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Direct Speech / Quoted Speech

Saying exactly what someone has said is called direct speech (sometimes called quoted speech) Here what a person says appears within quotation marks ("...") and should be word for word. For example: She said, "Today's lesson is on presentations." or "Today's lesson is on presentations," she said.

Indirect Speech / Reported Speech

Indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), doesn't use quotation marks to enclose what the person said and it doesn't have to be word for word. When reporting speech the tense usually changes. This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too. For example:

Direct speech "I'm going to the cinema", he said.

Indirect speech He said he was going to the cinema.

Tense change
As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right):

Direct speech Present simple She said, "It's cold." Present continuous She said, "I'm teaching English online." Present perfect simple She said, "I've been on the web since 1999." Present perfect continuous She said, "I've been teaching English for seven years."

Indirect speech

Past simple She said it was cold. Past continuous She said she was teaching English online. Past perfect simple She said she had been on the web since 1999. Past perfect continuous She said she had been teaching English for seven years.

Past simple She said, "I taught online yesterday." Past continuous She said, "I was teaching earlier." Past perfect She said, "The lesson had already started when he arrived." Past perfect continuous She said, "I'd already been teaching for five minutes."

Past perfect She said she had taught online yesterday. Past perfect continuous She said she had been teaching earlier. Past perfect NO CHANGE - She said the lesson had already started when he arrived. Past perfect continuous NO CHANGE - She said she'd already been teaching for five minutes.

Modal verb forms also sometimes change:

Direct speech will She said, "I'll teach English online tomorrow." can She said, "I can teach English online." must She said, "I must have a computer to teach English online." shall She said, "What shall we learn today?" may She said, "May I open a new browser?"

Indirect speech

would She said she would teach English online tomorrow. could She said she could teach English online. had to She said she had to have a computer to teach English online. should She asked what we should learn today. might She asked if she might open a new browser.

!Note - There is no change to; could, would, should, might and ought to.
Direct speech "I might go to the cinema", he said. Indirect speech He said he might go to the cinema.

You can use the present tense in reported speech if you want to say that something is still true i.e. my name has always been and will always be Lynne so:-

Direct speech

Indirect speech She said her name was Lynne.

"My name is Lynne", she said.

or She said her name is Lynne.

You can also use the present tense if you are talking about a future event.

Direct speech (exact quote) "Next week's lesson is on reported speech ", she said.

Indirect speech (not exact) She said next week's lesson is on reported speech.

Time change
If the reported sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it to fit in with the time of reporting. For example we need to change words like here and yesterday if they have different meanings at the time and place of reporting.

Today "Today's lesson is on presentations."

+ 24 hours - Indirect speech She said yesterday's lesson was on presentations.

Expressions of time if reported on a different day this (evening) today these (days) now (a week) ago last weekend here next (week) tomorrow that (evening) yesterday ... those (days) then (a week) before the weekend before last / the previous weekend there the following (week) the next/following day

In addition if you report something that someone said in a different place to where you heard it you must change the place (here) to the place (there). For example:-

At work "How long have you worked here?"

At home She asked me how long I'd worked there.

Pronoun change
In reported speech, the pronoun often changes. For example:

Me "I teach English online."

You She said she teaches English online.

Reporting Verbs
Said, told and asked are the most common verbs used in indirect speech. We use asked to report questions:For example: I asked Lynne what time the lesson started. We use told with an object. For example: Lynne told me she felt tired. !Note - Here me is the object. We usually use said without an object. For example: Lynne said she was going to teach online. If said is used with an object we must include to ; For example: Lynne said to me that she'd never been to China. !Note - We usually use told. For example: Lynne told me that she'd never been to China. There are many other verbs we can use apart from said, told and asked. These include:-

accused, admitted, advised, alleged, agreed, apologised, begged, boasted, complained, denied, explained, implied, invited, offered, ordered, promised, replied, suggested and thought.

Using them properly can make what you say much more interesting and informative.......

For example: He asked me to come to the party:-

He invited me to the party. He begged me to come to the party. He ordered me to come to the party. He advised me to come to the party. He suggested I should come to the party.

Use of 'That' in reported speech

In reported speech, the word that is often used. For example: He told me that he lived in Greenwich. However, that is optional. For example: He told me he lived in Greenwich. !Note - That is never used in questions, instead we often use if. For example: He asked me if I would come to the party.

1. 'I am very tired.' She said she

w as 'I am very tired.' S

very tired. 2. 'You play the piano very well.' Mr

Jones told me I
played 'You play the pian

the piano very well. 3. 'Can you give us a hand?' They asked

if we

give them a hand.

'Can you give us

4. 'We 're leaving the town.' He told me

w ere leaving

the town.
'We 're leaving th

5. 'He hasn't shaved.' I noticed that he

hadn't shaved 'He hasn't shaved

6. 'Your parents have had an accident.' an accident. 7. 'I left home at seventeen.' Her letter

Sally rang to say that your parents

had had 'Your parents hav

said that she

had left

home at seventeen.
'I left home at sev

8. 'Don't worry! He won't say anything anything to the police. 9. 'None of our relatives will come.' . 10. 'This parcel has been opened at the at the customs

to the police'. I was sure he

w ouldn't say 'Don't w orry! He w

They knew none of their relatives

w ould come 'None of our relat

customs.' I could see the parcel

1. 'Where do you live?' me.....).

She asked me w h 'Where do you liv

(She asked

2. 'Who is your favorite singer?' (He asked Mary....).

He asked Mary w

'Who is your favo


3. 'Are you married ?' (He asked Susan ...).

He asked Susan

'Are you married

4. 'Has your father retired yet?' (She asked James....).

She asked James

'Has your father r

5. 'We' ve lived here for six years'. (He told me that ...).

He told me that th

'We' ve lived here

6. 'Why didn't you finish your studies?' (She asked Meriem....).

She asked Meriem 'Why didn't you fi

7. 'I saw this film two weeks ago.'

(he said that....).

He said that he ha 'I saw this film tw

8. 'You should have a rest .' (The doctor advises the patient....).

The doctor advise 'You should have

9. 'What about going to the beach?' (She suggested ....).

She suggested g

'What about going

10. 'Don't switch on TV !' (The mother told her son.....).

Direct to Indirect 1. The train leaves at 05:32 => She said that
the train left The train leaves a

at 05:32. 2. We want to go to Disneyland => The

children cried they

w anted to go We w ant to go to

to Disneyland. 3. John and William never write to us .

=> Mr and Mrs Litten complained that John and William

never w rote to th John and William

4. It's too late to catch the train => He the train .

said that it

Indirect to direct

1. She told her mother that she was going to the market / she said : .
I am going to the m She told her moth

2. His friends told me that they would .

go home the following Sunday / his friends said :

w e w ill go home His friends told m

3. The teacher told Mark he had been .

very regular in his work / the teacher said :

you have been ve The teacher told M

4. Marc told me that he had finished his . 5. The teacher said the earth moves . 6. He said that she was not going home

work / Marc said :

I have finished my Marc told me that

around the sun / the teacher said :

the earth moves a The teacher said

that day / he said :

she is not going h He said that she w

. 7. He asked me if I had brought the ? 8. The boy asked me if that was the ?

pens / he asked :
have you brough He asked me if I h

place we had visited before / the boy asked :

is this the place w The boy asked m

9. The judge told the witness to tell the . 10. The prisoner begged the judge to please.
Indirect to direct s
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truth / the judge said :

tell the truth The judge told the

forgive him /the prisoner said :

forgive me

The prisoner beg






#I am going to the

|Indirect speech




w as too late to ca