Read about using reported speech below. Then, when you are ready, try these reported speech practice exercises.

Direct and reported (indirect) speech

But you said you loved him!

Direct speech is the exact words spoken. For example:

"I love Chris," said Susan.

Reported (or indirect) speech is when we tell other people what someone said before.

She said that she loved Chris.

 

There are four things you need to remember to change.

For example: "I 'll meet you here tomorrow night" changes to ...

She said she 'd meet me there the following night.

1. The tense: If the events are now in the past, you need to change the verbs to the past forms.

present simple  →  past simple
present continuous  →  past continuous
present perfect  →  past perfect
will  →  would
shall  →  should
must  →  had to
can  →  could
is going to  →  was going to

The past simple can change to the past perfect, but this isn't usually necessary.

2. The pronouns: Words like 'I' and 'his' and 'they' change if the people speaking have changed.

3. Some time expressions: Words like yesterday or tomorrow may not be true any more. You might need to change time expressions like these.

Past (e.g. yesterday): the day/week before or the previous day/week.

Today (e.g. this morning): that morning/day.

Future (e.g. next week): the following day/week or the next day/week.

4. Some place words: If the place has changed, here should change to there.


 Now try these reported speech practice exercises.