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Reported Speech



Reported speech is what we use when we are communicating what someone else said without using their exact words. When we use someone's exact words, what came from their mouths are from their pens or keyboards, we are quoting them.


For example:

"I don't understand what a dependent clause is," Montserrat said.

Montserrat said, "I don't understand what a dependent clause is."


"I don't understand what a dependent clause is," is exactly what left her mouth during one of our classes. We can refer to this as quoted speech. Now let's look at reported speech and compare it to quoted speech.


Reported Speech: Montserrat said she didn't understand what a dependent clause was.

Quoted Speech: Montserrat said, "I don't understand what a dependent clause is."


Notice that, when we compare quoted speech to reported speech, the verbs move back one step in time.


Quoted Speech

Simple Past (Past Simple)

Daniel said, "I went to bed just after 3AM."

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

Daniel said he had gone to bed just after 3AM.


Quoted Speech

Simple Present (Present Simple)

She said, "I normally get up one or two hours before dawn."

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said she normally got up one or two hours before dawn."


Quoted Speech

Simple Future (Future Simple)

She said, I will have a vegetable garden in a few years.""

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said she would have a vegetable garden in a few years.""


Quoted Speech

Past Continuous (Past Progressive)

Daniel said, "I was working until the wee hours of the morning"

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

Daniel said he had been working until the wee hours of the morning"


Quoted Speech

Present Continuous (Present Progressive)

She said, "I am normally sleeping at that time. I can't have a meeting at 9PM.

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said she was normally sleeping at that time. Sh couldn't have a meeting at 9PM.


Quoted Speech

Future Continuous (Future Progressive)

He said, "It's okay. I will be traveling then.

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

He said it was okay. He would be traveling then.


Quoted Speech

Past Perfect

She said, "I had already studied French before I went to France."

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said she had already studied French before she had gone to France."


Quoted Speech

Present Perfect

Jorge said, "I have lived here all my life."

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

Jorge said, he had lived here/there all his life."


Quoted Speech

Future Perfect

She said, "If I stop eating now, and don''t eat until Wednesday afternoon, I will have fasted for 48 hours.

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said if she stopped eating then, and didn't eat until Wednesday afternoon, she would have fasted for 48 hours.


Quoted Speech

Past Perfect Continuous

She said, "I had been living in Queretaro when I left Mexico to see my father for the last time."

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said she had been living in Queretaro when she had left Mexico to see her father for the last time."


Quoted Speech

Present Perfect Continuous

She said, "I have been teaching English remotely since 2013.."

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said, she had been teaching English remotely since 2013..


Quoted Speech

Future Perfect Continuous

She said, "I plan to work all day. At 9PM, I will have been working for 15 hours non-stop!"

Now, let's convert that to reported speech!

She said she planned to work all day. At 9PM,she would have been working for 15 hours non-stop!"











These are the names of the tenses in English. Someone can speak or write in any of these tenses.

simple pastpast continuouspast perfectpast perfect continuoussimple presentpresent continuouspresent perfectpresent perfect continuoussimple futurefuture continuousfuture perfectfuture perfect continuous


However if someone is reporting on what someone else said, they can either use quoted speech or reported speech.


Quoted speech: He said, “I am in Irapuato.” (simple present is what came out of his mouth)

Reported speech: He said he was in Irapuato. (simple present becomes simple past when we report what he said.)


These are the name of the tenses in English. Someone can speak in any of these tenses.

If the original is in simple past, the reported speech will be in past perfectIf the original is in past continuous, the reported speech will be in past perfect continuousIf the original is in past perfect the reported speech will be in past perfectIf the original is in past perfect continuous the reported speech will be in past perfect continuousIf the original is in simple present, the reported speech will be in prsent perfectIf the original is in present continous, the reported speech will be in past continuousIf the original is in present perfect, the reported speech will be in past perfectIf the original is in present perfect continous, the reported speech will be in past perfect continuousIf the original is in simple future, the reported speech will be in would future or was/were going to futureIf the original is in future continous, the reported speech will be in would bfuture or was/were going to futureIf the original is in future perfect, the reported speech will be in would be perfectfuture perfect continuous





I

Quoted SpeechEquivalent Reported SpeechSimple presentSimple past"I always drink coffee", she saidShe said that she always drank coffee.Present continuousPast continuous"I am reading a book", he explained.He explained that he was reading a bookSimple pastPast perfect"Bill arrived on Saturday", he said.He said that Bill had arrived on Saturday.Present perfectPast perfect"I have been to Spain", he told me.He told me that he had been to Spain.Past perfectPast perfect"I had just turned out the light," he explained.He explained that he had just turned out the light.Present perfect continuousPast perfect continuousThey complained, "We have been waiting for hours".They complained that they had been waiting for hours.Past continuousPast perfect continuous"We were living in Paris", they told me.They told me that they had been living in Paris.FuturePresent conditional"I will be in Geneva on Monday", he said.He said that he would be in Geneva on Monday.Future continuousConditional continuousShe said, "I'll be using the car next Friday".She said that she would be using the car next Friday.


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