Reported Speech 2 / Revision

We use Reported Speech when we want to say what someone else said.

Direct Speech:

“I am going to help you.”

Reported Speech:

John said he was going to help me.

We usually change the tense of what a person said:

Present Simple -> Past

Direct Speech: “I am a teacher.”

Reported Speech: She said she was a teacher.

Present Continuous -> Past Continuous

Direct Speech: “I am learning English.”

Reported Speech: He said he was learning.

Present Perfect -> Past Perfect

Direct Speech: “I have broken my arm.”

Reported Speech: Sam said she had broken her arm.

Past -> Past Perfect

Direct Speech: “I went to work late yesterday.”

Reported Speech: George said he had gone to work late the day before.

When converting direct speech to reported speech, we shift the tense one degree into the past because the event, even if recent, is considered past at the time of reporting.

For example, if someone said, “I am a teacher,” and they said it a minute ago, the reporting person shifts it one degree into the past: “He said he was a teacher.”

Additionally, reported questions are converted similarly:

Direct Question:

“Do you want some more coffee?”

Reported Question:

He asked if I wanted some more.

For yes-no questions, we can use “if,” “whether,” or “I wonder” and maintain the past tense in the reported question.

Indirect questions are not transformed in tense, unlike direct questions:

Direct Question:

“What is the glacier?”

Reported Question:

He asks what the glacier is.

Reported questions can also be formed using words like “suggest,” “tell,” “promise,” etc.

Direct Command:

“Go away.”

Reported Command:

He told me to go away.

Reported Question with “I wonder”:

“Where is the nearest post office?”

I wonder if you could tell me where the nearest bank is.

(Is it okay if you tell me?)

When transforming questions into reported questions, we don’t change the tense, maintaining the indirect questions.

Direct Question:

“What is the time?”

Reported Question:

Do you know what the time is?

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