Daisy has just had an interview for a summer job. 

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We use reported speech when we want to tell someone what someone said. We usually use a reporting verb (e.g. say, tell, ask, etc.) and then change the tense of what was actually said in direct speech.

So, direct speech is what someone actually says? Like 'I want to know about reported speech'?

Yes, and you report it with a reporting verb.

He said he wanted to know about reported speech.

I said, I want and you changed it to he wanted.

Exactly. Verbs in the present simple change to the past simple; the present continuous changes to the past continuous; the present perfect changes to the past perfect; can changes to could; will changes to would; etc.

She said she was having the interview at four o’clock.
(Direct speech: 'I’m having the interview at four o’clock.')
They said they’d phone later and let me know.
(Direct speech: 'We’ll phone later and let you know.')

OK, in that last example, you changed you to me too.

Yes, apart from changing the tense of the verb, you also have to think about changing other things, like pronouns and adverbs of time and place.

'We went yesterday.'  > She said they had been the day before.
'I’ll come tomorrow.' > He said he’d come the next day.

I see, but what if you’re reporting something on the same day, like 'We went yesterday'?

Well, then you would leave the time reference as 'yesterday'. You have to use your common sense. For example, if someone is saying something which is true now or always, you wouldn’t change the tense.

'Dogs can’t eat chocolate.' > She said that dogs can’t eat chocolate.
'My hair grows really slowly.' > He told me that his hair grows really slowly.

What about reporting questions?

We often use ask + if/whether, then change the tenses as with statements. In reported questions we don’t use question forms after the reporting verb.

'Do you have any experience working with people?'
They asked if I had any experience working with people.
'What acting have you done?'
They asked me what acting I had done.

Is there anything else I need to know about reported speech?

One thing that sometimes causes problems is imperative sentences.

You mean like 'Sit down, please' or 'Don’t go!'?

Exactly. Sentences that start with a verb in direct speech need a to + infinitive in reported speech.

She told him to be good. (Direct speech: 'Be good!')
He told them not to forget. (Direct speech: 'Please don’t forget.')

OK. Can I also say 'He asked me to sit down'?

Yes. You could say 'He told me to …' or 'He asked me to …' depending on how it was said.

OK, I see. Are there any more reporting verbs?

Yes, there are lots of other reporting verbs like promise, remind, warn, advise, recommend, encourage which you can choose, depending on the situation. But say, tell and ask are the most common.

Great. I understand! My teacher said reported speech was difficult.

And I told you not to worry!

 

Total votes: 172
Language level: 

Discussion

What was the most memorable conversation you had yesterday? Who were you talking to and what did they say to you?

Comments

CruzLaura's picture
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CruzLaura 14 July, 2017 - 14:52

Yesterday, I had an incredible day because I talked to my old Friends for a while about how they have gone in their lives and at school academically, also was an incredible day because remember as we met and we agreed to see again.

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Elennaa's picture
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Elennaa 14 July, 2017 - 14:52

Hello!
Yesterday, I had an excellent day as it was my last day of social service, but I became nostalgic the las conversation whit my students, because they told me that they are going to miss me a lot. That's why it was a memorable conversation.

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Missasen's picture
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Missasen 14 July, 2017 - 14:51

My conversation more important yesterday, with my sister because she traveled to Canada City, she said that she is very well. My asked for my English classes. She says she will come within a month.

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Lizbeth_lohe's picture
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Lizbeth_lohe 14 July, 2017 - 14:51

Is this the most understood course because we use reported speech when we want to tell someone what someone said, it was difficult. This video is very useful.
Thank you to help me understand more.

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maunr's picture
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maunr 14 July, 2017 - 14:51

Hi!
Yesterday I had a conversation with my friends in the afternoon, we were playing billards and they said that in their school don't have class two week, because the teacher go out of the country. They are happy!!
Then they want go with me of vacations but in this moment I have english class so I don't can go with they.

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TGalindo's picture
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TGalindo 14 July, 2017 - 14:50

I think that the conversation most interesting that I had yesterday was whith my classmates and my teacher. The teacher said us that we have to do a proyect about the subject. He asked to answer some problem and he asked to do some summaries for the next week. Some Classmates insisted him giving us more time for do this homewoks. The teacher gave us a week more and we promised him to deliver the proyect, summaries and problems on time

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urdejego35's picture
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urdejego35 14 July, 2017 - 14:50

Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with a friend about our degree.
'I promise I'll take you to factory'. He said me. He has been working on factory for 6 months, he think that he would get information about recruitment.
'You really must go wit us' He said, personally I think that it is a good chance for my knowledge.
'Don't forget to phone me' My friend said. He reminded me to call him for the weekend.
Until now this is the most interesting conversation...

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Jacque's picture
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Jacque 14 July, 2017 - 14:49

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with my sister because she told me to get home in afertenoon.
She told me that she would invite me to the cinema and she promise me to that buy clothes .
I'm happy!

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Alexantos's picture
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Alexantos 14 July, 2017 - 14:49

I had a great day, because I met with my friend, we talked about climate change. He said that it's caused by the people that don't care the natural resources. I said hir to need us save energy for example turn off the light when we don't use and change the old device.

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mary1708's picture
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mary1708 14 July, 2017 - 14:49

Hello! Yesterday I was chatting with my friend about what she would do on her vacations and she invited me to go on a trip with her because last month she begs her parents to be paid a trip to "Cancun" and she is very happy so much that she thereatened to stop being my friend if I was not traveling with her :(

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gd_jyh's picture
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gd_jyh 14 July, 2017 - 14:49

Yesterday, I was talking with my sister and she told me to made a Project that night, but she didn't how do it because she didn't go to the class for a week, and her teacher warned her to not pass the course if she don't do this Project.
So I promised to help her but if she buy me a dress and she said me that she accept.

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GVM190795's picture
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GVM190795 13 July, 2017 - 23:12

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with my friend about how much does the petrol cost between his country and my country.
He lives in Canada and I live in Mexico.
He told me that in any petrol station one gallon of gas costs around 2.68 dollars.
And I want to tell you that one gallon of gas is around 4 liters here in Mexico. Besides, each liter here costs around 20 pesos, that means that 4 times 20 equals 80 pesos for the same amount of liters that he pays and me too.
But the diference is that here in México we have to pay 2more dollars than any American person!

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Maywasausky's picture
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Maywasausky 13 July, 2017 - 23:07

My conversation more important yesterday I went with a high school teacher to be synodal in the degrees of the graduates.

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PURPLE16's picture
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PURPLE16 13 July, 2017 - 23:04

Yesterday I talking with my friend Chino. He is very interesting.
He told me that he would invite me to the cinema.
He promised buy me an ice cream.
I advise this weekend to leave.

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FLOW9508's picture
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FLOW9508 13 July, 2017 - 23:02

Yesterday I had a conversation with my cousin because she is away from home, she has spoken to us to know how we are and tells me how much fun she has spent.
I speak with my cousin who is away from home and tells me how is happening

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GlzYera's picture
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GlzYera 13 July, 2017 - 23:00

yesterday I have a conversation very important with a person of human resources of INIX for schedule a date for a interview. INIX is a company that is dedicated of the process for the fabrication the polymers. I would like to get a place for do my practices school in inix

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AngieCorrea23's picture
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AngieCorrea23 13 July, 2017 - 22:59

Yesterday I have a conversation whit my mom on my travel to Queretaro in the next month.
I go to the residence professional because I'll graduate in February. She said that me to behave well !!

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 14 July, 2017 - 13:01

Hi AngieCorrea23. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and have a good trip next month!

Here, use the verb 'tell' (She told me to behave well ...) because 'tell' is used for reporting instructions (He/She told me to + verb). I hope this tip is useful! :)

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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tania104's picture
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tania104 13 July, 2017 - 22:59

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my favorite cousin. We talk about to go Queretaro together to search residence. We agree go out on Saturday in the morning. Our plans are going to eat at twelve with aunt and return to the seven of the afternoon.

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kar9876's picture
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kar9876 13 July, 2017 - 22:58

hello
I'm a engineer. she saidi was a engineer.
I'm not going, he said. he said he wasn't going.

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GamalielJR's picture
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GamalielJR 13 July, 2017 - 22:57

Hello....!!!!!!!!!!
I´m from Mexico and studying English.
Yesterday in the English class we talked about the reported speech.

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patriciopm's picture
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patriciopm 13 July, 2017 - 22:57

hello.... I'm from Mexico.
Yesterday in the English class we talked about the reported seech!

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luis0795's picture
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luis0795 13 July, 2017 - 22:57

yesterday I had an interesting conversation with my friend about where we are going to work finishing college she told me it was good idea

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Kokhant's picture
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Kokhant 24 December, 2016 - 04:32

Hi everyone.
Help me with this. I don't know surely the reported speech in this.
She said ,"Many thanks for the present you sent me."
She.....
With respect,
Kokhant

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 24 June, 2016 - 11:47

Hi drhhnmaa. Some questions are a bit tricky. Why not have another go? You can also try some of the other videos in this section. They are at different levels and you can see the level below the transcript. From easiest to most difficult, they are A1-A2-B1-B2. Good luck :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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englishmeow's picture
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englishmeow 8 June, 2016 - 22:29

Yesterday was my last day of school, so we signed yearbooks and talked a lot to teachers and friends. I like British Council. It gives good grammar practice.

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 17 March, 2015 - 03:29

Hi HollyJolly775. Thanks, it's great to know you like the site :) Is there anything you are particularly a fan of, or anything you would like to see on the site? 
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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