Reported Speech

Reported speech is related to the grammar of reporting what someone else said. In this lesson, you will learn all about it.

Intermediate
What Is Reported Speech in English?

What Is Reported Speech?

Reported speech involves three participants. One says something and the other one delivers his speech to a third person.

Why Do We Use Reported Speech?

When we want to say what somebody else said, we use reported speech. Take a look at these examples for more clarification:

She asked if I was invited to the party or not.

Her friend said, "my car is fancy and expensive"

Different Types of Reported Speech

There are two types of reported speech in English:

Direct Speech

Direct speech is to repeat the exact words of somebody to someone else. In written style, the quote is placed between quotation marks (" "). Remember not to change any of the declared words. For example:

She said, "I love you Jimmy."

"They will always be in my life." Hanna shouted

How To Use Direct Speech

Direct reported speech has two parts. The first part contains a reporting verb that is usually in the past simple tense, however, it can have different tenses. The second part is the exact words of a person whose speech is being reported.

"I am not alone." Sam cried.

Panni said, "My mother is a doctor."

Indirect Speech

If we narrate someone's speech indirectly with our own words and not using the exact words of the person, then we are using indirect speech.

She said that she had been in Tokyo.

My dad said he was going to sell the car.

How to Use Indirect Speech

To make indirect speech we use a reporting verb optionally followed by that preceding a reported indirect speech which has been derived from the direct speech by using backshift.

They declared that they would be there for me.

In this example the direct speech is "We will be there for you."

My sister said she could have finish the project if I had asked.

What Is Backshift?

To make reported speech, some words, adverbs, and verbs change in tense and formation. This is called backshift. Check out the table below to see common backshifts:

Here is the modal backshift:

direct indirect
shall would
shall would or should
can could
may might or could
must had to or no change

What Are Reporting Verbs?

Reporting verbs are a lot in English grammar, but here are the most common ones:

  • say
  • tell
  • add
  • declare
  • admit
  • answer
  • ask
  • cry

Review

As its name requires reported speech is used to report a dialogue. There are two kinds of reporting in English.

  • indirect speech
  • direct speech

Comments

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Reported Speech: Direct Speech

Mainly, there are two types of reported speech: direct speech and indirect speech. In this lesson, we will focus on the first type: how to use direct speech.

Reported Speech: Indirect Speech

There are two main types of reported speech: direct speech and indirect speech. In this lesson, we will learn about how to use indirect speech in English.

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