Reported Speech ( Direct & Indirect Speech) Unit 18 Language Development Class 11 by Suraj Bhatt Neb English Support



Reported Speech ( Direct & Indirect Speech) Unit 18 Language Development Class 11 by Suraj Bhatt Neb English Support
Neb English Support 

Reported Speech ( Direct & Indirect Speech) Unit 18 Language Development Class 11 by Suraj Bhatt Neb English Support

Reported Speech 


There are two kinds of speech. They are:

1. Direct speech: In direct speech we repeat the original speaker's exact words:

Example: John said. "I am happy now."

2. Indirect speech: In indirect speech we give the exact meaning of remark or a speech, without necessarily using the speaker's exact words.

Example: John said that he was happy then.


1. Change of Pronoun:

a) First person (I/we) should be changed according to the subject of reporting verb.


Direct: Tom said. "I can help my brother.

Indirect: Tom said that he could help his brother.

Direct: Simran said. "I cooked myself."

Indirect: Simran said that she had cooked herself.

Direct: Jacob said, “We are helping her."

Indirect: Jacob said that they were helping her.

Direct: You said to her, “I was happy."

Indirect: You told her that you had been happy.

b) Second person (You) should be changed according to object of the reporting verb. If there is no object, we can put an appropriate object and change accordingly.

Direct: Rose said, "You have found your shoes.”

Indirect: Rose told me that I had found my shoes.

Direct: Tom said to her, “You can give me your pen.

Indirect: Tom told her that she could give him her pen.

c). Third person (he, she, it, they) isn't changed.


Direct: Bob says, "She is selling her house."

Indirect: Bob says that she is selling her house.

Direct: Jenisha said, "He helps me.

Indirect: Jenisha said that he helped her.

Note: When the first person plural (we) indicates the whole human being, 'we' isn't changed.


Direct: Harry said, “We are mortal.”

Indirect: Harry said that we are mortal.

Note: The verb 'say' in direct speech remains unchanged in indirect speech, but say to + object changes into tell + object in indirect speech.


Direct: Roman said, "I buy a book.”

Indirect: Roman said that he bought a book.

Direct: Jessica says to me, “You are helping me.”

Indirect: Jessica tells me that I am helping her.

2. Change of Tense:

When the reporting verb is in the past, the following changes take place.

is/am/are= was/were

have/has= had

shall/will= should/would

may= might

does not +v1/donot +v1= did not + v1

have to +v1/has to+v1= had to +v1

was/were= had been

would/could/might/should= no change

had better/used to/ought to= no change

Simple Present=   Simple Past

Simple past= Past Perfect

can= could

did not+v1= had not +v3


Direct: She said, "I don 't know what he will say.

Indirect: She said that she didn't know what he would say.

Direct: He said, "That is the last time I saw him. "

Indirect: He said (that) that was the time he had seen him.

Direct: She said, "Iam going to Pokhara tomorrow.

Indirect: She said that she was going to Pokhara the next day.

Direct: People said, "I will rain.

Indirect: People said that it would rain.

The tense does not change in universal truth even if the reporting verb is in the past.


Direct: He said "The Sun is hot."

Indirect: He said that the Sun is hot.

Direct: Ram said, "The earth goes round the Sun. "

Indirect: Ram said that the earth goes round the Sun.

When the reporting verb is in the present or in the future, the tense of direct speech is not changed.


Direct: Jack says, "He is happy."

Indirect: Jack says that he is happy.

Direct: Phil says to me, "I have passed. "

Indirect: Phil tells me that he has passed.

Direct: Melina will say to him, "You can help me.

Indirect: Melina will tell him that he can help her.

3. Change of Adverbials:

Certain adverbials are changed in the following ways:

now / just= then

today= that day

yesterday = the day before / the previous day

tonight = that night

tomorrow = the next day/the following day

the day before yesterday = two days before

the day after tomorrow = in two days' time

the next week / month = the following week / month

ago = before

hence = thence

thus = so

here = there

come = go

this/these = that/those

last = the previous


Direct: Jonathan said, "He is arriving next week."

Indirect: Jonathan said that he was arriving the following week.

Direct: Ramie said, "I am busy now."

Indirect: Ramie said that she was busy then.

In Case of Yes/No Questions:

If the direct speech is in yes/no question, reporting verb should be changed into asked (enquired / wanted to know) and the sentence should be joined by 'if or 'whether”. Rest of the sentence should be written from the subject. There should be full stop at the end of the sentence.


Direct: He said to me, "Do you play chess?

Indirect: He asked me if I played chess.

Direct: He said," Is it raining now?"

Indirect: He asked if it was raining then.

Direct: Mary said, “Can you speak English?"

Indirect: Mary asked him whether he could speak English.

In Case of Wh Questions:

If the direct speech is in wh-question, reporting verb should be changed into asked (wanted to know, wondered, enquired) and the sentence should be joined by the same 'wh-word. Rest of the sentence should be written from the subject. There should be full stop at the end of the sentence.


Direct: She said," What can I eat?”

Indirect: She asked what she could eat.

Direct: Hari says to me," Where are you going?"

Indirect: Hari asks me where I am going.

In Case of Imperative Questions:

The imperative can be changed into reported speech with the use of tell/order/ask/command etc.


Direct: John said, "Give me a pen"

Indirect: John told me to give him a pen.

Direct: Mac said to her,"Please help me."

Indirect: Mac asked/requested her to help him.

Note: If there is please, will you, would you could you, kindly etc. and give the meaning of request rather than question, we should change the reporting verb into asked or requested and the sentence should be joined with 'to’. Please, will you, would you, could you etc. are not written in the reported speech.


Direct: Jessy said, "will you help me now?”

Indirect: Jessy asked/requested me to help her then.

Direct: Tom said, "please go outside.”

Indirect: Tom asked me to go outside.

If the imperative is in negative, sentence should be joined by ‘not to' + v1.


Direct: She said to them, "Don't open your books."

Indirect: She told them not to open their books.

Direct: John said, "Never be a bad boy."

Indirect: John told me not to be a bad boy.

In Case of Optative Questions:

Optative sentence begins from ‘May' and ends in exclamation mark(!). According to the sense of optative sentence, reporting verb 'said to' is changed into wished / blessed / cursed / prayed and the sentence is joined with that. Then the rest sentence is written starting from subject + verb + Use full stop (.) in place of exclamation mark.


Direct: Mandy said to me, "May you be victorious !”

Indirect: Mandy wished me that I might be victorious.

Direct: He said to his friend, "May God help you.

Indirect: He prayed his friend that God might help him.

Direct: She said to him, "May you go to the hell!”

Indirect: She cursed him that he might go to the hell!.

Direct: My dad said to me, "May you pass in the first division !"

Indirect: My dad blessed me that I might pass in the first division.

In Case of Exclamatory Questions:

Exclamatory sentence begins from what, how, interjection (Oh!, Ouch! Alas! etc.). It gives the sense of surprise, joy, delight, contempt, sorrow etc. According to the sense of exclamatory sentence, reporting verb 'said' or 'said to' is changed into exclaimed with surprise / exclaimed with joy / exclaimed with delight / exclaimed with contempt / exclaimed with sorrow etc. Sentence is joined with that and the rest sentence is written beginning from subject. We use full stop (.) at the end of the sentence.


Direct: He said, "Alas! She has died."

Indirect: He exclaimed with sorrow that she had died.

Direct: She said, "What a beautiful scene !"

Indirect: She exclaimed with surprise that the scene was very beautiful.

Direct: He said, "Oh ! my mother has come."

Indirect: He exclaimed with delight that his mother had come.

Some Questions and Answers:

1. Ram said, "I want to go to America."

: Ram said that he wanted to go to America. 

2. Sita said, "I haven't finished my homework".

: Sita said that she hadn't finished her homework. 

3. John said to me, "I love you."

: John told me that he loved me.

4. He says, "They are good teachers."

: He says that they are good teachers. 

5. He said, "Do you want to go with me?"

: He asked if I wanted to go with him.

6. Hari said, "What is your name?"

: Hari asked what my name was.

7. She said, "How do you know this?"

: She asked how I knew that.

8. John said to him, "You are not good fellow."

: John told him that he was not good fellow. 

9. Ram said to me, "Please Help me."

: Ram requested me to help him.

10. He said, "Rain falls from the sky."

: He said that rain falls from the sky. 

11. He said, "May you pass your exam!"

: He wished me I might pass my exam.

12. Bob said, "Open the door."

: Bob ordered me to open the door. 

13. Hari said, "I brought mangoes yesterday."

: Hari said that he had brought mangoes the previous day. 

14. Ram said, "While he was walking, he found a wallet."

: Ram said that while he was walking, he found a wallet. 

15. She said, "Alas! He has died."

: She exclaimed with sorrow he had died. 

16. He will say, "I have done homework."

: He will say that he has done homework. 

Some Questions for you to practice:

1. John said, "They don't know the value of money."

2. Ram said to me, "Where do you live?"

3. Rose said to Bob, "I gave you everything that you wanted."

4. Hari said, "I shall do this myself tomorrow morning."

5. He said, "Did he demand money from you?"

6. He said, "Help me please!"

7. They said to me, "Where is the money bag?"

8. Sapna said, "Wow! We have won the contest."

9. She says, "They are living in the poorest part of the city."

10. She said, "May God help you."

11. I said to my girlfriend, "I have warned you many times."



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