Direct and Indirect Speech - Reported Speech

English learners often make mistakes when reporting on what someone else said.I built this ideal tool for practicing reported speech.







        Reported Speech Types  
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useful information




Phrase in Direct Speech Equivalent in Reported Speech
Simple present Simple past
"I always drink coffee", she said She said that she always drank coffee.
Present continuous Past continuous
"I am reading a book", he explained. He explained that he was reading a book
Simple past Past perfect
"Bill arrived on Saturday", he said. He said that Bill had arrived on Saturday.
Present perfect Past perfect
"I have been to Spain", he told me. He told me that he had been to Spain.
Past perfect Past perfect
"I had just turned out the light," he explained. He explained that he had just turned out the light.
Present perfect continuous Past perfect continuous
They complained, "We have been waiting for hours". They complained that they had been waiting for hours.
Past continuous Past perfect continuous
"We were living in Paris", they told me. They told me that they had been living in Paris.
Future Present conditional
"I will be in Geneva on Monday", he said. He said that he would be in Geneva on Monday.
Future continuous Conditional continuous
She said, "I'll be using the car next Friday". She said that she would be using the car next Friday.




Present simple and present continuous tenses

  • Direct speech: “I travel a lot in my job” Reported speech: He said that he travelled a lot in his job.

The present simple tense (I travel) usually changes to the past simple (he travelled) in reported speech.

  • Direct speech: “Be quiet. The baby’s sleeping.” Reported speech: She told me to be quiet because the baby was sleeping.

The present continuous usually changes to the past continuous.

NB:

  • “I work in Italy” Reported speech: He told me that he works in Italy.

It isn’t always necessary to change the tense. If something is still true now – he still works in Italy – we can use the present simple in the reported sentence.

Past simple and past continuous tenses

  • Direct speech: “We lived in China for 5 years.” Reported speech: She told me they had lived in China for 5 years.

The past simple tense (we lived) usually changes to the past perfect (they had lived) in reported speech.

  • Direct speech: “I was walking down the road when I saw the accident.” Reported speech: He told me he’d been walking down the road when he’d seen the accident.

The past continuous usually changes to the past perfect continuous.

Perfect tenses

  • Direct speech: “They’ve always been very kind to me”. Reported speech: She said they’d always been very kind to her.

The present perfect tense (have always been) usually changes to the past perfect tense (had always been).

  • Direct speech: “They had already eaten when I arrived” Reported speech: He said they’d already eaten when he’d arrived.

The past perfect tense does not change in reported speech.


Direct Speech Reported Speech
Simple forms
Simple Present Simple Past
Simple Past Past Perfect
Present Perfect
Past Perfect
will would
Progressive forms
am/are/is was/were
was/were had been
has been
had been

to change expressions of time and place
direct speech indirect speech
now then / at that time
today yesterday / that day / Tuesday / the 27th of June
yesterday the day before yesterday / the day before / Wednesday / the 5th of December
last night the night before, Thursday night
last week the week before / the previous week
tomorrow today / the next day / the following day / Friday