Direct Speech                 :               She said,” I am confused.”

Reported Speech          :               She said that she was confused.

(* Reported speech is a sentence with Noun Clause)



The  conversion of  Direct Speech into Indirect Speech needs  some grammatical changes :

2.1.      When  the main verb is in Simple Present, Simple Present Future  or Simple Present  Perfect, there’s no change in tense for  the  sentence between quotation marks (“…”).

e.g.           She says,” I have given him the reasons.”

She says that she has given him the reasons.


She will ask,” Am I wonderful ?”

She will ask if she is wonderful.


She has told,” I didn’t recognize him last night.”

She  has told that she didn’t recognize him the  night before.


* Indirect  Speech is introduced by a verb in present tense  when we are :

  1. reporting a conversation that is still going on
  2. reading a letter and reporting what it says
  3. reading instructions and reporting them


2.2.      On the other hand, there is a  change in tense when the main verb is in the Past.

Here are the changes :

Direct   Speech                                                             Indirect  Speech


Simple  Present                                                             Simple  past

He explained, “ I never eat meat. “                     He explained that he  never ate


 Present  Continuous                                                   Past  Continuous

He said, ‘ I am waiting for my son.”                      He said that he was waiting

for his son.

Simple  Past                                                                   Simple Past Perfect

He stated, “ The people knew                               He stated that the people had

it well”                                                                             known it well.

Past  Continuous                                                         Past  Perfect  Continuous

He told, “ My director was having                        He told that his director had

a meeting.”                                                                      been having a meeting.

Simple Present  Perfect                                                  Simple Past Perfect

He exclaimed, “ I have mastered                          He exclaimed that he had

the language.”                                                               mastered the language.

Present  Perfect  Continuous                                  Past  Perfect  Continuous

He said, “ I have been waiting for                         He said he had been waiting

ages.”                                                                                 for ages.

Simple Past Perfect                                                      Simple Past Perfect

He told me,” You had hurt her”                             He told me that I had hurt her.

Past Perfect  Continuous                                          Past Perfect  Continuous

He said,” We had been taking this                       He said that they had been

course for a year.”                                                       taking the course for a year.

Simple Present  Future                                              Simple Past Future

He told,” The guest will come. “                            He told that the guest would


 Present  Future  Continuous                                   Past  Future  Continuous

He told,” We will be having                                     He told that they would be

a long journey next month. “                                 having a long journey next


Can,  May                                                                           Could,  Might

He said, “ I can finish it on time”                            He said that he could finish it

on time.

He told me, “ You may take it for                          He told me that I was allowed

a long time.”                                                                  to (might)  take it for a long


Might,  Should,  Could,  would                               Might,  Should,  Could,  would

He said, “ You should see                                         He said that I should see a

a doctor. “                                                                        doctor.

He said,” It might be different                               He said that it might be

from yours. “                                                                  different from mine.

He said,” They couldn’t find                                    He said that they couldn’t find

the answer.”                                                                    the answer.

He said,” I would visit this place. “                         He said that he would visit

the place.

Must (necessary at present)                                   Had to

He told,” They must be careful “                           He told that they  had to be careful

 Must ( necessary at future)                                    Would have to

He told,” You must hand in your                           He told that I would have to

work tomorrow.”                                                          hand in my work the day after.


  1. Statement sentence in Direct Speech

 3.1.      If the sentence between the  quotations is A STATEMENT (  in affirmative or negative ), the conjunction  for the indirect one is THAT.

e.g.           See the examples on point 2.2 !

In  written English, past tenses usually change to past  perfect ones, but there are the following exceptions  :

3.2.            Past / past continuous used in time clauses

e.g.           He  said,  “  When I was living in  St.  Agustin,  I visited the art gallery many times.”

He  said that when he was living in St. Agustin,  he visited the art gallery many times. / had visited the art gallery many times.

3.3.      The advice form ‘IF I WERE YOU, I SHOULD/WOULD …

3.4.      Conditional  sentences  type  2 and  3  ( See  CONDITIONAL SENTENCES)

e.g.          Andrew said, “If my children were older, I would  move to another town.”

Andrew said that if his children were older, he  would move to another town.

3.5.            Must in interrogative usually becomes had to.

e.g.          He asked Desi,” Must you take this course ?”

He asked Desi if she had to take the course.

3.6.         Could with a past meaning :

“ permission “ can be the same or change to “ was / were allowed to infinitive”.

e.g.          He  said, “ I couldn’t go  by  myself  when  I  was  a child.”

He  said that he couldn’t / was not allowed to  go  by himself when he was a child.

“ ability “ can be unchanged or become “ had been able to”.

e.g.           He exclaimed, “I could read well when I was three.”

He  exclaimed  that he could / had been able  to  read well when he was three.


  1. The interrogative (question) sentence in Direct Speech

4.1.      If the sentence in quotation is in question with auxiliaries. (Yes/No question), whether  or if  becomes the conjunction for  the Indirect Speech.

e.g.           She asks, “Have you told him about our certificate?”

She  asks whether I have told him about  our  certificate.


She asked, “Are you satisfied?”

She wanted to know if I was satisfied.

*  Note for whether :

4.1.1.        It can emphasize a choice :

e.g.          He asked, “ Do you want to go by air or sea?”

He asked whether I wanted to go by air or sea.


He  asked, “ Do you need  to insure your  jewelry or not? “

He  asked  me  whether or not I needed  to  insure  my jewelry.

He asked if I needed to insure my jewelry or not.

4.1.2.   It   is used when the Direct Question  contains a  Conditional Clause.

e.g.          He wondered, “Will you move to Surabaya if you  get  a job there?”

He wondered whether I would move to Surabaya if  I  got a job there.


4.2.      When  the Direct Questions begin with question  words (e.g. what where, who),  they function as the conjunctions.

e.g.           She asked,” Where do you live?”

She asked where I lived.


The teacher asked, ”What are you looking at?”

The teacher asked what I was looking at.

4.2.1    Asking   for  an advice / instruction which  uses  SHALL  is usually reported by should.

e.g.           The  porter  asked, “ Shall I send it  to  your  room, Madam?”

The porter asked if he should send it to her room.


Ani asked, “What shall I say to him, mother?”

Ani asked her mother what she should say to him.


  1. To infinitive construction in Indirect Speech

5.1.      Indirect command, request, and advice use this structure :

main  verb  of command / request / advice + Object  +  to infinitive.

The main verbs that are used for this pattern are : advise,   ask,  beg,  command,   encourage, forbid,  invite, order, recommend,  remind, request, urge, warn.

e.g.           She said, “You had better hurry, Bill?”

She advised Bill to hurry.


She said, “If I were you, I should leave a message for him.”

She advised her friend to  leave a message for him.


She said, ”Would you like to give me a hand, please?”

She asked me to give her a hand.


She said, “ Sit down near the pool, won’t you?”

She invited us to sit down near the pool.


5.2.      Negative  command / request or advice can be reported  in this  construction  :

S + main verb of command / request or advice  + object +  not  +  to infinitive.

e.g.           His wife said, “Please, don’t take any risk!”

His wife begged him not to take any risk.


He said, “Don’t forget to write down your name!”

He reminded us to write down our name.


He said, “Don’t be afraid. Try again! “

He encouraged him to try again.


He said, “Don’t leave the house unlocked!”

He warned us not to leave the house unlocked.


Her  mother said, “Forget all about this young  man and don’t see him again or answer his letter! “

Her  mother  advised her to forget  all  about  the young  man  and  forbade her to see  him  again  or answer his letter.


5.3.      Agreement, offer, refusal, promise and threat are reported in this construction :

Agree / Refuse / Offer / Promise / Threaten + to infinitive construction.

e.g.           She asked, “Shall I bring you some tea?”

She offered to bring me some tea.


She asked, “Would you like a drink?”

She offered me a drink =  She asked me if  I would  like a drink.


She said, “No, I won’t lend you any more money!”

She refused to lend me any /some more money.


She said,” Don’t worry, I will return it by Monday!”

She promised to return it by Monday.


He  said,” We will broadcast it through television  if  you do not cooperate with us.”

He  threatened to broadcast it through  television  if  the state employees didn’t cooperate with them.


Desi    :               Would you mind driving me home?

Dito     :               All right.

Desi asked Dito to drive her home and Budi agreed to.


  1. Gerund construction in Indirect Speech

    Admit / Deny / Apologize for / Suggest + gerund construction

e.g.           Desi    : Did you take my work?

Dito     : Yes, I did because of my recklessness.

Desi asked if Dito had taken her work and he admitted taking it because of his recklessness.


She said,” I’m sorry that I have hurt you!”

She apologized for having hurt me.


She said, “Shall we have a rest for a moment?”

She suggested having a rest for a moment.


  1. From Direct Speech with LET’S and LET.

7.1.            Let’s (suggestion)

e.g.           She said, “Let’s go on to the next part!”

She suggested going on to the next part   or  She suggested that we should go on to the next part.

He said, “Let’s not use this formula!”

He suggested not using the formula    or   He suggested that we shouldn’t use the formula.

7.2.            Let him / her / them…etc. (Ask for permission)

e.g.           She said to Risang, “Let her join our club!”

She asked Risang to let her join their club.


  1. Exclamation and Yes/No answer

8.1.            Exclamation ( *It is adjusted with the meaning, so everyone may use their creativity and ability in making sentences to change it).

e.g.           He said,” Welcome!”

He welcomed us.


He screamed,” Oh….my goodness, I don’t believe it!”

He was surprised and told that he didn’t believe it.


He said,  “ May a wonderful joy  always  be  in  your life!”

He wished  me to always have a wonderful  joy  in  my life.


8.2.      YES  /  NO answer is expressed by Subject  +  appropriate auxiliaries.

e.g.           Dito     : Can you swim?

Desi    : No

Dito  asked if Desi could swim and Desi answered  that she couldn’t.


Dito : Have you looked up those words in the  dictionary?

Desi : Yes, of course.

Dito wanted to know whether Desi had looked them up in the dictionary and Desi said that she had.


  1. Other necessary   changes when we convert  Direct  Speech into Indirect Speech

9.1.      Pronouns will  change in accordance to the meaning of  the  sentence.

e.g.           “I forget the combination of my safe”, he said.

He said that he forgot the combination of his safe.


Desi, you have overcooked the steak”, mother said.

Mother said to Desi that she had overcooked the steak.


9.2.            The adverbial phrases of time will change as follows :

Direct  Speech                                              Indirect  Speech

now                                                                   = then

today                                                                = that day

yesterday                                                       = the day before  /  the previous day

the day before yesterday                        = two days before

a year ago, two months ago, etc.          = a year or two months before

tomorrow                                                       = the next day / the following day / the day after

the day after tomorrow                            = in two days time / the next two days /

the following two days /

two days after

next week, next year, etc.                      = the following week / year


e.g.           “I will do it tomorrow “, he promised.

He promised to do it the day after.


But  if  the speech is reported on the same  day,  the  time changes are not necessary.

e.g.           At   breakfast  this morning he said, “I will  be  very busy today.”

At   breakfast  this morning he said that he would  be very busy today.


A logical adjustment is necessary when the  speech  is reported in one or more days after it is made.

e.g.           (On Sunday)            He said, “I will leave tomorrow.”

(On Sunday)            He said that he would leave tomorrow.

(On Monday)          He said that he would leave today.

(On Tuesday)          He said that he would leave yesterday.

(On Wednesday)   He  said that he would  leave  two  days before.


9.3.            Some changes of the word THIS :

     This in time expression becomes that.

e.g.           He said, “He will stay here this week.”

He said that he would stay here that week.


     This changes to the if it is used as adjective.

e.g.           He said, “I like this/these pearl (s) for my wife.”

He said that he liked the pearl (s) for his wife.


      This  /  these becomes it / they / them if it  functions  as pronoun.

e.g.           He asked, “Where did you find these ?”

He asked where I had found them.


We use an appropriate phrase if  this / these is used to  indicate choice or distinguish something from others.

e.g.           Desi : Which will you have ?

Dito : This one.

Desi  wanted  to  know which Dito would  have  and  he answered  that he would the one near him / the one  in his hand / the red one…etc.


9.4.            Here can become there or unchanged.

e.g.           We  met at the park and he said,” I will be here  again next week.”

We met at the park and he told that he would be  there the following week.


Our family was enjoying the scenery when I ran into my old friend. Then he asked me, “ What are you here for ?” After that, I told it to my father,” Dad, I have  just run into my old friend and he asked what we were  here for.”

Some examples for the combination of those changes :

  1. “I don’t know the way. Do you know it?”

He said that he didn’t know the way and asked me if I knew it.

  1. “Wear a coat. It is very cold outside.”

He advised me to wear a coat because it was very cold outside.

  1. “Are you hungry? Let’s find a restaurant near here.”

He  wanted to know whether we were hungry and  then  suggested finding a restaurant near here.

  1. Desi :  Oh…, how can you do that?

Ditto     : It  is easy. I just put this ink on the piece of paper and then blow it.

Desi    :  Can I try it ?

Ditto : Yes

Desi  was wondered  and  asked  how Ditto could do  that.  Ditto answered that it was easy and then explained that he just  put the ink on the piece of paper and then blew it. Desi asked him if she could try it and he said that she could.

  1. Ditto told  Desi  that  there  had been a very terrible accident  in  front of his house the previous day. Desi  was  surprised  and asked how the persons had been. He explained  that two of them had   died and the police had taken the others to hospital. Desi felt terrible and asked Ditto not to keep  on the story.

Ditto      :     There was a very terrible accident in front of my house yesterday.

Desi       : GOD ! How were the persons?

Ditto      :     Two of them died and the police took the others  to hospital.

Desi       : ! Please, don’t keep on this story?



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