Reported speech

Daisy has just had an interview for a summer job. 


As you watch the video, look at the examples of reported speech. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, reported speech correctly.


Sophie: Mmm, it’s so nice to be chilling out at home after all that running around.

Ollie: Oh, yeah, travelling to glamorous places for a living must be such a drag!

Ollie: Mum, you can be so childish sometimes. Hey, I wonder how Daisy’s getting on in her job interview.

Sophie: Oh, yes, she said she was having it at four o’clock, so it’ll have finished by now. That’ll be her ... yes. Hi, love. How did it go?

Daisy: Well, good I think, but I don’t really know. They said they’d phone later and let me know.

Sophie: What kind of thing did they ask you?

Daisy: They asked if I had any experience with people, so I told them about helping at the school fair and visiting old people at the home, that sort of stuff. But I think they meant work experience.

Sophie: I’m sure what you said was impressive. They can’t expect you to have had much work experience at your age.

Daisy: And then they asked me what acting I had done, so I told them that I’d had a main part in the school play, and I showed them a bit of the video, so that was cool.

Sophie: Great!

Daisy: Oh, and they also asked if I spoke any foreign languages.

Sophie: Languages?

Daisy: Yeah, because I might have to talk to tourists, you know.

Sophie: Oh, right, of course.

Daisy: So that was it really. They showed me the costume I’ll be wearing if I get the job. Sending it over ...

Ollie: Hey, sis, I heard that Brad Pitt started out as a giant chicken too! This could be your big break!

Daisy: Ha, ha, very funny.

Sophie: Take no notice, darling. I’m sure you’ll be a marvellous chicken.

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!



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

Average: 4.2 (10 votes)
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Submitted by sunnysunshine on Wed, 03/29/2023 - 11:49

I was talking to my friend yesterday about our favourite K-Pop group. She said she really liked NCT. I told her I was more into Stray Kids. She then asked, who my bias is. I told her, that it is Bang Chan. She laughed really loudly and said that's her cousin! I didn't believe her, but she proved herself right. She said she would call him and she did. He picked up and answered the phone with "What do you want?". She explained that her friend, me, really liked him and we started talking and chatting a bit. In the end he told me, I had a really calming voice. That was definitely something I won't forget.

Submitted by auri34 on Tue, 12/21/2021 - 01:03

Yesterday I argued with my parents about a party I had yesterday. I wanted to go because was the birthday of my friend, but my parents said they didn´t want me to go because of the pandemic. They told me it was dangerous to go and get the virus, even when my friend told me she had invited a few people. Although I was sad, I understood what they told me and I didn't go to the party.

Submitted by fernasilv18 on Sun, 11/14/2021 - 04:35

The topic is very well explained, it can be understood 5-A T-LOG

Submitted by Leticiadv1405 on Sun, 11/14/2021 - 02:24

The activity is very creative, you understand the exercises very well. 5•A. TLOG

Submitted by Graceherrera on Sat, 11/13/2021 - 21:00

the exercises are good, they help me understand the activity better and I really liked the video. 5A LOGISTICS.

Submitted by jesica_tomas on Sat, 11/13/2021 - 06:28

I liked the activities that this topic has and the grammar is easy to understand. 5°A T-LOG

Submitted by Juana_Valerio on Sat, 11/13/2021 - 01:08

this topic was very understandable for me and easy to do. 5ºA T-LOG

Submitted by GUADALUPESIXTOS on Tue, 11/09/2021 - 23:42

The easy activity was and more complemented with the prayers and extra exercises.
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Thu, 04/08/2021 - 19:09

Yesterday I had an important conversation with my parents. They said that I was not doing my responsabilities at home, not helping much with house and school work. They said that if I didn’t change my behavior they would take my phone and my computer for some time.

Submitted by Didik on Tue, 04/06/2021 - 16:11

Last night I had a conversation about bisiness with my father. He taught me many things about work that i did't know. I could have an idea of how life is when you are an adult.

Submitted by Arivelde on Mon, 04/05/2021 - 20:36

The last most memorable conversation that I had, was about my outgoing from my school to my classmates, it was a little bit apprehensive to me, in that moment, but when it was done, it wasn't so much. Not many people reacted to that news, although who reacted said nice things to me, and now I have almost zero contact with them. Only with those few who were my closest friends.
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Fri, 01/29/2021 - 10:51

Yesterday I was talking to my girlfriend. She said that one of her friends invited us to join his birthday party. She said she had asked him about amount of people should be there and he had answered her that it would be approximately 10-15 people. You all know about covid-19, that it's not safe to gather together these days, so she had refused his invitation and had told him we would meet with him and his girlfriend another day. That's all. That was the most memorable conversation I had yesterday.

Submitted by Stasiia_Ukr on Thu, 10/22/2020 - 06:50

Yesterday I was talking with my friend about her B-Day. She said the party started at 5 pm but I had the extra lesson at the same time. So, my friend suggested I would call to my teacher and inform about my reasons why I was busy. It was exccelent party!

Submitted by 31170027 on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 04:38

Yesterday I have a conversation with my sister, she asked me if I was sad because I couldn't go to my journey and I answered that I was sad but I understood why I couldn't go. Then she asked if the journey would be cancelled and I answered that I didn't know but I hoped to not be cancelled.

Submitted by 32180059 on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 04:33

yesterday i had an interesting day i woke up at 10 am so i miss a few classes after that y open my computer and started my school day when i ended y went to the dining room to get some breakfast i went to my desk again and start doing some school job i spent most of the day doing that in the afternoon i took a brake to have my meal and then i order my room took a shower and went straight to bed to watch some t,v

Submitted by 31170671 on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 01:25

Yestarday I had a conversation with my Mom Mitzi about the situation that are in this moment about Coronavirus, my mom tell me that all the days i had to wash my hand with soap, this can be stop the contagion, we need to stop this to take the normally live of all the persons

Submitted by Sophia31171075 on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 01:16

yesterday I was talking with my friend about the homework that the teachers were sendings to us and he said that he was a little overwhelmed because it was too much and he said that he would give up so I said to him that if he do that he would have bad grades and maybe it could affected our real grades, at the last I said to him that he needed to be more responsable with his decisions and be more patient with this type of learning way and be more patient with our teachers because some of them were trying to do their best.

Submitted by XimenaGat on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 01:12

Yesterday I argued with my mother because she does not want to celebrate my fifteen-year-old party ending in quarantine. She told me that it was not a very important party as everyone believed, and I told her that it was special because she lived only once in her life. She replied that she better give me a car or a trip to the other world. I told him that he would think, because it would be good to know other places and he told me that she would give me that but that the party was not and I was sad. Hahaha :(

Submitted by 31171223 on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 00:54

Last night,I had a converversation with my mom and she asked me if I want to see a new movie I answered yes because a I didn’t see a movie in a long time when the movie finish she asked me if I liked te movie an I answered yes because that the film was very beautiful

Submitted by 151305 on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 00:46

yesterday i had a conversation whit my mom she asked me if l had already finished my homework and i said no, i had too much

Submitted by SebasRamirez on Sat, 05/02/2020 - 00:28

The last weekend, I was played with my friend Adrian, when he said he had done his homewoork, and I remembered that I didnt did it so I said that I needed to done and I left te session and do my homewoork

Submitted by Ian31171158 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 23:53

One day, my friend Charlie told me that if we went out whit a friend and i said yes, we had to ask our mothers for permission and they told them that yes and they my mom told me no until we convinced her, and i went out whit them and we had a good time

Submitted by 24140151 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 23:50

Yesterday I was talking to a friend and he told me that he had finished with his girlfriend since it was a very toxic relationship, but he feels bad because after cutting up with his girlfriend he kissed a girl and his ex found out and still told her that she loved him very much and that it was the most beautiful thing that happened to her in life

Submitted by 25150118 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 23:44

Hi Yesterday I was on my house and I had a conversation with my friends and my best friend ask me If we can played Call of Duty and my other best friend said her that he can’t because he was doing her homework then my friend asked me if we can played but I said her that she waited me because I had to finish my homework.

Submitted by Eunice22cc on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 23:10

Yesterday I called my cousin and we started talking about a superheroes movie, he said that he loved that movie because his favorite superhero appeared in it, he asked me if i had already watched it and i told him that yes, but also i told him that i couldn't go to the cinema, because when i had enough time to go, the movie wasn't on the cinema anymore, and that i had to wait until I could buy it online, he laughed at me and then he said that he went to watch it the day of the premier and he told me that day had been one of the happiest days of his life

Submitted by IvanRafael on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 22:31

Yesterday I have a conversation with my cousin. I came to his house and I told he that if we could go play soccer behind his house and he replied that he couldn't because he had hurt his foot and I asked what had happened to him and he told me that he had fallen off the bicycle and then he began to tell me about how he had fallen off the bicycle. In the night we start to play Monopoly and He asked me if it was the first time he had played it and I answered no, that he had played it sometimes

Submitted by jjrh66 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 21:47

yesterday I had a conversation with my friend cause the monday passed one month since a concert was canceled and she was sad, so I told her to watch with me a concert in youtube by vide-call, she said yes but the wifi was so bad so we didn’t pass the 30 minutes, she said “you need to change your internet” and I said “yes, I know, now what are we doing?” and we ended up taking about homework and what would be the first thing to do after the quarantine is over, it was funny.

Submitted by AdrianQ121004 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 19:59

Yesterday I had a conversación with my brother about Xbox vs Playstation , he said that Playstation was verter because it has more exclusivo games but I said him that xbox has verter online services , the controler is better and they have better suscriptions like xbox Game pass. Ay the end we decided that allá depende no what type ir games you like more.

Submitted by MRA1874 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 19:01

Yesterday I was playing viedogames with my friend, we are talking about the homework of the school and my friend said me if i had finished all the homeworks and I told him that I forgot to do the history homework but he said me that the deadline to send the homework is over so i couldnt send the homework and we continue playing.

Submitted by 31170845 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 18:56

Yesterday my best friend told me that she was trying to upload the english video, but she didn´t understad the instructions of the homework, so i decided to call her and explain the instructions, we decided to use Love Rosie movie. Finally today in the morning she said that she obtained a 10 on her homework

Submitted by citlallic3 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 18:51

Yesterday I was alone in the living room doing my homework at 1:00am, when suddenly the TV turned on by itself, I was like: hmm okay, that's weird. So the same day but now in the morning I asked my dad if he had turned on the tv with his cellphone, he told me that he hadn't done it, then I asked my mom the same thing but she also told me that she hadn't done it.

Submitted by 21110959 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 18:38

one week ago i had a conversation whit my friend juanita. she asked me if i had complete my homework of history i answered yes im complete my homework,she asked me if i could help her? and i answered yes im could help finally i help my friend
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Submitted by edson on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 18:00

the other day Iwas really sad in that moment a friend como and told me : hey¡ smile because you're never fully dressed with out a smile and since that day I always try to smile to the live

Submitted by 23130047 on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 16:05

yesterday I talked with my father about my sister. he said: you remember this day when your sister run so fast and broke a window and I answer, yes dad I remember, was so funny because of my mom nag my sister for that ooooh, that was funniest of that day

Submitted by 21110496 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 23:26

Yesterday during the afternoon I was talking with my friend Natalia about what do we did in these days, she said that she had done homework during these days, and I said that I had done homework to, but a day before I saw a hawk trapping a pigeon.

Submitted by JoseAngelGR on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 21:27

Yesterday I had a conversatoin with my cousin about which team is the best world. I replied that the best team is Real Madrid, for having more Champions League matches, he said he was wrong, since the best current team is Barcelona for having a better lineup, so we decided that it is worth more titles than a team

Submitted by 31170217 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 20:59

yesterday I helped my friend with one of his doubts and it was the only conversation of the whole day

Submitted by randomuser on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 20:58

Yesterday I was doing homework, when then my brother arrives and tells me that he needs help quickly, so I asked him what was happening, that's when my brother explained to me that a little before that moment, he had looked for food in the kitchen, I quickly interrupted him and asked him what was happening, he began to question him about why he needed my help since everything sounded good at the moment, then he told me that while he was looking for food, he had accidentally thrown olive oil, but that Fortunately mom was outside since she had gone out to buy things for the cupboard, so I told my brother that I would help him but hurry up, he asked me to cover it as he went out to buy a new oil, everything was going well , but then my brother returned more or less 2 minutes after what we talked about ... it was because he had seen my mom with the parked car taking out the shopping bags; it was fun: D

Submitted by Carolina_alvarez on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 20:15

I had this conversation with my friend last night, she told me that she would come with me to choose my XV yearold dress, and my mom told me that if we could both go to choose it, that is, my friend and I, my friend told me that in that At that moment his mom had given him permission to go with me. My friend and I were very happy about the news they gave us.

Submitted by Daanyy on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 20:04

Yesterday I had a conversation with My mom, I told her if I could dye my brown hair to pink, she told me she had never let me dye my hair of that color, and I told her if I could claryfi my hair color more, so she told me she was going to think about it when the quarantine is over

Submitted by AbigailRod on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 19:00

Yesterday I had a conversation with My mom, she told me that she had wanted to cook and sell cakes, and I told her that it was a good idea, so My mom told me that she would tell all the members of our family to help us.

Submitted by 21110116 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 18:40

Today I asked my brothers what conversation I could put up for this English exercise, I told them to tell me about a conversation I had, my older brother replied that he had conversations with his friends, but I told him that a conversation of mine, at that time the I was talking to his friend on the phone, he said "había una vez...truz", then my younger brother says he could get something out of a movie or series and my older brother said he could even put the conversation we were having and I did that

Submitted by 31170689 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 16:59

I think that the most for all the convesation that I do yesterdy was with my family. My mom said us that we have to prepare the table puting some of plate, glasses ad more. My brother and my prepare the water of lemon do it so fast. Then i put a movie to see later to eat

Submitted by sebastianmolina on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 15:55

One day outside a restaurant, there was a Labrador Retriever and I wanted to pet him. I asked my parents if I could catch him and they answered yes. Then I start to approach with fear and when I want to caress him he bites me.

Submitted by SebastianOR on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 15:42

My most interesting conversation that i had, it was the one i had the last week with a friend. We are talking about what we wanted to be in the future, he said that he would be an a famous doctor. And then we change the topic form the conversation to favorite movies and he said that he was a great fan from star wars movies. And that was it

Submitted by 31170564 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 09:14

Yesterday, I had a little conversation with my neighbor, which was about all the homework they had left her for this week. She told me that the subject that was more difficult for her was chemistry, because they let her do many tests of things that they still didn't see online classes. I told her I also had a lot of homework and trying to deliver it on time ... that's all

Submitted by student190722APS on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:16

Yesterday i had a conversation with my friend Pedro and he told me to go out with him and other guys to a park, and to go on a bicycle, and I said yes, and he told me to put me a mask, for all this from the covid, and then I took the mask and I went, and when we saw that there was nobody in the park, and that was it.

Submitted by DB044 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:06

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my father about what happens at work since he is a doctor. He told me that we he leaves home, he finds all the comercial centers closed and he cant take the bus because drivers dont allow doctors to enter. He told me that he needs to drive his car to his work and wear some special uniforms at the hospital. While my parents gone to work at the hospitals, i taked care of my two littles brothers until they arrive at night.

Submitted by JuliaVargas on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 00:35

Yesterday I was talking with a friend… she told me that she didn`t understand something about the homework and asked me if i could help her; i tried to help her and after a long time she finally understand, then, we talked about a movie we have seen; she explains me that it was her favourite movie

Submitted by 24140052 on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 00:04

Yesterday I have a conversation with my fathers about children's series I watched as a child we were laughing and remembering the old moments we spent as a family
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