Hello everyone! In this MELHORE SEU INGLÊS – IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH PODCAST, I will talk about the REPORTED SPEECH!
How to use Reported Speech
If you have a sentence in Direct Speech, try to follow our 5 steps to put the sentence into Reported Speech..
- Define the type of the sentence (statement, questions, command)
- What tense is used in the introductory sentence?
- Do you have to change the person (pronoun)?
- Do you have to backshift the tenses?
- Do you have to change expressions of time and place?
1. Statements, Questions, Commands
Mind the type of sentences when you use Reported Speech. There is more detailed information on the following pages.
2. The introductory sentence
If you use Reported Speech there are mostly two main differences.
The introductory sentence in Reported Speech can be in the Present or in the Past.
If the introductory sentences is in the Simple Present, there is no backshift of tenses.
- Susan: “Mary works in an office.”
- Introductory sentence in the Simple Present → Susan says (that)* Mary works in an office.
- Introductory sentence in the Simple Past → Susan said (that)* Mary worked in an office.
3. Change of persons/pronouns
If there is a pronoun in Direct Speech, it has possibly to be changed in Reported Speech, depending on the siutation.
- Direct Speech → Susan: “I work in an office.”
- Reported Speech → Susan said (that)* she worked in an office.
Here I is changed to she.
4. Backshift of tenses
If there is backshift of tenses in Reported Speech, the tenses are shifted the following way.
- Direct Speech → Peter: “I work in the garden.”
- Reported Speech → Peter said (that)* he worked in the garden.
|Direct Speech||Reported Speech|
|Simple Present||Simple Past|
|Simple Past||Past Perfect|
5. Conversion of expressions of time and place
If there is an expression of time/place in the sentence, it may be changed, depending on the situation.
- Direct Speech → Peter: “I worked in the garden yesterday.”
- Reported Speech → Peter said (that) he had worked in the garden the day before.
|Direct Speech||Reported Speech|
|this evening||that evening|
|today/this day||that day|
|these days||those days|
|a week ago||a week before|
|last weekend||the weekend before / the previous weekend|
|next week||the following week|
|tomorrow||the next/following day|
6. Additional information
In some cases backshift of tenses is not necessary, e.g. when statements are still true. Backshift of tenses is never wrong.
- John: “My brother is at Leipzig university.”
- John said (that) his brother was at Leipzig university. or
- John said (that) his brother is at Leipzig university.
when you use general statements.
- Mandy: “The sun rises in the east.”
- Mandy said (that) the sun rose in the east. or
- Mandy said (that) the sun rises in the east.
* The word that is optional, that is the reason why we put it in brackets.
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