Teach and Learn English

Reported Speech - changes in detail

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Tense in direct speech
Direct Speech
Reported Speech
Tense in Reported Speech
Present Simple
“I go to work by car”
He said he went to work by car.
Past Simple
Present Continuous
“I’m seeing Sam tomorrow.”
He said he was seeing Sam the next day.
Past Continuous
Present Perfect Simple
“I have never been to the USA.”
He said he had never been to the USA.
Past Perfect Simple
Present Perfect Continuous
“I have been working all day.”
He said he had been working all day.
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Simple
“I went to the cinema yesterday.”
He said he had gone to the cinema the day before.
Past Perfect Simple
Past Continuous
“I was reading all day.”
He said he had been reading all day.
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple
“I had seen her before I met her husband.”
He said he had seen her before he met her husband.
Past Perfect Simple
Past Perfect Continuous
“I had been training box before I met you.”
He said he had been training box before he met me.
Past Perfect Continuous
Future Simple
“You will be happy soon.”
He said I would be happy soon.
Future in the past (WOULD)
Future Continuous
“I will be lying on the beach tomorrow.”
He said he would be lying on the beach the next day.
Future in the past (WOULD BE + VERB + ING)
Future Perfect Simple
“I will have bought a new flat by that time.”
He said he would have bought a new flat by that time.”
Future in the past (WOULD HAVE + 3rd F)
Future Perfect Continuous
“I will have been waiting for over an hour by the time she comes.”
He said he would have been waiting for over an hour by the time she came.
Future in the past (WOULD HAVE BEEN + VERB + ING)

“I can help you.”
He said he could help me.
“You should see her now.”
He said I should see her then.
Must / Have to
“You have to learn English.”
He said I had to learn English.

Yes/no questions
“Did you go there?”
She asked me if / whether I had gone there.
Wh- questions
“When do you open?”
She asked me when we opened.

Words for time and place
that day
that night
the next day
the following day
the next / the following
the day before
the previous day
the last / the previous

When we report somebody’s words we usually need to change: 
  •    the tense
  •      the pronouns
  •    words for time and place
  •    in questions also the word order


“I really like coffee.”  She told me she really likes coffee.

We do not have to change the tense in reported speech when the situation or feelings/opinions in the original speech are still true.


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