In indirect Speech or Reported Speech, we report the words of the speaker, but we do not give his exact words. Converting Direct to Indirect Speech involves many changes.

Since we make the report after the words have been spoken, we move the tense one step back into the past.

1. Present tense
2. Present Continuous
3. Past Tense
4. Past Continuous
5. Present Perfect

6. Present Perfect Continuous
7. Present Future
8. Future Continuous
9. Future Perfect
10. Past Perfect

Past Tense
Past Continuous
Past Perfect
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Future
Past Future Continuous
Past Future Perfect
Past Perfect

However, we do not change the tense when:

  • The statement is a general truth:
    Direct               : He said, ”Air is less dense than water.”
    Indirect : He said that air is less dense than water.
  • The action Direct is still happening or will happen:
    Direct               : Glen said, “My brother is sleeping.”

Indirect : Glen said that his brother is sleeping.

  • The introductory verb is in the Present or the Future tense:
    Direct               : He says, “The match is postponed.”
    Indirect : He says that the match is postponed.
    Direct               : I will say, “The train is late.”
    Indirect : I will say that the ran is late.

We have to change the place and the time of direct speech to suit the situation in indirect speech.



Last week


Last night


The day after tomorrow

Next week

Next ……


The day before yesterday





That day

The previous week/the week before
The ……. before / The previous………
…….before /………. earlier
The night before
The next day / the following day/
the day after / a day later

In two day’s time

The following week

The …… after / the following ……….

The day before /

The previous day / the preceding day

Two days before




  1. 1. Reported Statement:
  • Introductory verbs can be used here are: said, informed, explained, told

He says, “No one is immortal.”
He says that no one is immortal.
She whispered, “I am afraid, Mary.”

She whispered to me that she was afraid.
We met at the bridge and he said, “I’ll be here again tomorrow.”
We met at the bridge and he said that he’d be there again the next day. Etc.

  1. 2. Interrogative Sentence
  • When we turn direct questions into indirect speech, the interrogative form of the verb changes to the affirmative form.

He said, “Where does she live?”
He asked where she lived.

  • If the introductory verb is ‘say’, it must be changed to a verb of inquiry, e.g.:  ask, inquire, wonder, want to know.

He said, “Mary, when is the next train?”
He asked Mary when the next train was.
He wanted to know when the next train was. (‘Mary’ omitted)

  • If the question contains no interrogative words, and begin with an auxiliary verb, we use the words ‘if ‘ or ‘whether’ to introduce the question.

“Are you hungry?” he asked
He asked me if I was hungry.
“Have you received my letter yet?”
I wondered whether you had received my letter yet.

  • The word ‘shall’ changes according to its meaning:

“Shall I make a cup of tea for you?” I asked
I asked him if! should make a cup of tea for him.(past tense of ‘shall’) “Shall I ever be able to do it,” he said to himself.
He wondered if he would ever be able to do it. (change of pronoun)
“Shall we send it to your flat, sir?” he said.

He asked the customer if they were to send it to his flat.

If they should send it to his flat.

He said, “Will you help me, please?”
He asked me to help him.
He said, “Will you have a drink?”
He offered me a drink.
He said. “Will you have lunch with me tomorrow?”

He invite me/asked me to lunch with him the following day.

  • Must not usually remains unchanged.

He said, “you mustn‘t tell anyone.” – He said that she mustn’t tell anyone
He said, “I must wash my hands.’

He said hat he had to wash his hands.

  • could for present ability, in conditional sentence type 2, for permission remain unchanged.

  1. 3. Imperative

Introductory verbs can be used:

Told, ordered, asked, begged, advised, requested, reminded, warned, urged.

“Shut the door, please!” he said

He ordered/asked me to shut the door.

Read this letter, please!”
He requested me to read that letter.
“Don ‘t be lazy!” he said
He told me no to be lazy.

  1. 4. Exclamations

Exclamations with what a ……….. , how ………..
He said,” what a dreadful thing!” or “How dreadful!”
He said that it was a dreadful thing/dreadful.
“Ugh!” / “Heavens!” – He exclaimed with disgust/surprise.
He said, “Thank you” – He thanked me
He said, “Good morning” – He greeted me/wished me a good morning.
He said, “Damn!” – He swore.

  1. 5. Mixed types

He said “Can you swim?” and I said, “No”.
He asked (me) if I could swim and I said that I couldn‘t.
“I don’t know the way. Do you?” he asked.
=He said that he didn’t know the way and asked her if she did.
“What a delicious cake! Did you make it yourself?” she asked me. “Tell me what ingredients you put in it,” she said
= She exclaimed that it was a delicious cake and asked me if I had made it myself. She wanted me to tell her what ingredients I had put in it.
“Where are you going? If you are going to supermarket, an you buy a packet of cheese for me, please? I need it for sandwiches,” she said.
She asked me where I was going. She wanted to know whether I was going to the supermarket, and if I was, whether! Could buy a packet of cheese for her as she needed it for sandwiches.


About englishcyber4u

1 want to have useful life for people around me..and 1 want to write till 1 die..

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