Friday, September 29, 2023

Reported speech.

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Estimated reading time: 4 min

In our life we frequently speak with others and we talk about others, at the same time we tell something to someone that may reported by another one. Reported speech is how we represent the speech of others. There are two main types of reported speech.

  1. Direct speech.
  2. Indirect speech.

Direct speech

Direct speech means repeat the exact words spoken by someone. There is no change in these words. We report something that being said or telling someone later about past time communication. When we write direct speech we place the words within inverted comma (”  “).


She said “Banana is my favorite fruit.”

“What kind of music you like?” Elsa asked to Ann.

“Tomas would like to work with animals” she said.

Indirect speech

Indirect speech or reported speech usually used to share about past event. We use reporting verbs such us ‘say’, ‘ask’, ‘tell’ and we may use the words ‘that’ and tell the reported words. Inverted commas are not used in indirect speech.


Teacher said that she is going to tell a us a story.

She says that she likes ice cream.

He said that he could swim when he was child.

Structure of reported speech.


Subject noun or Pronoun + Reporting verb + conjunction + Reported speech clause

 She                               says                      that                she wants an apple.

                                She says that she wants an apple.

                               She says that she don’t want an apple.

Ex:  She said “Banana is my favorite fruit.”

 She said that her favorite fruit is banana.

     “What kind of music you like?” Elsa asked to Ann.

Elsa asked to Ann that what kind of music you like.

Typical changes to demonstrative, adverb and adverbial expression in reported speech.

Pronoun Changes.

First person pronouns (I, me, mine, your, us, we) in reported speech change into third person pronouns (he, she, it, they, them, their, theirs, him, his, hers).

If the reporting verb refer third person, they do not change.

Third person pronouns (he, she, it, they, his, him, her, them, their, theirs) do not change at all in reported speech.


  • Mary said that she was coming. (I)
  • Yohi said that he wanted an apple. (I)
  • She said that her favorite colour is black. (my)


   Tenses change of reported speech


Brief explanation of reported speech. Indirect or reported speech.

Indirect speech:  The teacher said that he was very busy then.

  1. In the direct speech we use inverted commas. “………….” to mark the exact words of the speaker. In indirect speech we do not.
  2. In this example the conjunction ‘that’ is used before the indirect statement.
  3. The pronoun ‘I’ is changed to ‘he’. (The pronoun is changed in person.)
  4. The verb ‘am’ is changed to ‘was’. (Present tense is changed to past tense.)
  5. The adverb “now” is changed to then.



So now you clear about making reported speech form positive and negative. Now we are going to see how to change into question form in reported speech.

Indirect speech – Direct Questions

Direct questions formed, when sentences are turned into question.


Sentence                                                           Direct question 

I am sick.                                                        Are you sick?

We are tired.                                                    Are we tired?

Father is angry.                                                Is father angry?

We went on a pilgrimage.                                  Did you go on a pilgrimage?

We will come soon.                                           Will you come soon?

When a  direct question is reported, it is turned into its ‘sentence – position’ again and it is reported with the words either ‘Weather’ or ‘if’.

Examples :

  •  Mother asked me, “Are you busy ?”

Mother asked me whether I was busy.

  • ” Do you have any work ?”

Mother asked me whether I have any work then.

  • “Did you buy a pen ?”

Mother asked me whether I bought a pen.

In these reported statements, ‘whether’ can be replaced with ‘if’.

Indirect speech – ‘WH’ Questions

It is very interesting to learn how ‘WH’ questions are converted into the indirect speech. There, the interrogative word remains, while the rest of the question is turned into a sentence.

Examples :

  • He asked me, “When are you going to meet your uncle?”

He asked me when I was going to meet my uncle.

  • He asked me, “Where will you go tomorrow?”

He asked me where I would go the next day.

  • My friends asked me,” How many elephants did you see in the zoo.”

My friends asked me how many elephants I saw in the zoo.

Imperatives Commands, Requests, Suggestions, instructions, Recommendations etc. 

When a statement in the imperative form is reported ‘to’ infinitive is usually used. If it is a negative statement, ‘not to’ is used. Very often, a formal request is reported in this way.

Making requests :

  • Could you please lend me your bike ! – Ren asked me to lend him my bike.
  • Would you please help me in this work ! – He asked me to help him in that work.
  • Will you please come here ! – Father asked me to go there.
  • I wonder if you could lend me a pencil ! – Serin asked me to lend him a pencil.


Commands : 

  • Come here immediately ! – Mother asked me to go there immediately.

Instructions / Direction:

  • Take these tablets three times a day one tablet at a time.

Doctor advised me to take those tablets three times a day, one tablet at a time.

Recommendation : 

You had better go home now ! – Teacher asked me to go home then.

Negative Request : 

Don’t go there at this time ! – My mother warned me not to go there at that time.


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