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Transcript of Reported Speech
Direct and Indirect Speech
Direct Speech | Tense change | Indirect Speech
Direct Speech / Quoted Speech
Saying exactly what someone has said is called direct speech
(sometimes called quoted speech)
Here what a person says appears within quotation marks,
and should be word for word.
She said, "Today's lesson is on presentations."
"Today's lesson is on presentations", she said.
Indirect Speech / Reported Speech
Indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), doesn't
use quotation marks to enclose what the person said
and it doesn't have to be word for word.
When reporting speech the tense usually changes.
This is because when we use reported speech,
we are usually talking about a time in the past
(because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past).
The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too.
"I'm going to the cinema", he said.
He said he was going to the cinema.
Said, told and asked are the most common verbs used in indirect speech.
The sneaky comma
She said, "I'll teach English online tomorrow."
She said, "I can teach English online."
She said, "I must have a computer to teach English online."
She said, "What shall we learn today?"
She said, "May I open a new browser?"
As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right):
Direct speech Indirect speech
Present simple Past simple
She said, "It's cold." > She said it was cold.
Present continuous Past Continuous
She said, I'm teaching English online." > She said she was teaching English online
Present perfect simple Past perfect simple
She said,I've been on the web since 1999 > She said she had been on the web since1999
Present perfect continuous Past perfect continuous
She said, "I've been teaching > She said she had been teaching English for seven years for seven years
Past simple Past perfect
She said, "I taught online yesterday." > She said she had taught online yesterday.
Past continuous Past perfect continuous
She said, "I was teaching earlier." > She said she had been teaching earlier
Past perfect Past perfect
She said, "The lesson had already > NO CHANGE - She said the lesson had already started when he arrived.
Modal verb forms also sometimes change:
She said she would teach English online tomorrow.
She said she could teach English online.
She said she had to have a computer to teach English online.
She asked what we should learn today.
She asked if she might open a new browser.
We use asked to report questions:-
For example: I asked Lynne what time the lesson started.
We use told with an object.
For example: Lynne told me she felt tired.
!Note - Here me is the object.
We usually use said without an object.
For example: Lynne said she was going to teach online.
If said is used with an object we must include to ;
For example: Lynne said to me that she'd never been to China.
!Note - We usually use told.
For example: Lynne told me (that) she'd never been to China.
Saia Ingles III