Happy Wednesday and happy Halloween! This week we´re going to talk about grammar. It´s the turn for reported speech. Do you know how to report what someone previosly said? When reporting a sentence, do you have to change the word order? How? Are there some rules or some exceptions? If you cannot answer these questions, you should read this post. Go on! It´s not a creepy one!


*First of all, when do you use reported speech? You use reported speech to repeat what someone had previosly said. So it´s the opposite of direct speech. You usually have to change the pronouns (e.g. I –> She/He).

Using ‘that’ after ‘said’ and ‘told’ is optional. Here you have an example.

Direct Speech: I like reading. –> Indirect speech: She said (that) she liked reading.



*Secondly, if you report what someone said on a different day or in a different place, some time and place words can change.

-Tomorrow –> The next day.

-Here –> There.

-This –> That.

For example: I´ll meet you here tomorrow. –> Mary said she´d meet me there the next day.



*Thirdly, after ‘said’ don´t use a person or object pronoun. E.g. She said he was happy NOT She said me...

*After ‘told’ you must use a person or pronoun. E.g. She told me she was happy NOT She told she was…


*On the one hand, when you report a question, the tenses change as in reported statements. On the other hand, when a question begins with a verb (not a question word) add if (or whether). You also have to change the word order to subject + verb, and not use do /does / did (do, does, did only appear in negative questions). Besides, question marks are not used.

E.g. (WH- question). What´s your name? –> I asked him what his name was. // Why don´t you want to eat?, she asked. –> She asked him why he didn´t want to eat. 

E.g. (YES/NO QUESTION) Are you married? –> He asked her if she was married.  // Do you live in Chiclana? –> She asked him if he lived in Chiclana.


*Finally, there are more rules you have to know. Go on and read them.


RULE 1. You have to write the verb + a that clause

*With verbs like: add (rules 1,4,5), admit, announce, assure, claim (rules 1, 2), complain, confirm, estimate, explain, mention, point out, predict, remark, remind (rules 1, 3), repeat, reply, say, stress, tell (rules 1, 3), warn (rules 1,3,5), confess (rules 1, 5).

*When reporting direct speech, tense change may occur in the that clause: present tenses change to past; present perfect and past tenses change to past perfect.


Present Simple –> Past Simple.

Present Continuous –> Past continuous.

Past Simple –> Past Perfect.

Present Perfect –> Past Perfect.

Past Perfect –> Past Perfect.

Future –> Conditional.

*When reporting modal verbs, remember how they change:

Can –> could.

Will –> would.

May –>might.

Shall –>Should.

Must –> It can remain unchanged or you can use had to instead when expressing obligation.

*Other modal verbs don´t change.

*There is often no tense change if a present tense of the reporting verb is use and/or if the statement report is still true. For example: Jack told/tells me he´s thinking of buying a new house.


RULE 2. You have to write the verb + an infinitive with to

*With verbs like: agree (rules 2, 6), ask (rules 2,6,3), claim, demand(rules 2,6), offer, opt, promise, refuse, threaten.

*The negative form is not + to + infinitive.

*For example: She offered to help Jack and Jack refused to accept. / I agreed not to do it.


RULE 3. You have to write the verb + an object + an infinitive with to

*With verbs like: advise (rules 3,4,5,6), ask, beg, convince, encourage, instruct, invite, order, persuade, recommend (rules 3,4,5,6), remind, tell, urge (rules 3,6), warn (rules 1,3,5).

*For example: Sarah told him to leave and warned him not to tell anyone. / My dad encouraged me to come. / They warned her not to go there.


RULE 4. You have to write the verb (+a preposition) + a gerund

*With verbs like: admit, advise, deny, recommend, regret, suggest.

*The negative -ing form is not + gerund.

*For example: Jack admitted breaking the chair but denied stealing the computer. / Mike apologized for not arriving on time. / I insisted on knowing the truth.


RULE 5. You have to write the verb + a preposition

*With verbs like: argue, protest, advise, warn against, apologize, blame, forgive, tell off, thank for, speak, accuse of, insist, congratulate on, admit, confess, object to…

*For example: Sarah thanked me for helping her and insisted on paying me.


RULE 6. You have to write the verb + a that clause (+should)

*With verbs like: advise, agree, ask, demand, insist, propose, recommen, request, suggest, urge.

*For example: I suggested (that) Paul (should) report it to the police.




*To report an imperative or request, use told or asked + person + the infinitive without to.

*To report a negative imperative, use a negative infinitive (e.g. not to do).

*You can´t use ‘said’ in these sentences. NOT He said her to go away.

E.g. Go away –> My father told him to go away. / Could you help me? –> I asked the teacher to help me. / Don´t worry –> My mother told me not to worry.



And that is all for today. Do you have any doubts? If so, leave us a comment. Once more, thank you for visiting our blog!