English DepartmentEnglish Department
Reported (or indirect) speechReported (or indirect) speech CPI Tino GrandíoCPI Tino Grandío
• Tenses change from present to past (if we are
talking about what somebody said in the past):
o “I am 15.” He said he was 15.
o “We have a problem.” They said they had a
o “I can swim.” She said that she could swim.
o “She comes by bus.” He said that she came
o “Your sister doesn’t like pizza.” She said that
my sister didn’t like pizza.
o “You are looking through the window.” He said that I was looking through the window.
o “They will probably fail.” She said that they would probably fail.
o “My mother saw a mouse.” She said that her mother had seen a mouse.
• Personal pronouns change (if somebody is telling
what somebody else has said before):
o “I am 15.” He said he was 15.
o “My mother saw a mouse.” She said that her
mother had seen a mouse.
o “We saw you at the cinema.” They said that
they had seen me at the cinema.
• Place and time complements have to be adapted to
the new context:
o “He came here.” They said that he had gone
o “It’s raining today” Jake said that it was raining then / yesterday.
o “I saw you last week.” She said that she had seen me the week before.
• Tell and say are common reporting verbs. (Tell is used before an indirect object.):
o She said that she liked pizza.
o My mother told me that Peter had gone with her.
o Everyone said that the lesson was very difficult.
o He told his friends that he was seriously ill.
• Other verbs can be used: know, promise, insist, warn...
• That can be omitted after say:
o She said that she liked pizza. She said she liked pizza.
o They knew that he liked her. They knew she liked her.
• Typical reporting verbs are: ask, wonder, want to know.
o He wanted to know the opening times of the museum.
o She wondered how old my mother was.
• If the question is answered with yes or no, if should be introduced before the indirect
o My sister asked if you wanted to come with us.
o I wondered if she was watching the programme on TV.
• If the question asks for information, include the question word before the indirect question:
o She asked me what time it was.
o They wanted to know where we had parked the car.
• Subject always comes before the verb:
o She asked me how old I was.
• We use ask / tell + object + (not) + to + infinitive to say what people want(ed) us to do:
o “Please, open the window.” She asked us to open the window.
o “Tidy your room.” My father told me to tidy my room.
o “Don’t smoke here.” My aunt asked me not to smoke in her car.
NOW THEN, AT THE TIME
TODAY THAT DAY, ON TUESDAY...
YESTERDAY THE DAY BEFORE, THE
TOMORROW THE FOLLOWING DAY, ON
THIS WEEK THAT WEEK
LAST WEEK THE WEEK BEFORE, THE
AN HOUR AGO AN HOUR EARLIER /
AM / ARE / IS WAS / WERE
HAVE / HAS HAD
MUST HAD TO
DO / DOES DID
SIMPLE PRESENT SIMPLE PAST
PRES. CONTINUOUS PAST CONTINUOUS
SIMPLE PAST PAST PERFECT
1. Choose the right reporting verb, said or told:
a. Abby ___________ me she really liked Lewis.
b. We ___________ we’d buy a new computer.
c. Ana ____________ her mum that she was feeling nervous about the exam.
d. I ____________ you I saw them talking in the street.
e. Paco __________ that he was going home.
f. They ___________ they’d lend us some money.
2. Complete the following statements in reported speech.
a. ‘We’ll walk,’ we said. The bus was late so we said we’d walk.
b. ‘I feel ill,’ said Ben. We were about to start the exam, when Ben…
c. ‘It’s going to rain,’ said Mum. We wanted to play football in the park, but Mum...
d. Sue said, ‘I can’t come.’ We all wanted to go to the cinema but Sue…
e. ‘I’ll help you,’ Adrian said. I couldn’t move the furniture myself, so Adrian…
f. ‘The computer isn’t working,’ Ann and Rob said. Ann and Rob couldn’t do their work
g. ‘I’ll apologise later,’ said Lewis. We told Lewis that Fatima was upset with him, so
h. Peter said: “We have gone to the party.”
3. Cecilia is thinking about what many people said to her yesterday. Look at the
picture and complete the sentences:
a. Mrs Whitaker said that I ...
b. My teacher...
c. My brother...
4. Now write some sentences telling about what people have told or asked you
c My brother asked:
“Can you help me
d My mother
g My father
h Pete asked: “Do you
have a boyfriend?”
a Mrs. Whitaker said,
“You can’t be Helen’s
e My brother said:
“You are using my
b My teacher
said : “You are a
f Lisa said : “I’ll
invite you to my