Grammar: Reported Speech

English Reported Speech
A: Reported Speech is the technique of reporting a speaker’s words in one’s own speech by making necessary changes of time, place, person and perspective. As in he said, ‘I phone him’ > He said that he phoned him. Look at the following examples:
  • ”I like this jumper’          She said that she liked that jumper.
  • ‘Do you live here?’          She asked me if I lived there.
  • ‘Where will you live?’    She asked me where I would live.
  • ‘Please come tomorrow’ She asked me to come the next day.

B: Examples of Reported Speech has been bold in the paragraph below.

introduced me to Peter who said that he was pleased to meet me. I
replied that it was my pleasure
, and that I hoped Peter was enjoying his
stay in Seattle. He thought that Seattle was a beautiful city, but that
it rained too much. He said that he had been staying at the Bay view
Hotel for three weeks, and that it hadn’t stopped raining since he had
arrived. Of course, he said, this wouldn’t have surprised him if it
hadn’t been July!
Ahmed replied that he should have brought warmer
clothes. He then continued by saying that he was going to fly to Karachi
the following week, and that he couldn’t wait to enjoy some sunny
weather. Both Ahmed and I commented that Peter was a lucky person

C: Usually, we change our pronouns or persons according to our perception of the situation. The first person in the reported speech normally changes according to the subject of the reporting speech.

1. He says, “I will come back.”
2. She says, “I am ready to go.”
3. You say, “I have done it.”
4. They say, “We are forced. ”
5. I say, “I am not guilty.”
6. We say, “You are hasty.”

D: Tense, in the reported speech, is changed in the following pattern: if there are Present tenses; nothing changes. If there are Future tenses; still no changes. Past changes:

Present indefinite > Past indefinite
Present Progressive > Past Progressive
Present perfect >Past perfect
Present perfect progressive >Past perfect progressive
Past indefinite >Past perfect
Past progressive > Past(perfect) progressive
Past perfect > Past perfect
Past perfect progressive > Past perfect progressive

E: All present indicators change into past. See: can>could, will>would, shall>should, must> had to, now, then, come>go, ago>before and tomorrow> the next day. In Imperative sentences, the reporting verb can take many forms as order, request, advise, suggest, propose, pray etc. The same is with questions where If/whether is introduced. 

Option B in the above example is correct because Must is replaced by Had to. He said that I must wear a uniform is incorrect.


1. Change the following sentences. 

1. He said, “I don’t smoke now.”
2. She said to me, “ I have to come here daily.”
3. He said, “guests will come here tomorrow.”
4. The doctor said, “ the man died one hour ago.”
5. I said to him, “I will never meet him again.”
6. The boy said, “I can play the piano.”
7. You said, “I returned the loan last night.”
8. The player said, “This is not fair.”
9. The men said to me, “I will leave next week.”
10. The man said, “”Go away!”
11. I said to him, “Please bring me some water.”
12. He said to me, “Work hard to pass the exam.”
13. The girl said, “ We should help her.”
14. The porter said, “Shall I carry your luggage?”
15. I said to him, “let me listen to music.”
16. The boy said to the man, “ Don’t come here!”
17. The teacher said to me, “Are you English ?”
18. She said to me, “Do know English ?”
19. They said to us, “Were you going home?”
20. I said to a stranger, “Where is the post office?”
21. We said to the clerk, “Why does he come late?”
22. You said to me, “When will I reach Lahore?”
23. She says to me, “Do you live around?”

2. Change into Reported Speech.

1. My father said to me, “May you succeed!”
2. The old man said, “I wish the boy were here!”
3. He said to me, “Alas ! I have been ruined.”
4. The People said, “May Pakistan progress!”
5. The boy said, “Sir, I am sorry I am late.”
6. The angry woman said, “May God strike you!”
7. She said to her, “Would that we were rich!”
8. I say to my teacher, “Sir, I can’t come today.”
9. The girl said, “What good weather!”
10. I said, “What a nice teacher he is! ”
11. The boys said to us, “Yahoo! We have won it.”

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