Grammar: Reported Speech:

 Case I: When the reporting verb is present simple, continuous, perfect or future simple, the verbs  and time expressions in the direct speech do not change:


“I hope I’m not disturbing you, ” Sue is telling Kathy.
Sue is telling Kathy (that) she hopes she isn’t disturbing her.

Ahmed says, “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Ahmed says that he will be back as soon as he can.


 Positive commands: to+verb

“Be careful!” Sue is telling Peter.
Sue is telling Peter to be careful.

“Turn the television down, please,” my mother is asking me.
My mother is asking me to turn the TV down.

 Negative commands: not+to+verb

“Don’t drive so fast,” my father is telling me.
My father is telling me not to drive so fast.

Jack is telling Jill, “Don’t look at me like that.”
Jack is telling Jill not to look at him like that.


 Yes/No questions: When we report yes/no questions, we need “if” or “whether”:

“Do you know how to drive?” Karim is asking Ali.
Karim is asking Ali if he knows how to drive.

“Are you thinking of going abroad soon?” Khadija asks Leila.
Khadija asks Leila if she is thinking of going abroad soon.

 Wh- questions:

“How are you?” Bill asks Dave.
Bill asks Dave how old he is.

“When did you take your driving test?” Latifa has asked Fatima.
Latifa has asked Fatima when she took her driving test.

“Where have you been? He asks us.
He asks us where we have been.

“Where have you been?” I ask my son.
I ask my son where he has been.

 Case II: When the reporting verb is in the past, both the verbs and the time expressions do change as shown below:

Indirect speech
Direct speech
Simple past
Simple present
Past continuous
Present continuous
Past perfect simple
Present perfect simple
Past perfect continuous
Present perfect continuous
Past perfect
Simple past
Past perfect continuous
Past continuous
Conditional simple
Future simple
Conditional continuous
Future continuous
Conditional perfect
Future perfect
had to
ought to/had better
ought to/had better

N.B.:Notice that conditional type I changes into conditional type II, while conditionals II & III remain unchanged.

Indirect speech
Direct speech
that week/month...
this (with time expressions)
this week/month...
that day
the day before
two days before
the day before yesterday
the next day/the following day
in two days’ time
the day after tomorrow
the following week/year...
next week/year...
the previous week/year...
last week/year...
a year/week/…before
Or the previous year/week...
a year/week/...ago


“I never eat meat,” Bill explained.
Bill explained that he never ate meat.

“I’m waiting for Salah,” he said.
He said that he was waiting for Salah.

“I have found a flat,” Samir said.
Samir said that he had found a flat.

He said to his friend, “I have been waiting for you for ages.”
He said that he had been waiting for him for ages.

“I took it home with me,” she said.
She said that she had taken it home with her.

“Were you having lunch at 13:00 yesterday?” He asked us.
He asked us if we had been having lunch at 13:00 the day before.

She said, “I will/shall be in Paris on Monday.”
She said that she would be in Paris on Monday.

“I will/shall be using the car myself on the 24th,” John said.
John said that he would be using the car himself on the 24th.

“I will have done my homework by 6 o’clock this evening,” they said.
They told us that they would have done their homework by 6 o’clock this evening.

I said, “I would/should like to see it.”
I said that I would/should like to see it.

He said, “It may rain this afternoon.”
He informed us that it might rain that afternoon.

He said to her, “you must start at once (=immediately).”
He told her that she had to start at once.

“Can you speak English? She asked us.
She asked us if we could speak English.

“You had better/should see a dentist, I said to him.
I told him that he had better/should see a doctor.
I advised him to see a dentist.

“I saw my grandmother yesterday,” she said to her friend.
She informed her friend that she had seen her grandmother the day before.

“I’ll do it tomorrow,” he promised.
He promised that he would do it the next/the following day.

“If you keep quiet, I’ll take you to the zoo the day after tomorrow,” the mother said to the children.
Their mother told them that she would take them to the zoo if they kept quiet.
Their mother promised to take them to the zoo in two days’ time if they kept quiet.

She said, “My father died a year ago.”
She said that her father had died the previous year/ a year before.

love.43.gifFurther references:

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