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Reported Speech


You are given a block of text which explains the theory of this concept.

Once you have read the theory, do the exercises given below to test how well you have understood the ideas.


How to do the Exercises:


You are given a set of words.

You are also given some sentences with input boxes, and you are required to use the words to complete the sentences correctly.


You can put your chosen word into the input box by first clicking on the word and then in the input box.


The word will appear in the input box.


If it is correct, it will go green, and if not, it will go red.

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Reported Speech


Look at the following two sentences:

John said, 'I am unwell now.' - Sentence 1.

John said that he was unwell at that time. - Sentence 2.

Sentence 1 is called Direct speech, because it uses the actual words spoken, and sentence 2 is called reported speech speech, where the words used by the speaker are reported, just as a journalist would do.

Because Reported speech happens after Direct speech, by definition, there are some changes which take place:

The verb goes one step into the past:

play becomes played

played becomes had played

a full list of these verb changes will be given here.

The pronoun also changes from I to He.

Any time element would also change, and in the case of questions, the position of the auxilliaries also changes.

Let's look at some examples:

'I played tennis yesterday,' said David  Direct speech

David said that he had played tennis the day before.  reported speech.


I becomes He

Played becoes had played

yesterday becomes The day before

In the case of a question, there are 2 possibilities:

A question which accepts a yes or no answer

Do you like chocolate?

and one that only accepts one answer.

Where is my hat?

Let's look at both cases:

Do you like chocolate?' asked Maria  direct speech

Maria asked me IF I liked chocolate.  reported speech

Notice the presence of IF, which is not used with questions with only one answer, and like changes to liked.

Where is my hat?' asked Maria  direct speech

Maria aske me where her hat was.  reported speech

Notice MY changes to HER, there is no IF, is changes to was, and the position of the auxilliary is changes.

We often use the word SAID in reported speech, but there are many other possibilities for this word, and these are commonly tested in the FCE

In reported speech WILL goes to WOULD and CAN goes to COULD.

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  • FOR
  • TO

'I'm sorry I behaved so badly, said George.


George (1) so badly.

  • HIM
  • EAT
  • OF

'Peter, you've eaten all the ice cream?' said his mother.


Peter's mother (2) all the ice cream.

  • NOT
  • SIT
  • TO
  • US

'Don't sit in front of the computer for too long,' our teacher told us.


Our teacher (3) in front of the computer for too long.

  • IF
  • HIM
  • SHE
  • LEND

'Can I borrow your bicycle, Sarah?' asked Frank.


Frank asked Sarah (4) her bicycle.

  • HE
  • TIME
  • IF
  • WHAT

'Do you realise what the time is, Steve?' asked Chris.


Chris asked Steve (5) it was.

  • I
  • SEEN
  • IF
  • HAD

'Did you see that film on television on Saturday?' Susan asked me.


Susan wanted to know (6) that film on television on Saturday