Reported speech Reported speech is speech in which
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Reported speech • Reported speech is speech in which you report what somebody else said. • The most common reporting verbs are say and tell.
Say and tell • He said *** (that) he was hungry. • He told me (that) he was hungry. • He said me (that) he was hungry. • He told *** (that) he was hungry.
Reporting tenses • Tenses change when you report someone else’s speech. • What usually happens is that tenses step back into their immediate past.
direct speech present simple present continuous present perfect past simple past continuous past perfect will can may must reported speech past simple past continuous past perfect continuous past perfect would could might had to
Attention: Some modal verbs don’t change • • could might should mustn’t
Other adjustments • Some words that make reference to time and place may have to be altered as well: here this today yesterday tomorrow that day the previous day/day before the following/next day there that
Reporting commands “Do your homework!” He told us to do our homework “Don’t be late for the class!” He told me not to be late for the class. • Tell is the most usual verb to report commands. Order and instruct are also possible, but much less frequent.
Reporting requests “Can you help me? ” I asked her to help me. “Could you pass me the salt, please? ” He asked me to pass him the salt. • Requests are reported in the exact same way as commands, the only difference being the use of ask instead of tell.
Reporting questions The tense changes as described before. Word order changes, i. e. , reported questions are organized like statements, not like questions. Do/does/did disappear. In yes/no questions, you have to insert if or whether.
Reporting questions “Where have you been? ” He asked me where I had been. “Where do you live? ” He asked me where I lived. “Are you excited about learning reported speech? ” He asked me if I was excited about learning reported speech. Hell, no.
• In questions, as in commands, you should use the reporting verb ask, but the structures are different: “Can you help me? ” I asked her to help me. “Where do you live? ” He asked me where I lived.