THE GENERAL FORM OF :
Direct Speech : She said,” I am confused.”
Reported Speech : She said that she was confused.
(* Reported speech is a sentence with Noun Clause)
- REPORTED SPEECH can be called as INDIRECT SPEECH
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 :
- reporting a conversation that is still going on
- reading a letter and reporting what it says
- 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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 :
- “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.
- “Wear a coat. It is very cold outside.”
He advised me to wear a coat because it was very cold outside.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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 : Oh..my GOD ! How were the persons?
Ditto : Two of them died and the police took the others to hospital.
Desi : Oh..no ! Please, don’t keep on this story?