Reported Speech

Reported Speech

We use reported speech when we want to tell someone what someone else said. We usually use a reporting verb (e.g. say, tell, ask, etc). Then, change the tense of what was said in direct speech. Here are the following forms of reported speech.


1.     Reported speech, we may convey something that is in progress at the same time or something that is happening in the future. In this case, we do not need to change the tenses of the verb.


o    Direct speech: "David is needed in the conference room right now."

Reported later (to David):" Mr. Han's secretary told me that you are needed in the conference room right now.

o    Direct speech: "I will be late for the meeting."

 Reported later: Miss Sulivan said that she will be late for the meeting.

2.     We usually report what was said at a different time, and so we change the tense to reflect the time which we are reporting. We normally “shift back” one tense. Verbs in present simple change to the past simple; the present continuous changes to the past continuous; the present perfect changes to the past perfect; “can” changes to “could”; “will” changes to “would”; etc.


·        Direct speech: “I am not happy with the result of the interview.”

Reported later: “The director said he was not happy with the result of the interview.”

·        Direct speech: “The package arrived two days ago.”

Reported later: “The security told me that the package had arrived two days before.”


3.     In commands


·        Direct speech: “Call me as soon as possible.”

Reported later: “Mr. Han wants you to call him as soon as possible.”

·        Direct speech: “Please check the newly installed printer.”

Reported later: “ The operational manager ordered you to  check the newly installed printer.”


·        Sometimes the pronoun needs to be changed

·        Other words about place and time may also need to be changed.