Reported speech (2)
Remember that in reported speech we usually change the tense of the direct statement. The present simple tense changes to the past simple, the past simple changes to the past perfect and so on.
Here are some other points to consider.
‘Can’ and ‘will’
- Direct speech: “I can’t remember his name.” Reported speech: She said she couldn’t remember his name.
‘Can’ and ‘can’t’ in direct speech change to ‘could’ and ‘couldn’t’ in reported speech.
- Direct speech: “I’ll be there for 3 weeks.” Reported speech: He told me he’d be there for 3 weeks.
‘Will’ and ‘won’t’ in direct speech change to ‘would’ and ‘wouldn’t’ in reported speech.
Other modal verbs
- Direct speech: “You could be right.” Reported speech: I said that he could be right.
- Direct speech: “You must call me.” Reported speech: She said that I must call her.
Other modal verbs don’t change in reported speech.
Reporting orders, requests and advice
- Direct speech: “Sit down and shut up!” Reported speech: The teacher told me to sit down and shut up.
- Direct speech: “Can you hold this for me please?” Reported speech: He asked me to hold it.
- Direct speech: “You should do more exercise.” Reported speech: He advised me to do more exercise.
Orders, request and advice can be reported using an infinitive.
There are a number of verbs that we use to report statements. These can make your speech and writing more interesting than simply reporting every word of the direct speech.
- Direct speech: “It wasn’t me who broke the window.” > He denied breaking the window.
- Direct speech: “I’ll help you if you want” > She offered to help.
There are a number of verbs that can be used to report. They include: promise, claim, suggest, advise, refuse, argue, confirm and others.
Reported questions are explained on another page.