What is reported speech in English language ?

When we repeat something said by another person, we can quote his actual words:

She said: ” I like to walk”.
He asked: ” Can you give me some money, please ? ”
David said: ” Ground control to major Tom !”

This type of repetition is called direct speech.


But when we repeat in our own word what somebody has said, we make some alterations to the original words. This type of repetitions is called reported or indirect speech.


Owing to the change of person speaking and the time the action is referring to  we have the following alterations:


I becomes he/she
you becomes he, she or I
we becomes they
you(pl) becomes they or we
here becomes there
this / these becomes that / those
yesterday becomes  the day before
the previous day
tomorrow becomes the next day or
the following day
next week becomes the next day or
the following week
ago becomes  before
thus becomes  so


According to the concord of tenses the following grammatical alterations take place:


The present tense becomes The past tense
The present perfect tense becomes The past perfect tense
The past tense becomes The past perfect tense
The future tense becomes The future-in-the-past



is becomes was
are, do, does becomes were, did
is coming becomes was coming
are going becomes were going
can becomes could
may becomes might
ask becomes  asked
have worked becomes had worked
has written becomes had written
shall becomes  should
will becomes  would


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This page is about Reported Speech.

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