Reported Speech in French
- 1.What is the reported speech in French ?
- 2.Recap: what is the direct speech in French ?
- 3.Formation of the indirect speech in French
- 4.Grammatical rules of the indirect speech in French
- 4.1.Change of tenses
- 4.2.Change in time markers
- 4.3.Change in personal pronouns
- 4.4.Change in demonstrative pronouns
- 4.5.Change in possessive adjectives and pronouns
- 5.1.Fill in the blank exercise for the reported speech with change of tenses and personal pronouns in French
- 5.2.Fill in the blanks exercise about the reported speech with change of time markers in French
- 5.3.Fill in the blank exercise of the reported speech with change in demonstrative, possessive pronouns in French
- 5.4.Fill in the blank exercise for the formation of the reported speech in French
What is the reported speech in French ?
In French, we distinguish the same as in English, between direct (French: le discours direct) and indirect speech (French: le discours indirect). You use the indirect speech when you want to report words that someone said or thoughts. The content of the statement should be reproduced more logically with the use of indirect speech.
The report requires some grammatical transformations.
|il m'a dit: "je vais bien"||direct||he said: "I am fine"|
|il m'a dit qu'il allait bien||indirect||he said to me that he was fine|
Recap: what is the direct speech in French ?
In the direct speech, words are enclosed in quotation marks and without a linking term after the verb of speech.
- Il pense: "c'est dommage" (he thinks: "it is too bad")
- Il dit 'peut être je devrais aller lui parler" (he says "maybe I should go talk to him")
- Maman a dit "viens me voir tout de suite" (mom said "come see me right now")
Formation of the indirect speech in French
In the indirect style, the words are connected to the verb of speech by a conjunction as:
- 'que' in the indirect speech to assert something said in the direct speech
- 'si' in the indirect speech to report a simple question (yes or no)
- 'de' + infinitive in the indirect speech to report an imperative sentence
- 'ce qui' or 'ce que' in the indirect speech to report a 'qu'est ce que/qui ?' or 'que' sentence
- interrogative pronoun in the indirect speech to report an interrogative question
|uses||direct speech||indirect speech||translation|
|"que"||Paul dit: "il pleut"||Paul dit qu'il pleut||Paul says that it is raining|
|"si"||est ce que vous sortez ?||il a demandé si vous sortez||he asked if you were going out|
|"de" + infinitive||viens maintenant!||elle demande de venir maintenant||she wants you to come right now|
|"ce qui" or "ce que"||qu'est ce qui se passe?||il demande ce qui se passe||he asks what is going on|
|interrogative pronoun||où allez-vous ?||il demande où vous allez||he asks where you are going|
The indirect speech is initiated by the following verbs:
- dire (to say)
- demander (to ask)
- répondre (to answer)
- affirmer (to assert, affirm)
- déclarer (to declare)
- annoncer (to announce)
- raconter (to tell)
- expliquer (to explain)
- prétendre (to pretend)
- croire (to believe)
- penser (to think)
- ordonner (to order)
Grammatical rules of the indirect speech in French
As you know, the indirect speech is no longer in quotation marks and in colon, therefore the sentence will undergo grammatical transformations in relation with:
- time markers
- personal pronouns
- possessive and demonstrative pronouns
- possessive adjectives
Change of tenses
When the sentence that designates the speaker is in the present tense, the tense remains in the indirect speech:
|direct speech||indirect speech|
|Paul dit: "il pleut"||Paul dit qu'il pleut|
When the phrase that designates the speaker is in the past, the tense in the indirect speech change:
- present → imperfect
- future simple → conditional present
- future perfect (futur antérieur) → past conditional
- completed past (passé composé) → pluperfect
|uses||direct speech||indirect speech||translation|
|present → imperfect||il m'a dit: "je vais bien"||il m'a dit qu'il allait bien||he told me that he was fine|
|future → conditional||il m'a dit: 'je partirais"||il m'a dit qu'il partirait||he told me that he would go|
|future perfect → past conditional||il m'a dit: "nous aurons terminé de faire nos devoirs||il m'a dit qu'ils auraient terminé de faire leurs devoirs||he told that they would have finished their homework|
|completed past → pluperfect||il m'a dit: "j'ai appris ma leçon"||il m'a dit qu'il avait appris sa leçon||he told that he has learned his lesson|
Change in time markers
You always keep the previous tenses matched but these changes are useful in narrations when doing indirect speech.
|direct speech||indirect speech|
|aujourd'hui (today)||ce jour-là (that day)|
|hier (yesterday)||la veille (last night)|
|demain (tomorrow)||le lendemain (the next day)|
|le jour prochain (the following day)||le jour suivant (the next day)|
- Elle pensait: "je vais aller faire les courses demain" → Elle pensait qu'elle allait faire les courses le lendemain. (She thought that she would go shopping the next day)
- Le juge a dit: "vous ne sortirez pas aujourd'hui" → Le juge a dit qu'il ne sortirait pas ce jour-là. (The judge said that he will not go out on that day)
- Mon père a dit "hier, j'ai acheté un cadeau pour ta mère" → Mon père a dit qu'il avait acheté un cadeau pour ma mère, la veille. (My father said that he had bought a gift for my mother, last night)
- Elle m'a dit: "mardi prochain, je vais à Londres" → Elle m'a dit qu'elle allais à Londres, le mardi suivant. (She told me that she was going to London, next Tuesday)
Change in personal pronouns
In the indirect style the tense stays the same, but you have to be logical with the situation. When the speaker talks about himself, you logically use the 3rd personal pronoun and as the others pronouns.
|direct speech||indirect speech||translation|
|elle m'a dit: "je pense aller lui parler"||elle m'a dit qu'elle pensait aller lui parler||she told me that she was thinking about going to talk to him|
|il m'a raconté: "nous sommes sortis avec eux"||il m'a raconté qu'ils étiez sortis avec eux||he told me that they were out with them|
|il m'a demandé: "vous viendrez aussi ?"||il m'a dit si nous viendrions aussi||he asked me if we would come too|
|elle m'a demandé: "tu vas partir en vacances ?"||elle m'a demandé si j'allais partir en vacances||she asked me if I will go in holidays|
Change in demonstrative pronouns
In the indirect speech, you use a demonstrative pronoun to report what the speaker has said.
|direct speech||indirect speech||translation|
|il m'a dit: "je n'ai plus ce jouet"||il m'a dit qu'il n'avais plus ce jouet-là||he told me that he did not have that toy anymore|
|elle a dit: "cet enfant est malin"||elle a dit que cet enfant-là était malin||she said that this child was wise|
|elle a dit: "je vais régler ce problème"||elle a dit qu'elle réglerait ce problème-là||she said that she will fix the problem|
Change in possessive adjectives and pronouns
|direct speech||indirect speech||translation|
|il m'a demandé: 'tu pourrais me rendre mon livre ?"||il m'a demandé si je pouvais lui rendre son livre||he asked if I could give him back his book|
|elle m'a dit: "je suis dans votre maison"||elle m'a dit qu'elle était dans notre maison||she told that the she were in our house|
|elle m'a dit: "cette robe est à moi"||elle m'a dit que cette robe-là était le sien||she told me that this dress was hers|
|nous avons dit: "nous avons volé votre repas"||nous avons dit que nous avions volé leur repas||we said that we had stolen their meal|
Keep your motivation and test your knowledge about the indirect speech with our exercises.
- Fill in the blank exercise for the reported speech with change of tenses and personal pronouns in French
- Fill in the blanks exercise about the reported speech with change of time markers in French
- Fill in the blank exercise of the reported speech with change in demonstrative, possessive pronouns in French
- Fill in the blank exercise for the formation of the reported speech in French
Fill in the blank exercise for the reported speech with change of tenses and personal pronouns in French
Fill in the blanks exercise about the reported speech with change of time markers in French
Fill in the blank exercise of the reported speech with change in demonstrative, possessive pronouns in French
Fill in the blank exercise for the formation of the reported speech in French
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