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Grammar Details

Narration Test

When we use reported speech, we are referring to something that was said either by ourselves or by someone else in the past. An example of this might be ‘he said that he was going shopping.’

This type of speech is used very frequently during both spoken and written examples of English and it is an important part of the language which any English student will find useful to learn. In this section, we are going to look at types of reported speech as well as how we can use it.

Reported Speech Definition

Reported speech is often also called indirect speech in English. Learn useful grammar rules in relation to Reported speech with example sentences and ESL printable worksheets.

When we use reported speech, we are usually talking about the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too.

For example:

  • Direct speech: I’ve lost my umbrella.
  • Reported speech: He said (that) he had lost his umbrella.

Tense Changes in Reported Speech

Learn how to use Direct and Indirect Speech and Tense Changes When Using Reported Speech.

When changing from direct to indirect speech, you need to change the grammar in certain ways.

Verb tense forms usually need to change. The tenses generally move backward in this way:

  • Present Simple Tense into Past Simple Tense
  • Present Continuous Tense into Past Continuous Tense
  • Present Perfect Tense into Past Perfect Tense
  • Past Simple Tense into Past Perfect Tense
  • Past Continuous Tense into Past Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Past Perfect Tense (The tense remains unchanged)
  • Will into Would
  • Will be into Would be
  • Will have into Would have
  • Will have been into Would have been

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