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REPORTED SPEECH

Indirect style, unlike direct style, does not use quotation marks and does not need to be
word by word. In general, when the indirect style is used, the verb tense changes. Below is
an explanation of the changes suffered by verb tenses.

Sometimes "that" is used in the affirmative and negative phrases to introduce what the
other person has said. On the other hand, in the interrogative phrases you can use "if" or
"if"

Direct speech vs Reported speech:

Tense Direct Speech Reported Speech


present I like ice cream She said (that) she liked ice cream.
simple
present I am living in She said (that) she was living in London.
continuous London
past simple I bought a car She said (that) she had bought a car OR
She said (that) she bought a car.
past I was walking She said (that) she had been walking along
continuous along the street the street.
present I haven't seen She said (that) she hadn't seen Julie.
perfect Julie
past perfect* I had taken She said (that) she had taken English
English lessons lessons before.
before
will I'll see you later She said (that) she would see me later.
would* I would help, She said (that) she would help but...
but..”
can I can speak perfect She said (that) she could speak perfect
English English.
could* I could swim when She said (that) she could swim when she
I was four was four.
shall I shall come later She said (that) she would come later.
should* I should call my She said (that) she should call her mother
mother
might* I might be late She said (that) she might be late
must I must study at the She said (that) she must study at the
weekend weekend OR She said she had to study at
the weekend

How to use the reported speech

Starting from a sentence in indirect style, we must follow the following steps to pass it to
indirect style:

Define the type of prayer:

 Affirmation
 Question
 Suggestion / order

You can see this in more detail in this post about the reported speech

 Define in what tense the introductory sentence is: the introductory sentence is
that it will become the main clause in the new sentence in indirect style. This may
be either present or at some past time. If present, it will not be necessary to
change the subordinate verb; if it is in a past time it will be necessary to change it
so that it agrees. For example:

 Paul always says: "those were the best years of my life"> Paul always says
those were the best years of his life.
 Paul said: "those were the best years of my life"> Paul said those had been the
best years of his life.
 Define if the person should be changed (the personal pronoun): as with verbs, the
person must also agree when we pass a sentence in indirect style. This may
involve, in some cases, a change in personal and possessive pronouns (not when
referring to a third person). For example:

 Andrew said: "it is all my fault"> Andrew sad it was all his fault
 Mary told me "you are my best friend"> MAry told me I was her best friend
 Robert said: "the guests are about to arrive"> Robert said the guests were
about to arrive.

 Define whether verbal tenses should be matched: as we said before, if the verb in
the introductory sentence is not present, that means that the verb tenses will have
to be changed to agree. Here we leave you a chop, so that you know that tense
replaces each one:

 Present simple> Past Simple


 Past Simple> Past Perfect
 Present perfect> Past Perfect
 Past perfect> Past Perfect
 Will (future)> Would

If we look closely, what these verbs do is to take a "step back in time". Keep this in mind
and this will help you.

 Define whether the expressions of time and place should be changed: as with
verbs, these expressions must conform to the new time of the indirect style.
Besides, not only time changes, also the place is susceptible to be dstinto.
Although the change will not always be necessary, the decision must be made
taking into account the agreement, for example:

 This afternoon> that afternoon


 Today> that day
 Now> then
 A week ago> a week before
 Next month> the following month
 Tomorrow> the following / next day
 Here> There
Examples:

1. My uncle said that he was going to Florida.

2. My cousin said that he was too tired.

3. He said that he liked it very much.

4. He asked me where I was going.

5. My sister said that English is easy for her.

6. She said that she wanted to kiss you.

7. They asked me how I was yesterday.

8. He asked her if she liked his new car.

9. She asked if I was going to eat in the cafeteria.

10. She told me that she couldn’t finish her homework.

11. She told her that she will never speak to him again.

12. He told us that he could not go to the party with her.

13. My boss told them that he was very busy.

14. They told me that they could not attend the meeting.

15. I asked him how much this cost.


Exercises:
a) Mary said: "I'm fed up with my boyfriend"

Mary said she _______ with _______ boyfriend.

b) Peter said: "Titanic is the best movie I've ever seen"

Peter said that Titanic _______ the best movie he _______.

c) My aunt told me, "I am going to go to Barcelona tomorrow"

My aunt told me she _______ to go to London _______.

d) The English teacher told us: "You should be able to pass the Advanced at the end of the

year"

The English teacher told us that _______ to pass the Advanced _______.

e) Sarah told me: "I will give up smoking next week"

Sarah told me she _______ smoking _______.


Solutions:
a) was fed up / her

b) was / had ever seen

c) was going / the following day

d) we should be able to / at the end of that year

e) would give up smoking / the following week