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INDIRECT OR REPORTED SPEECH

DIRECT SPEECH: Paul said to me: I have lost my watch


REPORTED SPEECH: ( The following day I see Mary and I tell her what Paul said to me)
He said (that) he had lost his watch.

STATEMENTS IN REPORTED SPEECH


a. When the introductory verb is in the present, present perfect or future tense, we can
report the direct speech without any change of tense:

Paul (phoning from the station): Im trying to get a taxi.

Ann (to Mary, who is standing beside her): Paul says (that) he is trying to get a
taxi.

b. When the introductory verb is in the past tense (which is the usual case) tenses in
reported speech follow these changes:
DIRECT SPEECH

REPORTED SPEECH

Present simple

Past simple

He said: Tom loves music


Present continuous

He said that Tom loved music


Past continuous

He said: Tom isnt coming to the cinema


Past simple

He said that Tom wasnt coming to the cinema


Past Perfect

He said: Tom didnt finish his homework


Present Perfect

He said that Tom hadnt finished his homework.


Past Perfect

He said: Tom has been to America twice


Past continuous

He said that Tom had been to America twice.


Past Perfect Continuous

He said: Tom was dancing with Mary


Will

He said that Tom had been dancing with Mary


Would

He said: Tom will get the tickets


Can

He said that Tom would get the tickets.


Could

He said: Tom can play the piano very well


Must (obligation)

He said that Tom could play the piano very well.


Had to

He said: Tom must help his mother

He said that Tom had to help his mother.

NOTE 1: Personal pronouns and possessive adjectives usually change as in Spanish:

Tom said to me: Im not laughing at you

Tom said that he wasnt laughing at me.

NOTE 2: The expressions of time and place also change:

Tom said to me: Well stay here tonight

Tom said that we would stay there that night.

DIRECT SPEECH

REPORTED SPEECH

Here
This
These
Now
Next week
Today
Tonight
Tomorrow
Yesterday
Last week

There
That
Those
Then
The following week
That day
That night
The following day/ the next day
The day before/ the previous day
The week before/ the previous week

REPORTING VERBS IN STATEMENTS


The most common are SAY and TELL, but they have different structures:

He said that ...

He said to me that ...

He told me that ...

( BUT WE CANT SAY * He told that... OR * He said me that...)


Other reporting verbs for statements are EXPLAIN, ADMIT, CONFESS, DECLARE, ACCEPT,
ANSWER, ARGUE,

QUESTIONS IN REPORTED SPEECH


WH-QUESTIONS
DIRECT QUESTION:

YES/NO QUESTIONS
DIRECT QUESTION:

He asked: Where is she going?

He asked: Are you listening to me?

REPORTED QUESTION:

REPORTED QUESTION:

He asked where she was going.

He asked if I was listening to him, or


He asked whether I was listening to him.

a. Tenses, adverbs, pronouns, and possessive adjectives change as in statements.

What happened to you? she said.

She asked what had happened to me.

b. We can use as reporting verbs the following: ASK, WONDER, WANT TO KNOW, etc.).
These are the structures you can use:

c.

He asked what time it was.

He asked me what time it was.

He wanted to know what time it was.

He wondered what time it was

If the direct question begins with a question word (when, why, how, etc.) this word is
repeated in the reported question.

d. If there is no question word in the direct question,, IF or WHETHER must be used in the
indirect question:

Is anyone there? he asked.

He asked if/whether anyone was there.

e. There is no change in word order in reported questions, and no auxiliaries are needed:
What time do you come to school every day?, she wanted to
know
She wanted to know what time I came to school every day.

COMMANDS AND REQUESTS IN REPORTED SPEECH.


DIRECT COMMANDS
AFFIRMATIVE: He said: Please lie down, Tom

REPORTED COMMANDS
He told Tom to lie down.

NEGATIVE:

She asked the kids not to run so fast

She said: Dont run so fast, kids

a. Reported commands and requests are usually expressed by this structure:


VERB OF COMMAND / REQUEST + OBJECT + (NOT) TO INFINITIVE
b. The following verbs can be used: advise, ask, beg, invite, order, request, tell, warn, etc.
The teacher warned us not to cheat in the exam.
The child begged his mother to let him go to the party that night.
The sergeant ordered his soldiers to attack the enemy.
He warned me not to tell anybody about the meeting.
TURN THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS, QUESTIONS AND COMMANDS INTO REPORTED
SPEECH
STATEMENTS
1.

My house is being redecorated tomorrow, he told his boss.

2.

My husband will leave at six oclock this evening, she explained.

3.

My sister told me a really ridiculous joke last night, John told me.

4.

Ive forgotten to take my suitcase, Jim said to his wife.

5.

The boss is examining your work now, the worker told me.

6.

We can save many trees by recycling paper, the ecologists argued.

QUESTIONS
1. Whats your favourite comedy programme?, Mary asked John.

2. Does your dog know its way home?, Tom asked me.

3. When will my car be ready?, he asked the mechanic.

4. How far is the station from the hotel?, the girl wanted to know.

5. Have you ever visited the Tate Gallery in London?, Tom asked me.

6. Where did you go last summer?, she asked him.

7. What time does the exam start tomorrow?, the students asked.

COMMANDS AND REQUESTS


1.

Dont play any jokes on them, she said to me.

2.

Please, dont smoke in my office , She said to them.

3.

Keep quiet!, the nurse said to the visitors.