CIP Online English Learning - Reported Speech

What is Reported Speech?

Teacher Christine

Reported speech is also known as indirect speech. Nowadays, when people are gossiping, or when they hear some news and they are going to tell it to the other people, this is the usual time that we use the reported speech. We convey the ideas and what the other people say and tell it to other people.

Speech reports have two parts:

  1.       The reporting clause – it includes a verb such as say, tell, ask, reply, shout and they are usually the past simple form.
  2.       The reported clause – this is what the original speaker said.

There are changes in the verb forms when we have reported speech. Read and take a look at the table below for the changes:


Direct Speech Reported Speech Examples
Simple Present Simple Past “I run at the park.”

She said she ran at the park.

Present Continuous Past Continuous “I’m cooking a great lunch.”

She said she was cooking a great lunch.

Simple Past Past Perfect “I finished my article yesterday.”

He said he had finished his article yesterday.

Present Perfect Past Perfect “I’ve just watched that episode.”

She said she’d just watched that episode.

Can/ Can’t Could / Couldn’t “I can clean your house next week.”

She said she could clean my house next week.

“I can’t take my test tomorrow.”

He said he couldn’t take his test tomorrow.

Will / Won’t Would / Wouldn’t “I will help my mom.”

She said she would help her mom.

Jerry won’t be in the office today.

Jerry said he wouldn’t be here today.


If you are going to use the verb “told”, we need to include a person’s name.

Example: She told John she wanted to go away.

Indirect Questions

When reporting questions, the sentence order is the most important.

  1.       When reporting yes/ no questions connect the reported question using “if”.

She asked, “Do you want coffee?”

=> She asked me if I wanted coffee.

  1.       When reporting questions using question words (why, where, when, etc.) use the question word.
  •         He asked, “Why are you studying English?”

=> She asked me why I was studying English.

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