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Reported Speech with Examples and Test (PDF)


Reported speech is used when we want to convey what someone else has said to us or to another person. It involves paraphrasing or summarising what has been said, often changing verb tenses, pronouns and other elements to suit the context of the report.

TenseDirect SpeechReported Speech
Present SimpleShe sings in the choir.He said (that) she sings in the choir.
Present ContinuousThey are playing football.She mentioned (that) they were playing football.
Past SimpleI visited Paris last summer.She told me (that) she visited Paris last summer.
Past ContinuousI was cooking dinner.He said (that) he had been cooking dinner.
Present PerfectWe have finished the project.They said (that) they had finished the project.
Past Perfect*I had already eaten when you called.She explained (that) she had already eaten when I called.
WillI will call you later.She promised (that) she would call me later.
Would*I would help if I could.He said (that) he would help if he could.
CanShe can speak French fluently.He mentioned (that) she could speak French fluently.
Could*I could run fast when I was young.She recalled (that) she could run fast when she was young.
ShallShall we meet tomorrow?They asked (whether) we should meet the next day.
Should*You should visit the museum.She suggested (that) I should visit the museum.
Might*It might rain later.He mentioned (that) it might rain later.
MustI must finish my homework.She reminded me (that) I must finish my homework.

*doesn’t change


Formula of Reported Speech

The formula for reported speech involves transforming direct speech into an indirect form while maintaining the meaning of the original statement. In general, the formula includes:

  • Choosing an appropriate reporting verb (e.g., say, tell, mention, explain).
  • Changing pronouns and time expressions if necessary.
  • Shifting the tense of the verb back if the reporting verb is in the past tense.
  • Using reporting clauses like “that” or appropriate conjunctions.
  • Adjusting word order and punctuation to fit the structure of the reported speech.

Here’s a simplified formula:

Reporting Verb + Indirect Object + Conjunction + Reported Clause

For example:

  • She said (reporting verb) to me (indirect object) that (conjunction) she liked ice cream (reported clause).
Reported Speech with Examples


Here’s how we use reported speech:

Reporting Verbs: We use verbs like ‘say’ or ‘tell’ to introduce reported speech. If the reporting verb is in the present tense, the tense of the reported speech generally remains the same.

Direct SpeechReported Speech
“I enjoy playing tennis.”She said (that) she enjoys playing tennis.
“We plan to visit Paris.”They told us (that) they plan to visit Paris.
“He loves listening to music.”She said (that) he loves listening to music.
“She bakes delicious cakes.”He told me (that) she bakes delicious cakes.
“They watch movies every weekend.”She said (that) they watch movies every weekend.


If the reporting verb is in the past tense, the tense of the reported speech often shifts back in time.

Direct SpeechReported Speech (Reporting verb in past tense)
“I eat breakfast at 8 AM.”She said (that) she ate breakfast at 8 AM.
“We are going to the beach.”They told me (that) they were going to the beach.
“He speaks Spanish fluently.”She said (that) he spoke Spanish fluently.
“She cooks delicious meals.”He mentioned (that) she cooked delicious meals.
“They play soccer every weekend.”She said (that) they played soccer every weekend.


Tense Changes: Tense changes are common in reported speech. For example, present simple may change to past simple, present continuous to past continuous, etc. However, some verbs like ‘would’, ‘could’, ‘should’, ‘might’, ‘must’, and ‘ought to’ generally don’t change.

Direct SpeechReported Speech
“I like chocolate.”She said (that) she liked chocolate.
“We are watching TV.”They told me (that) they were watching TV.
“He is studying for the exam.”She mentioned (that) he was studying for the exam.
“She has finished her work.”He said (that) she had finished her work.
“They will arrive soon.”She mentioned (that) they would arrive soon.
“You can swim very well.”He said (that) I could swim very well.
“She might be late.”He mentioned (that) she might be late.
“I must finish this by tonight.”She said (that) she must finish that by tonight.
“You should call your parents.”They told me (that) I should call my parents.
“He would help if he could.”She said (that) he would help if he could.


Reported Questions: When reporting questions, we often change them into statements while preserving the meaning. Question words are retained, and the tense of the verbs may change.

Direct QuestionReported Statement (Preserving Meaning)
“Where do you live?”She asked me where I lived.
“What are you doing?”They wanted to know what I was doing.
“Who was that fantastic man?”He asked me who that fantastic man had been.
“Did you turn off the coffee pot?”She asked if I had turned off the coffee pot.
“Is supper ready?”They wanted to know if supper was ready.
“Will you be at the party?”She asked me if I would be at the party.
“Should I tell her the news?”He wondered whether he should tell her the news.
“Where will you stay?”She inquired if I had decided where I would stay.


Reported Requests and Orders: Requests and orders are reported similarly to statements. Reported requests often use ‘asked me to’ + infinitive, while reported orders use ‘told me to’ + infinitive.

Direct Request/OrderReported Speech
“Please help me.”She asked me to help her.
“Please don’t smoke.”He asked me not to smoke.
“Could you bring my book tonight?”She asked me to bring her book that night.
“Could you pass the milk, please?”He asked me to pass the milk.
“Would you mind coming early tomorrow?”She asked me to come early the next day.
“Please don’t be late.”He told me not to be late.
“Go to bed!”She told the child to go to bed.
“Don’t worry!”He told her not to worry.
“Be on time!”He told me to be on time.
“Don’t smoke!”He told us not to smoke.


Time Expressions: Time expressions may need to change depending on when the reported speech occurred in relation to the reporting moment. For instance, ‘today’ may become ‘that day’ or ‘yesterday’, ‘yesterday’ might become ‘the day before’, and so forth.

Direct SpeechReported Speech
“I finished my homework.”She said she had finished her homework.
“We are going shopping.”He told me they were going shopping.
“She will call you later.”They mentioned she would call me later.
“I saw him yesterday.”She said she had seen him the day before.
“The party is tonight.”He mentioned the party would be that night.
“The concert was last week.”She told me the concert had been the previous week.


Reported Speech with Examples PDF

  Reported Speech PDF – download


Reported Speech Test

  Reported Speech A2 – B1 Test – download

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  1. I would like books for studying.
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