आराम से सीखना

Reported speech - आसानी से व्याकरण सीखे

Reported speech or indirect speech reports something that was said, but does not use the actual words that the speaker uttered.
  • Lynn asked whether Pippa had been to the new shopping mall.
  • Pippa replied that she hadn’t, but she had heard that there were some really cool shops there.
Reported speech always has two clauses. The words that are spoken are put in a reported clause. There is also a main clause that contains a reporting verb. The main clause with the reporting verb usually comes before the reported clause.
  • Katie told me that Alison is going to resign.
  • Peter asked whether Mandy was feeling better.
The reporting verb in the main clause tells us how the sentence was uttered, e.g. comment, remark, say, tell. If the reported clause is a statement, the main clause is linked to the reported clause by that.
  • Mary said that her favourite actor was Ben Whishaw.
  • John replied that he preferred Scarlett Johansson.
If the reported clause asks a question, the main verb will be a question verb e.g. ask, inquire, wonder, query. The link between the main clause and the reported clause will be if or whether.
  • Amy asked Jo if she had seen the movie.
  • Will enquired whether the documents were ready.
  • The linking word that can be left out after most reporting verbs,
  • Jamie told Dad (that) he had passed his driving test.
  • Lucy said Alan had been accepted at drama school.
but the links if or whether cannot be left out.
  • Miriam asked if she could borrow Leonie’s mp3 player.
  • Evelyn wondered whether the concert would be sold out.
  • Speech in a reported clause is not separated from the reporting verb by a comma, is not enclosed in inverted commas, and does not begin with a capital letter unless it is a proper noun. Reported questions are not followed by question marks.
An alternative position for main clauses that would normally have a linking that, is after the reported clause. In this case, the link is left out.
  • Harry Potter was on that night, Mary said.
Reported clauses can also be used to express what is in someone’s mind as well as what is actually spoken.
  • Evelyn wondered whether the concert would be sold out.
  • Charlotte thought that she had better go and see her family.

Changes in the reported words

When you use reported speech, the words put into the reported clause do not exactly match the words actually spoken.
  • ‘I’ll leave here at 8.30 on Friday.’
  • She says that she will leave home at 8.30 on Friday.
  • ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you.’
  • She says she’s looking forward to seeing us.
Pronouns and possessive determiners have to change in reported speech because of the change of speaker, e.g. I may become she; you may become us or him.
  • ‘I believe you.’
  • She said that she believed us.
  • ‘I’m leaving you.’
  • She said that she was leaving him.
  • ‘I’ve finished.’
  • She said that she had finished.
Expressions of place and time may also have to change, e.g. here may become there or home; Friday may become in three days’ time.
  • ‘I’ve been here before.’
  • She said that she had been there before.
  • ‘I’ll see you on Monday.’
  • She said that she would see him in three days’ time.

The tense in reported clauses

The verb may also change, e.g. must becomes had to in reported speech. The most common change is a change of tense.
  • ‘Hello Jake? It’s me, Penny. I’ve arrived here on time, and I’m going to take a bus to your place. There’s one coming now, so I’d better run.’

  • She rang to say that she’d arrived there on time and was going to take a bus to our place. Then she said that one was coming at that very moment, so she had to run.
A reporting verb in the present tense can be used in the main clause when you report on a letter or on a recent conversation, e.g. a telephone conversation.
  • ‘Hello, Jake? I’ve arrived here on time, and I’m going to take a bus to your place.’
  • Penny has just phoned. She says that she has arrived on time and that she’s coming here by bus.
However, it is more common to use a past tense when reporting speech.The changes of tense may be summarized as follows:
direct speechreported speech
present simplepast simple
present continuouspast continuous
present perfectpast perfect
present perfect continuouspast perfect continuous
past simplepast perfect or past simple


Verb tenses in reported questions undergo the same changes as in statements. See Reported speech.
  • ‘Are you ready?’
  • He asked (us) if/whether we were ready.
  • ‘What time is it?’
  • He asked what time it was.
  • ‘Where has Jim gone?’
  • He wanted to know where Jim had gone.
Reporting verbs for questions include ask, inquire, want to know, and wonder.
Direct yes/no questions are linked to the reporting clause by if or whether. WH- question words, e.g. who, when, where, are used in both direct and indirect questions.
  • ‘Are you ready?’
  • He asked (us) if/whether we were ready.
  • ‘What time is it?’
  • He asked what time it was.
  • ‘Where has Jim gone?’
  • He wanted to know where Jim had gone.
  • The word order in a reported question is the same as that of a direct statement. Question order is not used in reported speech, i.e. no part of the verb comes before the subject.

Orders and requests

Orders are reported with tell + object + to infinitive.
  • ‘Stop calling me names!’
  • She told him to stop calling her names.
Requests for action are reported with ask + object + to infinitive.
  • ‘Please don’t leave your things on the floor.’
  • She asked us not to leave our things on the floor.
Requests for objects are reported with ask for + object.
  • ‘Can I have the salt, please?’
  • He asked for the salt.
  • The reporting verb can be used in the passive.
  • ‘Don’t park here, please; it’s reserved for the doctors.’
  • I was told not to park there.

Suggestions, advice, promises, etc.

A variety of verbs can be used for reporting suggestions and similar types of speech. Some of these are:
  • suggest, insist on     + present participle
  • ‘Let’s go to the zoo.’
  • He suggested going to the zoo.
  • advise, invite, warn     + direct object + not + to infinitive
  • ‘I wouldn’t buy that one, if I were you.’
  • She advised me not to buy that one.
  • refuse, threaten     + to infinitive
  • ‘I’m not telling you!’
  • She refused to tell me.
  • offer, promise     + to infinitive
  • ‘Don’t worry; I’ll help you.’
  • He promised to help me.

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