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Reported Speech : Indirect Speech


For example:
1. Jim said "I like beer".
2. Jim said he liked beer.

Sentence 1 is direct speech, the words in quotes (".....") are the exact words the person said. Sentence 2 is reported speech, this is how you tell somebody about a conversation after it happened.

When reporting speech the tenses of the direct speech usually change:

Direct speech

Reported speech

simple present
"Bill doesn't like cats"

simple past
She said Bill didn't like cats.

present continuous
"Are you listening to the radio?"

past continuous
He asked me if I was listening to the radio.

present perfect
"I've finished my homework"

past perfect
She said she'd finished her homework.

simple past
"I played golf"

past perfect
He said he'd played golf.

"It'll rain tomorrow"

She told me it would rain the day after.

Said, told and asked are common reporting verbs. We use asked to report questions; I asked him what time the train left. Told is used with an object; Fred told Jill he felt tired (Jill is the object). Said is usually used without an object; Sheila said she was going to work. If we use said with an object we must include to; Ian said to Mary that he'd been to London (we usually use told).

Sometimes we include that in reported statements (NOT questions); he told me that he lived in Greenwich: that is optional; he told me he lived in Greenwich has exactly the same meaning.

We use if when reporting questions that have no question word: "Where do you live?" -> she asked me where I lived; "Have you got a car" -> he asked me if I'd got a car.

Sometimes we need to change words like here and yesterday if they have different meanings at the time and place of reporting: "How long have you worked here?" -> He asked me how long I'd worked there (if reported in a different place); "I arrived yesterday" -> He said he'd arrived the day before (if reported on a different day).

Report the following:
1. "Will you help me with my homework?", Mary asked Bill.
2. "How long have you been studying here?", Tim asked Sarah. Conversation in school, reported in the pub.
3. Tom said "I went to England 10 years ago".
4. Harriet said "I'm getting married tomorrow" Reported 3 days after the conversation.
5. Simon said "I like photography and collecting stamps".

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There are many other verbs we can use apart from said, told and asked, eg boasted, invited, accused, complained, apologised, begged, advised, denied, offered, ordered, suggested.

Report the following using the verbs above (NB 2 are not used here):
1. Michelle to Bob: "Please come to my birthday party".
2. Peter to his father: "Please, please, please let me borrow the car, dad".
3. Porter to hotel guest: "Shall I carry your cases to your room?".
4. Customer to waiter: "This steak's tough and the vegetables are cold".
5. Mary to her teacher: "I didn't break the window".
6. Policeman to suspect: "I believe you murdered your wife".
7. Policeman to motorist: "Get out of your car".
8. Jimmy to his mother: "Mummy, I'm sorry I broke your vase".

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