• English grammar
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  • 1 English alphabet
  • 2 English pronunciation and phonetics [0/3]
  • 3 English articles [0/9]
  • 4 English pronouns [0/39]
  • 4.1 English personal pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.2 English impersonal pronouns (it, there, ...) [0/4]
  • 4.3 English object pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.4 English possessive pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.5 English reflexive pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.6 English reciprocal pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.7 English demonstrative pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.8 English relative pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.9 English indefinite pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.10 English interrogative pronouns [0/4]
  • 5 English nouns [0/16]
  • 6 English adjectives [0/38]
  • 6.1 Adjectives of quality in English [0/4]
  • 6.2 Demonstrative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.3 Possessive adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.4 Quantity adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.5 Interrogative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.6 Numeral adjectives in English [0/8]
  • 6.7 Comparatives and superlatives [0/10]
  • 7 English adverbs [0/18]
  • 8 English prepositions [0/12]
  • 9 English verbs [0/122]
  • 9.1 Present tenses in English [0/29]
  • Fill in the correct present tense in English (Score -/-)
  • Exercise about all present tenses in English (Score -/-)
  • Mixed present tenses exercise in English (Score -/-)
  • Practice all the English present tenses (Score -/-)
  • 9.1.1 Present simple tense in English [0/5]
  • 9.1.2 Present continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.3 Present simple vs present continuous in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.4 Present perfect tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.5 Present perfect continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.6 Difference past simple and present perfect in English [0/4]
  • 9.2 Past tenses in English [0/20]
  • 9.3 Future tenses in English [0/21]
  • 9.4 Auxiliary verbs in English [0/9]
  • 9.5 Present participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.6 Past participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.7 Modal verbs in English [0/11]
  • 9.8 Phrasal verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.9 Regular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.10 Irregular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.11 Gerund (-ing form) in English [0/8]
  • 9.12 Infinitive verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.13 Imperative in English [0/2]
  • 9.14 Reported speech in English [0/2]
  • 9.15 Active and passive voice in English [0/2]
  • 10 English conditionals [0/20]
  • Reported speech in English

    In this chapter the reported speech is explained. There are two different ways to report someone's words: you can use direct speech with quotation marks or you can use reported (indirect) speech. 

    Definition of direct and indirect speech 

    Reported speech is used to report ideas expressed by another person in order to tell in our own words what someon has said. You can report someone's words in two ways:

    1. Direct speech in English 

    The direct speech repeats the exact words someone said. These repeated quotations or phrases are placed between quatation marks and the verb tense is not modified. 

    Examples:

    • He said: "I lost my glasses." 
    • I asked: "What time will you arrive?"
    • We said: "We do not want to see you again."

    2. Indirect speech in English 

    The indirect speech is used to talk about what someone said in the past. This implies a modification of the verb tenses in comparison to direct speech. The verbs: 'to say', 'to tell', 'to advise', 'to promise' or 'to ask' are used, usually followed by the word 'that', to present the speech that has been said.

    Examples:

    • He said that he lost his glasses. 
    • I asked what time she would arrive. 
    • We said that we did not want to see you again. 

    Direct and indirect speech rules 

    The verbal tense of a sentence changes when we go from direct speech to indirect speech. The table below show the changes that have to be made when the direct speech is converted to indirect speech.

      Direcht speech   Indirect speech
    Present simple "He is a teacher", she said. Past simple She said that he was a teacher.
    Present continuous He said, "I am making dinner". Past continuous He said that he was making dinner.
    Present perfect They asked, "Have you been to Australia?" Passt perfect They asked me if I had been to Australia.
    Present perfect continuous “I’ve been studying Italian for four years,” he said. Past perfect continuous He said he’d been studying Italian for four years.
    Past simple Mary said: “I didn’t go to school yesterday". Past perfect Mary said that she hadn’t gone to school the day before.
    Past continuous He said, "I was having a shower when you called". Past perfect continuous He said that he had been having a shower when I called.
    Past perfect "I had prepared something special for you", he said. Past perfect (does not change) He said that he had prepared something special for me.
    Past perfect continuous She said, “I had been repairing the car before we went.” Past perfect continuous (does not change) She said that she had been repairing the car before they went.
    Future simple He said, "I will go tomorrow" Auxiliary would He said that he would go tomorrow. 

    enlightenedIt is not always necessary to modify the verb tense. If the quotation or speech is still true now, the present simple can be used:

    1. I live in Valencia.
    2. She told me that she lives in Valencia. 

    Modal verbs in reported speech

    Some modal verbs are also modified when used in the reported speech. 

      Direct speech                                                                                                 

    Indirect speech                                                                            

    Can Can you open the door, please?”, he asked. Could He asked me if I could open the door.
    Must “You must wear your seat belt,” the police said. Had to The police said that I had to wear my seat belt.
    Shall "Shall we go to the beach today?” Mom asked. Should Mom asked if we should go to the beach that day.
    May "May I help you?", he asked. Might/ could He asked me if he could help me.

    enlightenedThe modal verbs do not change if they already have the follwing forms in direct speech:

    • Might 
    • Could
    • Would
    • Should 
    • Ought to 

    Example

    • He said,"I might come to your party tonight." 
    • He said that he might come to your party tonight.

    Time expressions in reported speech

    Some expressions of time or place also undergo modifications when changing form direct ot indirect speech:

    Direct speech                                                                          Indirect speech                                                               
    Here There
    Now Then
    Today That day
    Tomorrow The following day
    A week ago/ last week A week before/ the previous week
    Last month The month before/the previous month
    Next year The following year
    In four years Four years from then
    This That
    These Those

    Test yourself with the free exercises about reported speech below.  

    Exercises

    Practice the reported speech in English.

    Fill in the English direct or indirect speech (reported speech)