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Focus on Grammar. There are three types of Reported Speech.

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Reported Speech


There are three types of Reported Speech.


1. Reported Statements.


If the predicate of principal clause is in the past tense, the predicate of a reported clause “moves one tense back”.

present ® past

past ® past perfect


She said:” I am going there.” ® She said she was going there.

I said:” He was there.” ® I said he had been there.

They said:” We haven’t finished it yet.” ®They said they hadn’t finished it yet.

Note: The “one tense back” rule is not used:

a)“I hate his job,” I told him ® I told him I hate his job. (I still hate his job)

b) when some axiom is reported:

The pupil knew that the earth is round.

c) when the exact time of an event is stated:

She said she was born in 1979.


2. Reported Questions

a) “the one tense back” rule is used in reported questions in the same way it is used in reported statements.

“Why are you going there?” she asked ®She asked why I was going there.

I asked:”Where have you been?” ® I asked where he had been.

b) The word order of a reported questions is direct, the auxiliaries do, does, did are not used. To report a general question if or whether is used.

Did you go to that park?” she asked ® She asked if/whether I had gone to that park.


In reported statements and questions it is necessary to change personal, possessive pronouns and adverbial modifiers of time and place.


this ® that here ® there

last time ® the previous time yesterday ® the day before

now ® then tomorrow ® the next day

ago ® before


He said: ”We shall go there tomorrow.” ® He said they would go there the

next day.


3. Reported Commands

Reported commands follow the pattern:

subject + predicate + indirect object + infinitive

She told them to help me.

They asked me to show them around the city.

Note:the negative command:

They asked me not to invite her to the party

Note:Some other verbs used for reporting:

advise, ask, add, explain, remind, agree, point out, refuse, promise



Exercise 1.Report the following statements, commands and questions.


1. ‘What are you doing here?’ she asked. 2. ‘When did you pass the exam?’ he asked. 3. ‘I’ve left some books on your table,’ said Paul. 4. ‘I am dead sure I have seen a flying saucer,’ said the man. 5. Mother told me,’Please, work harder, otherwise you’ll fail.’ 6. Another passenger came in and said, ‘Is this seat taken?’ 7. ‘Let’s take your tape recorder to the party.’ she offered. 8. ‘Yesterday at 2 o’clock I was working on the paper.’ she stated. 9. ‘I booked a double room on the second floor.’ said Mr.Jones. 10. She complained,’They’ve changed much since I saw them in 1990.’ 11. ‘Must you do it all tonight? Couldn’t you leave some for tomorrow?’ mother asked. 12. The conductor announced,’Passengers must not lean out of the window.’ 13. The student answered,’The atom is the smallest portion of matter.’ 14. ‘Did you sleep well last night?’ Bill asked. 15. She asked,’Do you know that dynamics and kinematics are branches of mechanics?’ 16. The lecturer said,’The steels of Sheffield are the raw materials of the great tool industries of the city.’

Exercise 2.Use one of the introductory verbs given below to report

each of the following sentences. Each of the verbs should

be used only once.


ask beg advise urge warn encourage forbid invite suggest recommend


1. ‘Please, sit down and make yourself at home,’ - our hostess said. 2. ‘Don’t touch the dog.’ my friend said. 3. ‘You really must consult your lawyer. It could be very serious.’ my brother said. 4. ‘You should go there, they can help you.’ she said. 5. ‘If you are eating in MacDonalds, try their apple pie. It’s delicious.’ they told us. 6. ‘No one is to use a dictionary during the test.’ the teacher said. 7. ‘Please, don’t forget to let me know that you’ve arrived safely.’ my aunt said. ‘I’ll be worried if you don’t phone me.’ 8. ‘May we come in?’ said the twins. 9. ‘Try the corner shop. It is usually open on Sunday.’ the man said. 10. “Go on, enter for the exam.’ he said, ‘You’ve nothing to lose and it will be a good experience for you.’


Exercise 3.Select the correct form from the choices given in parentheses.


1.We realized that might (doesn’t, didn’t) always make right. 2. Miss Perkins said that she (doesn’t, didn’t) want to discuss the matter. 3. We heard on the radio tonight that the summit (will take place, would take place) in Washington DC. 4. Of course we knew that crime (is, was) forbidden. 5.Sue came in and wanted to know if all the guests (arrived, had arrived) yet. 6. Mrs. Gordon said that she (wants, wanted) more time to think it over. 7. She asked if I (can, could) describe the system to her. 8. Joe said that his friends (decided, had decided) to stay in town for two more days

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