month, etc last weekend.’ week, etc. / the seen him the previous
weekend.
week, etc. before
Next week / Paul said, ‘I’ll be in The following Paul said (that) he
month, etc. Brazil next week.’ week / month, would be in Brazil the
following week.
etc.

REPORTING QUESTIONS

• To change questions from Direct Speech into Reported


Speech, we change tenses, pronouns, and other words
just as in reported statements.
• Reported questions begin with the reporting verbs
ask, wonder and want to know.
E.g. ‘Where are you going?’ asked Martha Martha
wanted to know where I was going.
• Reported questions follow the word order of affirmative sentences, ie.
subject + verb + object. There is a full stop, not a question mark at the end
of a reported question.
‘Do you play golf?’ he asked He asked me if I played golf.
• When the direct question begins with a question word (who, what, which,
whose, where, when, why, how), the reported question also begins with the
question word.
‘When are they coming back?’ she asked She wondered when they were
coming back.
• When the direct question does not begin with a question word, but with an
auxiliary verb (do/does, did, have/has, etc.), the reported question begins
with if or whether after the reporting verb.
‘Have you seen John?’ asked Mary Mary asked me if / whether I has seen
John.

REPORTING COMMANDS AND REQUESTS

• To change commands from Direct Speech into Reported Speech, we use


tell, order, etc. as reporting verbs. The imperative becomes a full infinitive.
‘Put that down!’ he said. He told me to put that down.
• To change requests from Direct Speech into Reported Speech, we used ask,
beg, etc. as reporting verbs. The Imperative becomes a full infinitive.
‘Please open a window,’ she said to me. She asked me to open a window.
‘Don’t drive so fast,’ she said to him. She asked him not to drive so fast.
REPORTED SPEECH
EXERCISES
1 Circle the correct word.

OUR FIRST BIG BREAK

My friend Jack and I are musicians and we have a small band.


Last month Jack told me we would be meeting / are meeting
the owner of a club to discuss the possibility of doing a gig there.
Jack said that it was / has been the big break our band had
been waiting for. I was thrilled and told him that we must do /
had to do our best to make a good impression.
The owner wanted to know what kind of music we played / are
playing and asked all sorts of questions. When all the details had
been discussed, we asked how much would be / we would get paid. ‘What? You
want money too?’ was his reaction. He went on to say that he is offering / was
offering us the opportunity of a lifetime and that we should be grateful for that. We
refused to do the gig and left.
As we were walking down the road, we saw an old friend we hadn’t seen in a long
time. Our friend told us that he had been opened / had opened a new club and
asked us if we would be / would have been interested in playing there. He said he
would pay / was paid us $300 a week!

2 Read the conversation. Then complete the diary entry. Use one word in each gap.

Emma: I’m really stressed! Someone at college is being horrible to me.


Becky: Someone did the same thing to me once. I spoke to her and she stopped
criticizing me.
Emma: Speaking to her will make things worse!
Becky: You must do something. You can’t ignore it.

Emma (0) told me that she (1) ………………… really stressed. She
(2) ………………… that someone at college was being horrible to
(3) ………………… I said that someone (4) ………………… done the
same thing to me once. I (5) ………………… her that I’d spoken to
the girl and that she (6) ………………… stopped criticizing me.
Emma said that speaking to her (7) ………………… make things
worse. I told (8) ………………… that she (9) ………………… to do
something and that she (10) …………………n’t ignore it.
3 Rewrite the sentences using Direct Speech.

1. Kelly told her parents that she wanted to become an actress.


‘Mum, Dad, I want to become an actress!’ said Kelly.

2. Jan suggested trying to finish the project by Friday.


_______________________________________________________________
3. Peter told Tom that he couldn’t be there on time.
_______________________________________________________________
4. Mary told us that she had never met Larry’s brother before.
_______________________________________________________________
5. Charlie said that he would be working all day that day.
_______________________________________________________________
6. My father told me that if I disobeyed, I would get into serious trouble.
_______________________________________________________________
7. My sister wanted to know what time Brian was meeting us.
_______________________________________________________________
8. The policeman ordered me to give him my passport immediately.
_______________________________________________________________

4 Complete the reported statements.

Nikki and Jessica met in a café two weeks ago. Now Nikki is
reporting their conversation to a friend.
E.g. ‘I love the food at this café,’ Jessica said.
Jessica said that she loved the food at that café.

1. ‘I saw Helen this afternoon,’ she told me.


She told me that she’d seen Helen
……………………………………
2. ‘I saw her yesterday,’ I said.
I said that I’d seen her …………………………………………………
3. ‘My brother called two hours ago. He’s going to meet me here.’ I told her.
I told her that my brother ………………………. ……………………………. and that he
……………… ………………………………………………………
4. ‘We ‘re going bowling tonight,’ I said.
I said that we were going bowling ……………………………………
5. ‘I don’t have enough money for my coffee now. I’ll pay you back next week,’ she
said.
She said that she didn’t have enough money for her coffee …………………… and
that she
…………………………………………………………………………………………………. She
still hasn’t paid me!

5 Report the following questions.


E.g. ‘Where can I get some tissues?’ she asked.
She asked where she could get some tissues.

1. ‘When are you going to visit us?’ he asked us.


He asked …………………………………………………………………………
2. ‘Why is everybody looking at me?’ I asked.
I wanted …………………………………………………………………………
3. ‘What sports do you do at college?’ Joe asked me.
Joe asked …………………………………………………………………………
4. ‘What has your brother decided to do?’ I asked her.
I wanted ………………………………………………………………………….
5. ‘How did you get to the beach?’ I asked them.
I asked ……………………………………………………………………………
6. ‘How long have you been here?’ they asked us.
They asked ……………………………………………………………………....
7. ‘Who won’t be here next week?’ the tennis coach asked.
The tennis coach wanted ……………………………………………………….
8. ‘How much did you pay for your ticket?’ she asked him.
She asked ………………………………………………………………………..
9. ‘How often do your cousins stay with you?’ I asked her.
I asked ……………………………………………………………………………
10. ‘Where’s Kate?’ I asked.
I wanted ………………………………………………………………………….

6 Circle the correct answer.

Jessica works at a theatre. Last week there was a small fire there. Now she’s telling a
friend about it.

E.g. ‘Open the fire exits!’ the manager said.


The manager asked / ordered some people open / to open the fire
exits.

1. ‘Stay calm and don’t run,’ he said to the audience.


He told the audience stay / to stay calm and to not / not to run.
2. ‘Help the audience leave,’ he said.
He told / said some of us to / that we help the audience leave.
3. ‘Could you get my coat from the cloakroom, please?’ a woman in the audience
said.
A woman in the audience asked / ordered me get / to get her coat from the
cloakroom.
4. ‘I’ll get it for you later,’ I said.
I told / said to her to / that I’d get it for her later.
5. ‘Move away from the building,’ the fire officers said to us.
The fire officers asked / said us move / to move away from the building.
6. ‘Are you OK?’ the manager asked me.
After the fire, the manager told / asked me if / that I was OK.