Reported speech is also known as indirect speech. Reported speech is used to relate what others have said. Teachers can use this guide on how to teach reported speech for help introducing the reported speech, as well as a reported speech lesson plan and other resources.
Here is a quick review to refresh your knowledge of the basics of reported speech. There are two main ways to use related speech:
Said and Told - Past Tense
The verbs say and tell in the past tense (said and told) are commonly used to related a conversation that you have had with someone. In this case, the verb that you are relating moves one step back into the past. For example:
Tom: I'm working hard these days.
You (relating this statement to a friend): Tom said he was working hard lately.
Annie: We bought some truffles for a fancy dinner.
You (relating this statement to a friend): Annie told me they had bought some truffles for a fancy dinner.
Here is a chart of the most common verb changes for reported speech. For more details use this guide to reported speech.
present simple -> past simple
Original Statement: I work hard.
Reported Statement: He said he worked hard.
present continuous -> past continuous
Original Statement: She is playing the piano.
Reported Statement: He said she was playing the piano.
future with 'will' -> future in the past with 'would'
Original Statement: Tom will have a good time.
Reported Statement: He said Tom would have a good time.
future with 'going to' -> future in the past with 'was / were going to'
Original Statement: Anna is going to attend the conference.
Reported Statement: Peter said Anna was going to attend the conference.
present perfect -> past perfect
Original Statement: I have visited Rome three times.
Reported Statement: He said he had visited Rome three times.
past simple -> past perfect
Original Statement: Frank bought a new car.
Reported Statement: She said frank had bought a new car.
Changing Pronouns and Time Expressions
Remember to change pronouns and time expressions when using reported speech. For example:
Original Statement: I'm going to visit Tom tomorrow.
Reported Statement: Ken told me he was going to visit Tom the next day.
Original Statement: We are working on our end of the year report right now.
Reported Statement: She said they were working on their end of the year report at that moment.
Say - Present Tense
The use of reported speech is generally used in the past tense, but can be used at times in the present tense to report to someone else who perhaps has not heard the original statement. When reporting with say in the present tense, keep the tense the same as the original statement, but make sure to change the appropriate pronouns and helping verbs. For example:
Original Statement: I am giving my opinion.
Reported Statement: He says he is giving his opinion.
Original Statement: I moved back into my parents house two years ago.
Reported Statement: Anna says she moved back into her parents house two years ago.
Reported Speech Worksheet
Put the verb in brackets into the correct tense by moving the reported verb one step back into the past when necessary.
- I'm working in Dallas today. / He said he _____ (work) in Dallas that day.
- I think he will win the election. / She said she _____ (think) he _____ (win) the election.
- Anna lives in London. / Peter says Anna _____ (live) in London.
- My father is going to visit us next week. / Frank said his father ______ (visit) them the following week.
- They bought a brand new Mercedes! / She said they _____ (buy) a brand new Mercedes.
- I have worked at the company since 1997. / She said she _____ (work) at the company since 1997.
- They are watching TV at the moment. / She said they _____ (watch) TV at that moment.
- Francis drives to work every day. / He said Francis _____ (drive) to work every day.
- Alan thought about changing his job last year. / Alan said that he _____ (thought) about changing his job the previous year.
- Susan is flying to Chicago tomorrow. / Susan said she _____ (fly) to Chicago the next day.
- George went to the hospital last night. / Peter said that George _____ (go) to the hospital the preceding night.
- I enjoy playing golf on Saturdays. / Ken says that he _____ (enjoy) playing golf on Saturdays.
- I will change jobs soon. / Jennifer told me she _____ (change) jobs soon.
- Frank is getting married in July. / Anna tells me that Frank ______ (get married) in July.
- October is the best month of the year. / The teacher says that October _____ (be) the best month of the year.
- Sarah wants to buy a new house. / Jack told me that his sister ______ (want) to buy a new house.
- They are working hard on the new project. / The boss told me that they _____ (work) hard on the new project.
- We've lived here for ten years. / Frank told me that they _____ (live) there for ten years.
- I take the subway to work every day. / Ken tells me he _____ (take) the subway to work every day.
- Angela prepared lamb for dinner yesterday. / Peter told us that Angela ______ (prepare) lamb for dinner the day before.