Reported Speech (Indirect Speech)

Is the reporting verb in the past form (said, told,...) you have to change the tense.
Direct speech Indirect speech Direct Speech Indirect speech
Present simple Past simple go went
Present progressive Past progressive am/is/are going was/were going
Past simple Past perfect went had gone
Past progressive Past perfect progressive was/were going had been going
Present perfect simple Past perfect has/have gone had gone
Present perfect progr. Past perfect progressive has/have been going had been going
Future Conditional I will go would go
Example: Peter said, "Carol is a nice girl." Peter said (that) Carol was a nice girl.
Don't change these verbs: might, could, would, should
Example: He said, "I might arrive late." He said (that) he might arrive late.
It isn't necessary to change the present tense into the past tense if the information in the direct speech is still true or a general statement.

Frank said, "My sister is a secretary." Frank said (that) his sister is (was) a secretary.

He told us, "The sun rises in the east." He told us that the sun rises (rose) in the east.
When you form the reported speech you have to pay attention that the pronouns refer to the correct persons.
Examples: Susan said, "My parents are clever scientists."
  Susan said (that) her parents were clever scientists.
  Tom said, "I like PE best."
  Tom said (that) he liked PE best.
  They said, "We went swimming with our friends."
  They said (that) they had gone swimming with their friend.
  Betty said, "Sam told me the truth."
  Betty said (that) Sam had told her the truth.
  Direct speech Indirect speech  
She said I - my - me she - her - her  
He said I - my - me he - his - him  
They said we - our - us they - their - them  
You and your:
They told her / him / me / them / us, "George likes you."
They told her / him / me / them / us (that) George liked her / him / me / them / us.
They told her / him / me / them / us,"George likes your sister."
They told her / him / me / them / us (that) George likes her / his / my / their / our sister.
They told her / him / me / them / us,"You are clever."
They told her / him / me / them / us (that) she / he / I / they / we was / were clever.


Expressions of time and place

  Direct speech Indirect speech
Time now then
  today that day
  yesterday the day before
  tomorrow the next / following day
  last week, month,... the previous week, month,... / the week, month,... before
  next week, month,... the following week, month,...
  a (week,...) ago a (week,...) before
Place here there
  this that
  these those
Example: She said, "I have already seen Carol today."
She said (that) she had already seen Carol that day.


Reported Questions

If there is a question word we keep it.
Examples: They asked me, "Where is the next supermarket?"
  They asked me where the next supermarket was.
  She asked them, "How often do you play golf?"
  She asked them how often they played golf.
If there is no question word we start the reported speech with if or whether
Examples: She asked me, "Do you like some tea?"
  She asked me if/whether I liked some tea.
  We asked them, "Did she arrive in time?"
  We asked them if/whether she had arrived in time.


Reported Requests

If someone asks you in a polite way use (not) to + infinitive
Examples: He asked her, "Could you close the door, please?"
  He asked her to close the door.
  She asked them, "Help me, please."
  She asked them to help her.


Reported Commands

If someone doesn't ask you politely or gives you an order use (not) to + infinitive
Examples: He told me, "Be quiet!"
  He told me to be quiet.
  She told us, "Don't stay up too late!"
  She told us not to stay up too late.



Reported Speech - Exercises