What does direct speech mean?
The term direct speech simply means the exact words of the person are mentioned. When writing direct speech we use speech marks before the first spoken word and after the full stop.
Marcus said, ”I love you.”
The exact words that were spoken are : ”I love you”
When we use direct speech we always use speech marks!
So what does reported speech or indirect speech mean?
Reported speech is used to quote what someone else said without using the persons exact words. This is done by reporting the speech of the person by changing the tense and the subjects involved in the speech.
What do I mean by changing the tense?
When reporting speech, the standard formula followed is to go back a tense. For example, if the person spoke in the present tense we would report in the past tense. If a person spoke in the present continuous tense, we would report in the past continuous tense.
Marcus said, ”I love you”
Marcus said that he loves me
No speech marks are needed!
Are there any exceptions to the rule?
Yes! When we report something that is still true then we do not need to change the tense. For example: If a student who still has three more years to study says , ”I am a student”
In this case we would report this in the same tense but change the subject from I to he.
He said that he is a student.
We do not change the tense when reporting in the past perfect, using might, could and would
|Direct Speech||Reported Speech|
He hates me
They love to play football in the morning.
Where does he work?
Do you like me?
|Change to Past Simple
He said that he hates me
He said that they love to play football in the morning
He asked where he worked
She asked if I liked her
I am living in London
I am using my phone
Where did he live?
Are you using your phone?
|Change to Past Continuous
He said that he is living in London (No change if still true)
He said that he was using his phone
He asked where he lived
He asked if I were
I paid for a new watch
l studied English for three years.
Where did you study English?
Did you live in France?
|Change to Past Perfect
He said that he had paid for a new watch
He said that he had studied English for three years.
He asked where I had studied English
He asked if I had lived in France
I was playing football
They were living in Paris.
What were you eating?
Do you like studying in Australia?
|Change to Past Perfect Continuous
He said that he had been playing football
He said that they had been living in Paris
He asked me what I had been eating
He asked if I liked studying in Australia
I haven’t eaten yet
What have you eaten?
Have you eaten?
|Change to Past Perfect
She said that she hadn’t eaten yet
He asked what I had eaten?
He asked if I had eaten
Mike Tyson said, ”I had beaten Frank Bruno before.”
Where had the waiter gone?
Had boy eaten all of his food before you arrived?
Mike Tyson said that he had beaten Frank Bruno before.
He asked where the waiter had gone
He asked if the boy had eaten all of his food before I arrived
They will meet me later
Why will you go to America?
Will beat him up?
|Change to Would
They said that they would meet me later
He asked why I would go to America
He asked if I would beat him up
He would help me but he is tired
Where would you go if …. ?
Would you help me?
He said that he would help but he is tired
He asked where I would go if ….
He asked if I would help him
I can ride a bike
What can you do for me?
Can you help me?
|Change to could
He said that he could ride a bike
He asked what I could do for him
He asked if I could help him
I could do that when I was young
What could you do when you were younger?
Could you help him?
He said that he could do that when he was young
She asked what I could do when I was younger
She asked if I could help him
I shall visit you at the hospital
Shall I do it for you ?
|Change to would or should
She said that she would visit me at the hospital
She asked if she should do it for me
I should visit the doctor
Why should I do it for you?
Should I do it for you?
He said that he should visit the doctor
He asked why he should do it for me
He asked if he should do it for me
I might smack him
May I smack him?
She said that she may smack him
She asked if she may smack him
I must finish my homework
Why must I finish my homework?
Must you finish your homework now?
He said that he must finish his homework
He asked why he must finish his homework
He asked if I must finish my homework now