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REPORTED SPEECH
TENSE CHANGES
DIRECT
INDIRECT
Present Simple
He said, “I write letters.”
Present Continuous
He said, “I am writing letters.”
Present Perfect Simple
He said, “I have written letters.”
Present Perfect Continuous
He said, “I have been writing letters.”
Past Simple
He said, “I wrote letters.”
Past Continuous
He said, “I was writing letters.”
Future Simple
He said, “I will write letters.”
Future Continuous
He said, “I will be writing letters.”
Imperative
I said, “Write letters!”
Past Simple
He said that he wrote letters.
Past Continuous
He said that he was writing letters.
Past Perfect Simple
He said that he had written letters.
Past Perfect Continuous
He said that he had been writing letters.
Past Perfect Simple
He said that he had written letters.
Past Perfect Continuous
He said that he had been writing letters.
Conditional Simple
He said that he would write letters.
Conditional Continuous
He said that he would be writing letters.
to + root of verb
I told him to write letters.
Modals
He said, “I can write letters.”
He asked, “Shall I write letters?”
He said, “I may write letters.”
He said, “I have to / must write letters.”
He said that he could write letters.
He asked if he should write letters.
He said that he might write letters.
He said that he had to write letters.
Note:
1. The Past perfect Simple and Past Perfect Continuous do not change in reported
speech.
2. The modals should, could, would, might and ought to do not change.
3. When we report questions, we also change the word order to that of a regular
sentence.
“Why are you late? = She asked why I was late.
Other changes in reported speech include: time expressions, demonstratives and
pronouns.
DIRECT
INDIRECT
Time expressions
now
then
today
that day
yesterday
the day before, the previous day
tomorrow
the next / following day, the day after
next week / month
the next / following week / month
last week / month
the previous week / month, the week /
month before
a week ago
the week before
Demonstratives
1
this
these
here
Pronouns
The change in pronouns will depend on the
person being referred to in the reported
speech.
“I gave you my notebook,” Sally said to
Peter.
that
those
there
Sally told Peter that she had given him her
notebook.
Reported Speech Introductory Verbs
Purpose
Verb
Construction
accusation
accuse
someone of doing something
admission
admit
something
that you have done something
(to) having done something
advice
advise
someone / something
someone on / about something
doing something
someone to do something
agreement
agree
to an idea, suggestion etc. (say “All right”)
with someone / something (have the same opinion)
to do something
that something is a good idea etc.
(plural) on a plan etc.
apology
apologise
(to someone) for (having done) something
begging
beg
someone to do something
complaint
complain
(to someone) about something
that something has (not) been done
denial
deny
something
that you have done something
having done something
exclamation exclaim
that something has happened
explanation
explain
something to someone
that something has happened
how, why, what …
information inform
someone of / about something
someone that something has happened
invitation
invite
someone to something
someone to do something
offer
offer
something to someone
someone something
to do something (for someone)
order
order
someone to do something
preference
would rather do one thing rather than other
prefer
(doing) one thing to another
to do one thing rather than to do another
promise
promise
to do something
(someone) that you will do something
2
refusal
refuse
reminder
remind
request
request
suggestion
suggest
threat
threaten
warning
warn
wonder
wonder
I.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
to do something
something
someone of someone / something
someone to do something
someone that something must be done
someone to do something
something
(doing) something (to someone)
that someone should do something
to do something (to someone)
someone with something
that you will do something (to someone)
someone of / against / about something
someone (not) to do something
someone that something may happen
if / what / why …
EXERCISES
Write these sentences in Reported Speech. Use as many specifying verbs as
possible.
“If I had spoken to my father as you speak to me he’d have beaten me,” he said to
me.
___________________________________________________________________
“Will you help me, please?” she said. “I can’t lift it by myself”.
___________________________________________________________________
Tom: I’ll pay.
Ann: Oh no, you mustn’t.
Tom: I insist on paying.
___________________________________________________________________
“Will the investigation take place next week? The reporter inquired.
___________________________________________________________________
The detective inquired, “What was the time of death?”
___________________________________________________________________
“How can I possibly run in this tight skirt?” she inquired.
___________________________________________________________________
She explained, “It’s very cold in here. The heater must have broken down.”
___________________________________________________________________
“It’s seven”, he said. “She’ll be at home now. What about ringing her up?”
___________________________________________________________________
II.
Fill the gaps using the verbs in the box. Use each verb only once.
advise
hope
promise
suggest
beg
remind
threaten
deny
invite
refuse
warn
insist
1. “I didn’t do it,” she said.
She ________________ having done it.
2. “Have lunch with me,” she said.
She ________________ me to have lunch with her.
3. “Why don’t you buy one?” said Tom.
3
Tom _______________ I buy one.
4. “I promise I’ll take you to Prague,” said Mary.
Mary _______________ to take me to Prague.
5. “I hope Andy phones tonight,” said Clare.
Clare _______________ Andy would phone that night.
6. “Please, please don’t tell any one!” he said.
He ________________ me not to tell anyone.
7. “I won’t do it,” he said.
He ________________ to do it.
8. You should have lessons,” she said.
She _______________ me to have lessons.
9. “We really must go with you,” they said.
They _______________ on going with me.
10. “Don’t forget to phone Granny,” said Mum.
Mum _______________ me to phone Granny.
11. “If you wear my T-shirt again, I’ll pinch you very hard,” said Maggy.
Maggy _______________ to pinch me very hard if I wore her T-shirt again.
12. “Don’t fly kites near electric overhead cables,” said my father.
My father _______________ me not to fly kites near electric overhead cables.
III.
Put the following into direct speech with the appropriate punctuation.
1. My employer hoped I would not be offended if he told me that, in his opinion, I
would do better in some other kind of job.
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
2. He said that two days previously an enormous load of manure had been dumped at
his front gate and that since then he hadn’t been able to get his car out.
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
3. They offered me some more wine and I accepted.
___________________________________________________________________
4. He said that if I found the front door locked I was to go round to the back.
___________________________________________________________________
5. He suggested that Tom and I should go ahead and get the tickets.
___________________________________________________________________
6. He said that if I didn’t like escalators I could go up an emergency staircase. I
thanked him and said that I would do that.
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
7. I asked him if he had enjoyed doing his military service and he said that he hadn’t.
___________________________________________________________________
8. I asked if she had looked everywhere and she said that she had.
___________________________________________________________________
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I.
Match the sentences in direct speech in column A to the appropriate
incomplete reported sentences in column B. Then complete the sentences in
column B, in which the specifying verb and construction have been
provided.
A
going to
B
your a) They accused her of…
1. I’m not
answer
questions.
2. I didn’t do anything wrong.
3. I’ll lend you the money when you need
it.
4. You stole the money, didn’t you?
5. What is going to happen to us?
6. I’d rather wait until I know her
opinion.
7. Don’t forget to ring Aunt Helen!
8. Don’t cross the railway lines! It’s
dangerous.
9. All right. I’ll come with you.
10. Please don’t tell my parents.
11. Stop fighting!
12. It’s true! I took the money.
13. This soup is cold, waiter!
14. I’m sorry I was so rude to you.
15. Would you like to spend the weekend
with us?
16. If you don’t pay me the money, I’ll
take you to court.
17. You shouldn’t smoke so much.
18. Why don’t you go away for the
weekend?
19. The word has different meanings. It
can mean a line of houses, or of seats
in a classroom. With a different
pronunciation, it can mean an
argument.
20. Shall I take you to hospital?
b) He admitted that…
c) The doctor advised me not to…
d) She agreed to…
e) He apologised to me for…
f) He begged me not to…
g) He complained to……. about…
h) He denied having done…
i) She explained …… to me.
j) They invited him to…
k) He offered to…
l) He ordered them to…
m) He said he preferred to…
n) He promised to…
o) She refused to…
p) She reminded me to…
q) He suggested that I should…
r) They threatened to… if we…
s) She warned them not to… because…
t) They wondered what…
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II.
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)
j)
k)
l)
m)
n)
o)
p)
q)
r)
s)
t)
Match the purposes in A with the sentences in B and write the reported
sentences.
A
B
accusation
1. Would you like to go to the cinema with me this evening?
admission
2. I’d rather have Chinese food than a hamburger.
advice
3. If you do that again, McDonald, do you know what I’m
agreement
going to do to you?
apology
4. Would you like me to lift it for you, Mum?
begging / a request 5. I didn’t do it, I tell you! I didn’t kill him!
complaint
6. You won’t forget to post the letter, will you, dear?
denial
7. Well, in a situation like this, I always say it’s better to tell
exclamation
the truth and pay the fine.
information
8. I’m terribly sorry I said that.
invitation
9. I’ll wear this ring till the day I die!
offer
10. Get out! Get out of my sight!
order
11. Waiter! There’s a fly in my soup.
preference
12. Why don’t you write her a letter?
promise
13. What a horrible dress you’re wearing, dear!
refusal
14. I’m afraid I did it. I took it. It’s my fault.
reminder
15. The next train leaves at five o’clock, madam.
suggestion
16. No! I don’t see why I should do your work for you.
threat
17. Please Mum, please, can I stay up late and watch the film?
warning
18. You did this, Burkin. You stole the money!
19. Hey! Be careful with that broken glass!
20. I had exactly the same impression as you did.
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