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  • English Grammar
  • Reported Speech

Reported Speech - Definition, Rules and Usage with Examples

Reported speech or indirect speech is the form of speech used to convey what was said by someone at some point of time. This article will help you with all that you need to know about reported speech, its meaning, definition, how and when to use them along with examples. Furthermore, try out the practice questions given to check how far you have understood the topic.

in reported speech have changes to

Table of Contents

Definition of reported speech, rules to be followed when using reported speech, table 1 – change of pronouns, table 2 – change of adverbs of place and adverbs of time, table 3 – change of tense, table 4 – change of modal verbs, tips to practise reported speech, examples of reported speech, check your understanding of reported speech, frequently asked questions on reported speech in english, what is reported speech.

Reported speech is the form in which one can convey a message said by oneself or someone else, mostly in the past. It can also be said to be the third person view of what someone has said. In this form of speech, you need not use quotation marks as you are not quoting the exact words spoken by the speaker, but just conveying the message.

Now, take a look at the following dictionary definitions for a clearer idea of what it is.

Reported speech, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a report of what somebody has said that does not use their exact words.” The Collins Dictionary defines reported speech as “speech which tells you what someone said, but does not use the person’s actual words.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, reported speech is defined as “the act of reporting something that was said, but not using exactly the same words.” The Macmillan Dictionary defines reported speech as “the words that you use to report what someone else has said.”

Reported speech is a little different from direct speech . As it has been discussed already, reported speech is used to tell what someone said and does not use the exact words of the speaker. Take a look at the following rules so that you can make use of reported speech effectively.

  • The first thing you have to keep in mind is that you need not use any quotation marks as you are not using the exact words of the speaker.
  • You can use the following formula to construct a sentence in the reported speech.
  • You can use verbs like said, asked, requested, ordered, complained, exclaimed, screamed, told, etc. If you are just reporting a declarative sentence , you can use verbs like told, said, etc. followed by ‘that’ and end the sentence with a full stop . When you are reporting interrogative sentences, you can use the verbs – enquired, inquired, asked, etc. and remove the question mark . In case you are reporting imperative sentences , you can use verbs like requested, commanded, pleaded, ordered, etc. If you are reporting exclamatory sentences , you can use the verb exclaimed and remove the exclamation mark . Remember that the structure of the sentences also changes accordingly.
  • Furthermore, keep in mind that the sentence structure , tense , pronouns , modal verbs , some specific adverbs of place and adverbs of time change when a sentence is transformed into indirect/reported speech.

Transforming Direct Speech into Reported Speech

As discussed earlier, when transforming a sentence from direct speech into reported speech, you will have to change the pronouns, tense and adverbs of time and place used by the speaker. Let us look at the following tables to see how they work.

Here are some tips you can follow to become a pro in using reported speech.

  • Select a play, a drama or a short story with dialogues and try transforming the sentences in direct speech into reported speech.
  • Write about an incident or speak about a day in your life using reported speech.
  • Develop a story by following prompts or on your own using reported speech.

Given below are a few examples to show you how reported speech can be written. Check them out.

  • Santana said that she would be auditioning for the lead role in Funny Girl.
  • Blaine requested us to help him with the algebraic equations.
  • Karishma asked me if I knew where her car keys were.
  • The judges announced that the Warblers were the winners of the annual acapella competition.
  • Binsha assured that she would reach Bangalore by 8 p.m.
  • Kumar said that he had gone to the doctor the previous day.
  • Lakshmi asked Teena if she would accompany her to the railway station.
  • Jibin told me that he would help me out after lunch.
  • The police ordered everyone to leave from the bus stop immediately.
  • Rahul said that he was drawing a caricature.

Transform the following sentences into reported speech by making the necessary changes.

1. Rachel said, “I have an interview tomorrow.”

2. Mahesh said, “What is he doing?”

3. Sherly said, “My daughter is playing the lead role in the skit.”

4. Dinesh said, “It is a wonderful movie!”

5. Suresh said, “My son is getting married next month.”

6. Preetha said, “Can you please help me with the invitations?”

7. Anna said, “I look forward to meeting you.”

8. The teacher said, “Make sure you complete the homework before tomorrow.”

9. Sylvester said, “I am not going to cry anymore.”

10. Jade said, “My sister is moving to Los Angeles.”

Now, find out if you have answered all of them correctly.

1. Rachel said that she had an interview the next day.

2. Mahesh asked what he was doing.

3. Sherly said that her daughter was playing the lead role in the skit.

4. Dinesh exclaimed that it was a wonderful movie.

5. Suresh said that his son was getting married the following month.

6. Preetha asked if I could help her with the invitations.

7. Anna said that she looked forward to meeting me.

8. The teacher told us to make sure we completed the homework before the next day.

9. Sylvester said that he was not going to cry anymore.

10. Jade said that his sister was moving to Los Angeles.

What is reported speech?

What is the definition of reported speech.

Reported speech, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a report of what somebody has said that does not use their exact words.” The Collins Dictionary defines reported speech as “speech which tells you what someone said, but does not use the person’s actual words.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, reported speech is defined as “the act of reporting something that was said, but not using exactly the same words.” The Macmillan Dictionary defines reported speech as “the words that you use to report what someone else has said.”

What is the formula of reported speech?

You can use the following formula to construct a sentence in the reported speech. Subject said that (report whatever the speaker said)

Give some examples of reported speech.

Given below are a few examples to show you how reported speech can be written.

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Cambridge Dictionary

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Reported speech: indirect speech

Indirect speech focuses more on the content of what someone said rather than their exact words. In indirect speech , the structure of the reported clause depends on whether the speaker is reporting a statement, a question or a command.

Indirect speech: reporting statements

Indirect reports of statements consist of a reporting clause and a that -clause. We often omit that , especially in informal situations:

The pilot commented that the weather had been extremely bad as the plane came in to land. (The pilot’s words were: ‘The weather was extremely bad as the plane came in to land.’ )
I told my wife I didn’t want a party on my 50th birthday. ( that -clause without that ) (or I told my wife that I didn’t want a party on my 50th birthday .)

Indirect speech: reporting questions

Reporting yes-no questions and alternative questions.

Indirect reports of yes-no questions and questions with or consist of a reporting clause and a reported clause introduced by if or whether . If is more common than whether . The reported clause is in statement form (subject + verb), not question form:

She asked if [S] [V] I was Scottish. (original yes-no question: ‘Are you Scottish?’ )
The waiter asked whether [S] we [V] wanted a table near the window. (original yes-no question: ‘Do you want a table near the window? )
He asked me if [S] [V] I had come by train or by bus. (original alternative question: ‘Did you come by train or by bus?’ )

Questions: yes-no questions ( Are you feeling cold? )

Reporting wh -questions

Indirect reports of wh -questions consist of a reporting clause, and a reported clause beginning with a wh -word ( who, what, when, where, why, how ). We don’t use a question mark:

He asked me what I wanted.
Not: He asked me what I wanted?

The reported clause is in statement form (subject + verb), not question form:

She wanted to know who [S] we [V] had invited to the party.
Not: … who had we invited …

Who , whom and what

In indirect questions with who, whom and what , the wh- word may be the subject or the object of the reported clause:

I asked them who came to meet them at the airport. ( who is the subject of came ; original question: ‘Who came to meet you at the airport?’ )
He wondered what the repairs would cost. ( what is the object of cost ; original question: ‘What will the repairs cost?’ )
She asked us what [S] we [V] were doing . (original question: ‘What are you doing?’ )
Not: She asked us what were we doing?

When , where , why and how

We also use statement word order (subject + verb) with when , where, why and how :

I asked her when [S] it [V] had happened (original question: ‘When did it happen?’ ).
Not: I asked her when had it happened?
I asked her where [S] the bus station [V] was . (original question: ‘Where is the bus station?’ )
Not: I asked her where was the bus station?
The teacher asked them how [S] they [V] wanted to do the activity . (original question: ‘How do you want to do the activity?’ )
Not: The teacher asked them how did they want to do the activity?

Questions: wh- questions

Indirect speech: reporting commands

Indirect reports of commands consist of a reporting clause, and a reported clause beginning with a to -infinitive:

The General ordered the troops to advance . (original command: ‘Advance!’ )
The chairperson told him to sit down and to stop interrupting . (original command: ‘Sit down and stop interrupting!’ )

We also use a to -infinitive clause in indirect reports with other verbs that mean wanting or getting people to do something, for example, advise, encourage, warn :

They advised me to wait till the following day. (original statement: ‘You should wait till the following day.’ )
The guard warned us not to enter the area. (original statement: ‘You must not enter the area.’ )

Verbs followed by a to -infinitive

Indirect speech: present simple reporting verb

We can use the reporting verb in the present simple in indirect speech if the original words are still true or relevant at the time of reporting, or if the report is of something someone often says or repeats:

Sheila says they’re closing the motorway tomorrow for repairs.
Henry tells me he’s thinking of getting married next year.
Rupert says dogs shouldn’t be allowed on the beach. (Rupert probably often repeats this statement.)

Newspaper headlines

We often use the present simple in newspaper headlines. It makes the reported speech more dramatic:

JUDGE TELLS REPORTER TO LEAVE COURTROOM
PRIME MINISTER SAYS FAMILIES ARE TOP PRIORITY IN TAX REFORM

Present simple ( I work )

Reported speech

Reported speech: direct speech

Indirect speech: past continuous reporting verb

In indirect speech, we can use the past continuous form of the reporting verb (usually say or tell ). This happens mostly in conversation, when the speaker wants to focus on the content of the report, usually because it is interesting news or important information, or because it is a new topic in the conversation:

Rory was telling me the big cinema in James Street is going to close down. Is that true?
Alex was saying that book sales have gone up a lot this year thanks to the Internet.

‘Backshift’ refers to the changes we make to the original verbs in indirect speech because time has passed between the moment of speaking and the time of the report.

In these examples, the present ( am ) has become the past ( was ), the future ( will ) has become the future-in-the-past ( would ) and the past ( happened ) has become the past perfect ( had happened ). The tenses have ‘shifted’ or ‘moved back’ in time.

The past perfect does not shift back; it stays the same:

Modal verbs

Some, but not all, modal verbs ‘shift back’ in time and change in indirect speech.

We can use a perfect form with have + - ed form after modal verbs, especially where the report looks back to a hypothetical event in the past:

He said the noise might have been the postman delivering letters. (original statement: ‘The noise might be the postman delivering letters.’ )
He said he would have helped us if we’d needed a volunteer. (original statement: ‘I’ll help you if you need a volunteer’ or ‘I’d help you if you needed a volunteer.’ )

Used to and ought to do not change in indirect speech:

She said she used to live in Oxford. (original statement: ‘I used to live in Oxford.’ )
The guard warned us that we ought to leave immediately. (original statement: ‘You ought to leave immediately.’ )

No backshift

We don’t need to change the tense in indirect speech if what a person said is still true or relevant or has not happened yet. This often happens when someone talks about the future, or when someone uses the present simple, present continuous or present perfect in their original words:

He told me his brother works for an Italian company. (It is still true that his brother works for an Italian company.)
She said she ’s getting married next year. (For the speakers, the time at the moment of speaking is ‘this year’.)
He said he ’s finished painting the door. (He probably said it just a short time ago.)
She promised she ’ll help us. (The promise applies to the future.)

Indirect speech: changes to pronouns

Changes to personal pronouns in indirect reports depend on whether the person reporting the speech and the person(s) who said the original words are the same or different.

Indirect speech: changes to adverbs and demonstratives

We often change demonstratives ( this, that ) and adverbs of time and place ( now, here, today , etc.) because indirect speech happens at a later time than the original speech, and perhaps in a different place.

Typical changes to demonstratives, adverbs and adverbial expressions

Indirect speech: typical errors.

The word order in indirect reports of wh- questions is the same as statement word order (subject + verb), not question word order:

She always asks me where [S] [V] I am going .
Not: She always asks me where am I going .

We don’t use a question mark when reporting wh- questions:

I asked him what he was doing.
Not: I asked him what he was doing?

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A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Using Reported Speech in English

Reported speech, also known as indirect speech, is a way to convey what someone said without using their exact words. It is used in conversation, journalism, fiction, and more. In English, we use reported speech to talk about what someone said or thought in the past. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the basics of reported speech, including tense changes, using reporting verbs, converting direct speech to reported speech, and handling time expressions. We will also discuss common mistakes students make while using reported speech in English.

What is Reported Speech?

Reported speech is a way of reporting what someone has said. It is also known as indirect speech because the speaker does not use the exact words of the original speaker.

Types of Reported Speech

Reported speech can be divided into four types:

a. Reported statements: These are sentences that report what someone said. For example: Direct speech: “I am going to the store.” Reported speech: She said she was going to the store.

b. Reported questions: These are sentences that report what someone asked. For example: Direct speech: “Are you going to the store?” Reported speech: She asked if I was going to the store.

c. Reported requests: These are sentences that report what someone asked for. For example: Direct speech: “Can you pass me the salt?” Reported speech: She asked if I could pass her the salt.

d. Reported orders: These are sentences that report what someone ordered. For example: Direct speech: “Bring me some water.” Reported speech: She ordered me to bring her some water.

Tense Changes in Reported Speech

In reported speech, we often change the tense of the verb from the original sentence. The following chart shows how tense changes work in reported speech:

Here are some examples:

Direct speech: “I am going to the store.” Reported speech: She said she was going to the store. (Present simple becomes past simple)

Direct speech: “I am studying English.” Reported speech: He said he was studying English. (Present continuous becomes past continuous)

Direct speech: “I have finished my homework.” Reported speech: She said she had finished her homework. (Present perfect becomes past perfect)

Direct speech: “He went to the store.” Reported speech: She said he had gone to the store. (Past simple becomes past perfect)

Direct speech: “I was watching TV.” Reported speech: She said she had been watching TV. (Past continuous becomes past perfect continuous)

Direct speech: “They had already left.” Reported speech: He said they had already left. (Past perfect remains past perfect)

Direct speech: “I will come tomorrow.” Reported speech: She said she would come the next day. (Future becomes conditional)

Reporting Verbs

In reported speech, we use reporting verbs such as said, told, asked, and ordered to introduce the reported speech. The choice of reporting verb depends on the type of speech being reported and the relationship between the original speaker and the reporter.

Direct speech: “I love chocolate.” Reported speech: She said she loved chocolate.

Direct speech: “What time is it?” Reported speech: He asked what time it was.

Direct speech: “Please close the door.” Reported speech: She told me to close the door.

Direct speech: “Don’t touch that!” Reported speech: He ordered me not to touch that.

Converting Direct Speech to Reported Speech

To convert direct speech to reported speech, follow these steps:

a. Identify the reporting verb: Identify the verb that introduces the reported speech. This could be said, told, asked, ordered, and so on. b. Identify the subject and verb: Identify the subject and verb of the reported speech. c. Change the tense: Change the tense of the verb in the reported speech according to the rules we discussed earlier. d. Change pronouns and adverbs: Change any pronouns or adverbs in the reported speech to reflect the new subject or time frame. e. Use appropriate punctuation: Use a comma before the reported speech and a full stop at the end of the reported speech.

Direct speech: “I love you,” he said. Reported speech: He said he loved me.

Direct speech: “What are you doing?” she asked. Reported speech: She asked what I was doing.

Direct speech: “Don’t forget to bring the book,” he reminded her. Reported speech: He reminded her not to forget to bring the book.

Direct speech: “I will call you later,” she promised. Reported speech: She promised she would call me later.

Time Expressions

When using reported speech, it is important to pay attention to time expressions, such as yesterday, last week, or tomorrow. These expressions indicate when the original speech was made and may need to be adjusted in the reported speech.

When the reported speech refers to something that is still true, we do not change the time expressions. For example: Direct speech: “I live in New York.” Reported speech: She said she lives in New York.

When the reported speech refers to something that is no longer true, we need to adjust the time expressions. For example: Direct speech: “I saw him yesterday.” Reported speech: She said she had seen him the day before.

When the reported speech refers to something that will happen in the future, we also need to adjust the time expressions. For example: Direct speech: “I will call you tomorrow.” Reported speech: She said she would call me the next day.

Common Mistakes

Here are some examples to illustrate common mistakes in using reported speech:

a. Forgetting to change the tense of the verb in the reported speech: Direct speech: “I am going to the party,” she said. Incorrect reported speech: She said she is going to the party. Correct reported speech: She said she was going to the party.

In this example, the student forgot to change the tense of the verb “am” to “was” in the reported speech. This mistake can lead to confusion about the timing of the events being reported.

b. Using the wrong reporting verb: Direct speech: “Can you help me?” he asked. Incorrect reported speech: He said he can help me. Correct reported speech: He asked if he could help me.

In this example, the student used the reporting verb “said” instead of “asked.” This mistake can change the meaning of the reported speech and make it unclear whether the speaker was making a statement or asking a question.

c. Forgetting to change pronouns or adverbs in the reported speech: Direct speech: “I will see you later,” she said to him. Incorrect reported speech: She said she would see me later. Correct reported speech: She said she would see him later.

In this example, the student forgot to change the pronoun “me” to “him” to reflect the new subject of the reported speech. This mistake can lead to confusion about who said what and to whom.

d. Misusing time expressions: Direct speech: “I saw him yesterday,” she said. Incorrect reported speech: She said she saw him today. Correct reported speech: She said she had seen him the day before.

In this example, the student misused the time expression “today” instead of “the day before,” which accurately reflects the past tense of “yesterday.” This mistake can create confusion about the timing of the events being reported.

Practice Questions:

1. Direct speech: “I am happy,” she said. Reported speech:

2. Direct speech: “Can you help me with my homework?” he asked. Reported speech:

3. Direct speech: “I have never been to Paris before,” she said. Reported speech:

4. Direct speech: “Don’t forget to buy bread,” he reminded her. Reported speech:

5. Direct speech: “I am going to the beach tomorrow,” she said. Reported speech:

6. Direct speech: “What are you doing?” he asked. Reported speech:

7. Direct speech: “I will study harder next time,” she promised. Reported speech:

8. Direct speech: “I am sorry I cannot come,” he said. Reported speech:

9. Direct speech: “I am cooking dinner,” she said. Reported speech:

10. Direct speech: “I will visit my parents next week,” he said. Reported speech:

11. Direct speech: “I love you,” she said. Reported speech:

12. Direct speech: “Don’t touch that!” he shouted. Reported speech:

13. Direct speech: “Have you finished the report?” she asked. Reported speech:

14. Direct speech: “I had a great time,” he said. Reported speech:

15. Direct speech: “I will be there at 8 o’clock,” she said. Reported speech:

16. Direct speech: “I can’t go to the party,” he said. Reported speech:

17. Direct speech: “I was watching TV,” she said. Reported speech:

18. Direct speech: “Will you help me with this?” he asked. Reported speech:

19. Direct speech: “I don’t like pizza,” she said. Reported speech:

20. Direct speech: “I have been working all day,” he said. Reported speech:

21. Direct speech: “Please come to my party,” she said. Reported speech:

22. Direct speech: “I am reading a book,” he said. Reported speech:

23. Direct speech: “I have never seen that before,” she said. Reported speech:

24. Direct speech: “I will call you later,” he said. Reported speech:

25. Direct speech: “I had a dream last night,” she said. Reported speech:

Practice Answers:

  • She said she was happy.
  • He asked if I could help him with his homework.
  • She said she had never been to Paris before.
  • He reminded her not to forget to buy bread.
  • She said she was going to the beach the next day.
  • He asked what I was doing.
  • She promised she would study harder next time.
  • He said he was sorry he could not come.
  • She said she was cooking dinner.
  • He said he would visit his parents the following week.
  • She said she loved him.
  • He ordered me not to touch that.
  • She asked if I had finished the report.
  • He said he had had a great time.
  • She said she would be there at 8 o’clock.
  • He said he couldn’t go to the party.
  • She said she had been watching TV.
  • He asked if I would help him with that.
  • She said she didn’t like pizza.
  • He said he had been working all day.
  • She asked me to come to her party.
  • He said he was reading a book.
  • She said she had never seen that before.
  • He said he would call me later.
  • She said she had had a dream the previous night.

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Reported speech in English

A Comprehensive Guide To Reported Speech In English

Olly Richards Headshot

There are times when someone tells you something and you’ll have to report what they said to someone else.

How can you do this in English?

You’ll need to know how to use what's called reported speech in English and this is what you’ll learn in this blog post.

What Is Reported Speech In English?

Reported speech, also known as indirect speech, is a way of retelling what someone else has said without repeating their exact words. 

For example, let’s say you have a friend called Jon and one called Mary. Mary has organised a house party and has invited you and Jon. 

Jon, however, is not feeling well. He says to you, “Sorry but I cannot come to the party. I spent all day working outside under the rain and I feel ill today.” 

A few days after the party, you meet Sarah. She’s another one of your friends and she was at the party too, but she arrived late – a moment before you left. You only had time to say hello to each other. 

She asks you, “I saw you at the party but I didn’t see Jon. Where was he?”

When Sarah asks you, “Where was Jon?” you can say, 

“Jon said, ‘Sorry but I cannot come to the party. I spent all day working outside under the rain and I feel ill today’.”

However, it would be more natural to use indirect speech in this case. So you would say, “Jon said he couldn’t come to the party. He had spent all day working outside under the rain and he felt ill that day .” 

in reported speech have changes to

Did you notice how the sentence changes in reported speech?

Here’s what happened:

  • “I” became “he”
  • “Cannot” became “couldn’t”
  • “Spent” became “had spent”
  • “I feel ill today” became “he felt ill on that day” 

Let’s take a closer look at how we form reported speech.

How To Form Reported Speech In English

To form reported speech, you might have to make a few changes to the original sentence that was spoken (or written). 

You may have to change pronouns, verb tenses, place and time expressions and, in the case of questions, the word order.

There are certain patterns to learn for reporting promises, agreements, orders, offers, requests, advice and suggestions.

Let’s have a look at all these cases one by one.

Reported Speech In English: Changing Verb Tenses

In general, when we use reported speech, the present tenses become past tenses.  

We do this because we are often reporting someone else’s words at a different time (Jon’s words were spoken 3 days before you reported them to Sarah).

Here’s an example:

Jenny (on Saturday evening) says,  “I don't like this place. I want to go home now.”(present tenses)

Matt (on Sunday morning) talks to James and says, “Jenny said that she didn't like the place, and she wanted to go home. (past tenses)

So this is how different verb tenses change:

Simple Present → Simple Past

DIRECT: I need money.

INDIRECT: She said she needed money.

Present Progressive → Past Progressive

DIRECT: My French is improving.

INDIRECT: He said his French was improving.

Present Perfect → Past Perfect

DIRECT: This has been an amazing holiday.

INDIRECT: She told me that it had been an amazing holiday.

What if there is a past simple form of the verb in direct speech? Well, in this case, it can stay the same in reported speech or you can change it to past perfect .

Past Simple → Past Simple Or Past Perfect

DIRECT: I didn’t go to work.

INDIRECT: Mary said that she didn’t go to work / Mary said that she hadn’t gone to work 

Past Perfect Tenses Do Not Change

in reported speech have changes to

DIRECT: I arrived late because I had missed the bus.

INDIRECT: He said he arrived (or had arrived) late because he had missed the bus.

Modal verbs like “can,” “may,” and “will” also change in reported speech.

Will → Would

DIRECT: The exam will be difficult.

INDIRECT: They said that the exam would be difficult.

Can → Could

DIRECT: I can’t be there.

INDIRECT: He told me he couldn’t be there.

May → Might

DIRECT: We may go there another time.

INDIRECT: They said they might go there another time.

However, past modal verbs don’t change (would, must, could, should, etc.) don’t change in reported speech.

DIRECT: It would be nice if we could go to Paris.

INDIRECT: He said it would be nice if we could go to Paris.

Here are some other examples:

So, in summary, 

  • am/is → were
  • do/does → did
  • have/has → had
  • had done → had done
  • will → would
  • can → could
  • may → might
  • could → could
  • would → would
  • like/love/buy/see → liked/loved/bought/saw or had liked/ had loved/had bought/had seen.

You make these verb tense shifts when you report the original words at a different time from when they were spoken. However, it is often also possible to keep the original speaker’s tenses when the situation is still the same.

For example, 

1. DIRECT: I am feeling sick.

   INDIRECT: She said she is feeling sick.

2. DIRECT: We have to leave now.

   INDIRECT: They said they have to leave now.

3. DIRECT: I will call you later.

   INDIRECT: He said he will call me later.

4. DIRECT: She is not coming to the party.

   INDIRECT: He said she is not coming to the party.

in reported speech have changes to

5. DIRECT: They are working on a new project.

   INDIRECT: She said they are working on a new project.

What about conditional sentences? How do they change in reported speech?

Sentences with “if” and “would” are usually unchanged.

DIRECT: It would be best if we went there early.

INDIRECT: He said it would be best if they went there early.

But conditional sentences used to describe unreal situations (e.g. second conditional or third conditional sentences) can change like this:

DIRECT: If I had more money I would buy a new car.

INDIRECT: She said if she had had more money, she would have bought a new car OR She said if she had more money, she would buy a new car.

Reported Speech In English: Changing Pronouns

In reported speech, because you’re reporting someone else’s words, there’s a change of speaker so this may mean a change of pronoun.

An example:

Jenny says,  “I don't like this place. I want to go home now.”

Matt says, “Jenny said that she didn't like the place, and she wanted to go home.” 

In this example, Jenny says “I” to refer to herself but Matt, talking about what Jenny said, uses “she”.

So the sentence in reported speech becomes:

  • Jenny said that she didn’t like . . . ( not Jenny said that I didn’t like . . .)

Some other examples:

in reported speech have changes to

1 . DIRECT: I have been studying for hours.

   INDIRECT: He said he had been studying for hours.

2. DIRECT: I don’t like that movie.

   INDIRECT: She said she didn’t like that movie.

3. DIRECT: He doesn't like coffee.

   INDIRECT: She said he doesn't like coffee.

4. DIRECT: We have a new car.

   INDIRECT: They told me they had a new car.

5. DIRECT: We are going on vacation next week.

    INDIRECT: They said they are going on vacation next week.

Reported Speech In English: Place And Time Expressions

When you’re reporting someone’s words, there is often a change of place and time.  This may mean that you will need to change or remove words that are used to refer to places and time like “here,” “this,” “now,” “today,” “next,” “last,” “yesterday,” “tomorrow,” and so on. 

Check the differences in the following sentences:

DIRECT: I'll be back next month.

INDIRECT: She said she would be back the next month , but I never saw her again.

DIRECT: Emma got her degree last Tuesday.

INDIRECT: He said Emma had got her degree the Tuesday before.

DIRECT: I had an argument with my mother-in-law yesterday .

INDIRECT: He said he’d had an argument with his mother-in-law the day before .

in reported speech have changes to

DIRECT: We're going to have an amazing party tomorrow.

INDIRECT: They said they were going to have an amazing party the next day.

DIRECT: Meet me here at 10 am.

INDIRECT: He told me to meet him there at 10 am.

DIRECT: This restaurant is really good.

INDIRECT: She said that the restaurant was really good.

DIRECT: I'm going to the gym now.

INDIRECT: He said he was going to the gym at that time.

DIRECT: Today is my birthday.

INDIRECT: She told me that it was her birthday that day .

DIRECT: I'm leaving for Europe next week.

INDIRECT: She said she was leaving for Europe the following week.

Reported Speech In English: Word Order In Questions

What if you have to report a question? For example, how would you report the following questions?

  • Where’s Mark?
  • When are you going to visit your grandmother?
  • What do I need to buy for the celebration?
  • Where are your best friend and his wife staying?
  • Do you like coffee?
  • Can you sing?
  • Who’s your best friend?
  • What time do you usually wake up?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • Do you ever read nonfiction books?

In reported questions, the subject normally comes before the verb and auxiliary “do” is not used.

So, here is what happens when you're reporting a question:

DIRECT: Where’s Mark?

INDIRECT: I asked where Mark was. 

DIRECT: When are you going to visit your grandmother?

INDIRECT: He wanted to know when I was going to visit my grandmother.

DIRECT: What do I need to buy for the celebration?

INDIRECT: She asked what she needed to buy for the celebration.

DIRECT: Where are your best friend and his wife staying?

INDIRECT: I asked where his best friend and his wife were staying.

in reported speech have changes to

DIRECT: Do you like coffee?

INDIRECT: I asked if she liked coffee.

DIRECT: Can you sing?

INDIRECT: She asked me if I could sing.

DIRECT: Who’s your best friend?

INDIRECT: They asked me who my best friend was. 

DIRECT: What time do you usually wake up?

INDIRECT: She asked me what time I usually wake up.

DIRECT: What would you do if you won the lottery?

INDIRECT: He asked me what I would do if I won the lottery.

DIRECT: Do you ever read nonfiction books?

INDIRECT: She asked me if I ever read nonfiction books.

You might have noticed that question marks are not used in reported questions and you don’t use “say” or “tell” either.

Promises, Agreements, Orders, Offers, Requests & Advice

When you’re reporting these, you can use the following verbs + an infinitive:

Here are some examples:

DIRECT SPEECH: I’ll always love you.

PROMISE IN INDIRECT SPEECH: She promised to love me.

DIRECT SPEECH: OK, let’s go to the pub.

INDIRECT SPEECH: He agreed to come to the pub with me.

in reported speech have changes to

DIRECT SPEECH: Sit down!

INDIRECT SPEECH: They told me to sit down OR they ordered me to sit down.

DIRECT SPEECH: I can go to the post office for you.

INDIRECT SPEECH: She offered to go to the post office.

DIRECT SPEECH: Could I please have the documentation by tomorrow evening?

INDIRECT SPEECH: She requested to have the documentation by the following evening.

DIRECT SPEECH: You should think twice before giving him your phone number.

INDIRECT SPEECH: She advised me to think twice before giving him my phone number.

Reported Speech In English

All right! I hope you have a much clearer idea about what reported speech is and how it’s used. 

And the good news is that both direct and indirect speech structures are commonly used in stories, so why not try the StoryLearning method ? 

You'll notice this grammatical pattern repeatedly in the context of short stories in English.

Not only will this help you acquire it naturally, but you will also have a fun learning experience by immersing yourself in an interesting and inspiring narrative.

Have a wonderful time learning through books in English !

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Reported Speech in English Grammar

Direct speech, changing the tense (backshift), no change of tenses, question sentences, demands/requests, expressions with who/what/how + infinitive, typical changes of time and place.

  • Lingolia Plus English

Introduction

In English grammar, we use reported speech to say what another person has said. We can use their exact words with quotation marks , this is known as direct speech , or we can use indirect speech . In indirect speech , we change the tense and pronouns to show that some time has passed. Indirect speech is often introduced by a reporting verb or phrase such as ones below.

Learn the rules for writing indirect speech in English with Lingolia’s simple explanation. In the exercises, you can test your grammar skills.

When turning direct speech into indirect speech, we need to pay attention to the following points:

  • changing the pronouns Example: He said, “ I saw a famous TV presenter.” He said (that) he had seen a famous TV presenter.
  • changing the information about time and place (see the table at the end of this page) Example: He said, “I saw a famous TV presenter here yesterday .” He said (that) he had seen a famous TV presenter there the day before .
  • changing the tense (backshift) Example: He said, “She was eating an ice-cream at the table where you are sitting .” He said (that) she had been eating an ice-cream at the table where I was sitting .

If the introductory clause is in the simple past (e.g. He said ), the tense has to be set back by one degree (see the table). The term for this in English is backshift .

The verbs could, should, would, might, must, needn’t, ought to, used to normally do not change.

If the introductory clause is in the simple present , however (e.g. He says ), then the tense remains unchanged, because the introductory clause already indicates that the statement is being immediately repeated (and not at a later point in time).

In some cases, however, we have to change the verb form.

When turning questions into indirect speech, we have to pay attention to the following points:

  • As in a declarative sentence, we have to change the pronouns, the time and place information, and set the tense back ( backshift ).
  • Instead of that , we use a question word. If there is no question word, we use whether / if instead. Example: She asked him, “ How often do you work?” → She asked him how often he worked. He asked me, “Do you know any famous people?” → He asked me if/whether I knew any famous people.
  • We put the subject before the verb in question sentences. (The subject goes after the auxiliary verb in normal questions.) Example: I asked him, “ Have you met any famous people before?” → I asked him if/whether he had met any famous people before.
  • We don’t use the auxiliary verb do for questions in indirect speech. Therefore, we sometimes have to conjugate the main verb (for third person singular or in the simple past ). Example: I asked him, “What do you want to tell me?” → I asked him what he wanted to tell me.
  • We put the verb directly after who or what in subject questions. Example: I asked him, “ Who is sitting here?” → I asked him who was sitting there.

We don’t just use indirect questions to report what another person has asked. We also use them to ask questions in a very polite manner.

When turning demands and requests into indirect speech, we only need to change the pronouns and the time and place information. We don’t have to pay attention to the tenses – we simply use an infinitive .

If it is a negative demand, then in indirect speech we use not + infinitive .

To express what someone should or can do in reported speech, we leave out the subject and the modal verb and instead we use the construction who/what/where/how + infinitive.

Say or Tell?

The words say and tell are not interchangeable. say = say something tell = say something to someone

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Reported Speech (Indirect Speech)

Exercises on reported speech.

If we report what another person has said, we usually do not use the speaker’s exact words (direct speech), but reported (indirect) speech. Therefore, you need to learn how to transform direct speech into reported speech. The structure is a little different depending on whether you want to transform a statement, question or request.

When transforming statements, check whether you have to change:

  • present tense verbs (3rd person singular)
  • place and time expressions
  • tenses (backshift)

→ more on statements in reported speech

When transforming questions, check whether you have to change:

Also note that you have to:

  • transform the question into an indirect question
  • use the interrogative or if / whether

→ more on questions in reported speech

→ more on requests in reported speech

Additional Information and Exeptions

Apart from the above mentioned basic rules, there are further aspects that you should keep in mind, for example:

  • main clauses connected with and / but
  • tense of the introductory clause
  • reported speech for difficult tenses
  • exeptions for backshift
  • requests with must , should , ought to and let’s

→ more on additional information and exeptions in reported speech

Statements in Reported Speech

  • no backshift – change of pronouns
  • no backshift – change of pronouns and places
  • with backshift
  • with backshift and change of place and time expressions

Questions in Reported Speech

Requests in reported speech.

  • Exercise 1 – requests (positive)
  • Exercise 2 – requests (negative)
  • Exercise 3 – requests (mixed)

Mixed Exercises on Reported Speech

  • Exercise on reported speech with and without backshift

Grammar in Texts

  • „ The Canterville Ghost “ (highlight direct speech and reported speech)

▶️ Common English Idioms - Download NOW!

Time and Place in Reported Speech

When we report something, we may need to make changes to:

  • time (now, tomorrow)
  • place (here, this room)

If we report something around the same time, then we probably do not need to make any changes to time words . But if we report something at a different time, we need to change time words. Look at these example sentences:

  • He said: "It was hot yesterday ." → He said that it had been hot the day before .
  • He said: "We are going to swim tomorrow ." → He said they were going to swim the next day .

Here is a list of common time words, showing how you change them for reported speech:

Place words

If we are in the same place when we report something, then we do not need to make any changes to place words . But if we are in a different place when we report something, then we need to change the place words. Look at these example sentences:

  • He said: "It is cold in here ." → He said that it was cold in there .
  • He said: "How much is this book ?" → He asked how much the book was.

Here are some common place words, showing how you change them for reported speech:

Contributor: Josef Essberger

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions

YouTube video

👉 Quiz 1 / Quiz 2

Advanced Grammar Course

What is reported speech?

“Reported speech” is when we talk about what somebody else said – for example:

  • Direct Speech: “I’ve been to London three times.”
  • Reported Speech: She said she’d been to London three times.

There are a lot of tricky little details to remember, but don’t worry, I’ll explain them and we’ll see lots of examples. The lesson will have three parts – we’ll start by looking at statements in reported speech, and then we’ll learn about some exceptions to the rules, and finally we’ll cover reported questions, requests, and commands.

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions Espresso English

So much of English grammar – like this topic, reported speech – can be confusing, hard to understand, and even harder to use correctly. I can help you learn grammar easily and use it confidently inside my Advanced English Grammar Course.

In this course, I will make even the most difficult parts of English grammar clear to you – and there are lots of opportunities for you to practice!

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions Espresso English

Backshift of Verb Tenses in Reported Speech

When we use reported speech, we often change the verb tense backwards in time. This can be called “backshift.”

Here are some examples in different verb tenses:

Reported Speech (Part 1) Quiz

Exceptions to backshift in reported speech.

Now that you know some of the reported speech rules about backshift, let’s learn some exceptions.

There are two situations in which we do NOT need to change the verb tense.

No backshift needed when the situation is still true

For example, if someone says “I have three children” (direct speech) then we would say “He said he has three children” because the situation continues to be true.

If I tell you “I live in the United States” (direct speech) then you could tell someone else “She said she lives in the United States” (that’s reported speech) because it is still true.

When the situation is still true, then we don’t need to backshift the verb.

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions Espresso English

He said he HAS three children

But when the situation is NOT still true, then we DO need to backshift the verb.

Imagine your friend says, “I have a headache.”

  • If you immediately go and talk to another friend, you could say, “She said she has a headache,” because the situation is still true
  • If you’re talking about that conversation a month after it happened, then you would say, “She said she had a headache,” because it’s no longer true.

No backshift needed when the situation is still in the future

We also don’t need to backshift to the verb when somebody said something about the future, and the event is still in the future.

Here’s an example:

  • On Monday, my friend said, “I ‘ll call you on Friday .”
  • “She said she ‘ll call me on Friday”, because Friday is still in the future from now.
  • It is also possible to say, “She said she ‘d (she would) call me on Friday.”
  • Both of them are correct, so the backshift in this case is optional.

Let’s look at a different situation:

  • On Monday, my friend said, “I ‘ll call you on Tuesday .”
  • “She said she ‘d  call me on Tuesday.” I must backshift because the event is NOT still in the future.

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions Espresso English

Review: Reported Speech, Backshift, & Exceptions

Quick review:

  • Normally in reported speech we backshift the verb, we put it in a verb tense that’s a little bit further in the past.
  • when the situation is still true
  • when the situation is still in the future

Reported Requests, Orders, and Questions

Those were the rules for reported statements, just regular sentences.

What about reported speech for questions, requests, and orders?

For reported requests, we use “asked (someone) to do something”:

  • “Please make a copy of this report.” (direct speech)
  • She asked me to make a copy of the report. (reported speech)

For reported orders, we use “told (someone) to do something:”

  • “Go to the bank.” (direct speech)
  • “He told me to go to the bank.” (reported speech)

The main verb stays in the infinitive with “to”:

  • She asked me to make a copy of the report. She asked me  make  a copy of the report.
  • He told me to go to the bank. He told me  go  to the bank.

For yes/no questions, we use “asked if” and “wanted to know if” in reported speech.

  • “Are you coming to the party?” (direct)
  • He asked if I was coming to the party. (reported)
  • “Did you turn off the TV?” (direct)
  • She wanted to know if I had turned off the TV.” (reported)

The main verb changes and back shifts according to the rules and exceptions we learned earlier.

Notice that we don’t use do/does/did in the reported question:

  • She wanted to know did I turn off the TV.
  • She wanted to know if I had turned off the TV.

For other questions that are not yes/no questions, we use asked/wanted to know (without “if”):

  • “When was the company founded?” (direct)
  • She asked when the company was founded.” (reported)
  • “What kind of car do you drive?” (direct)
  • He wanted to know what kind of car I drive. (reported)

Again, notice that we don’t use do/does/did in reported questions:

  • “Where does he work?”
  • She wanted to know  where does he work.
  • She wanted to know where he works.

Also, in questions with the verb “to be,” the word order changes in the reported question:

  • “Where were you born?” ([to be] + subject)
  • He asked where I was born. (subject + [to be])
  • He asked where was I born.

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions Espresso English

Reported Speech (Part 2) Quiz

Learn more about reported speech:

  • Reported speech: Perfect English Grammar
  • Reported speech: BJYU’s

If you want to take your English grammar to the next level, then my Advanced English Grammar Course is for you! It will help you master the details of the English language, with clear explanations of essential grammar topics, and lots of practice. I hope to see you inside!

I’ve got one last little exercise for you, and that is to write sentences using reported speech. Think about a conversation you’ve had in the past, and write about it – let’s see you put this into practice right away.

Master the details of English grammar:

Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions Espresso English

More Espresso English Lessons:

About the author.

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Shayna Oliveira

Shayna Oliveira is the founder of Espresso English, where you can improve your English fast - even if you don’t have much time to study. Millions of students are learning English from her clear, friendly, and practical lessons! Shayna is a CELTA-certified teacher with 10+ years of experience helping English learners become more fluent in her English courses.

English EFL

Reported speech

Changing time and place in reported speech

Time and place must often change when going from direct to reported speech (indirect speech).

In general, personal pronouns change to the third person singular or plural, except when the speaker reports his own words: I/me/my/mine, you/your/yours = him/his/her/hers we/us/our/ours, you/your/yours = they/their/theirs

He said: "I like your new car." = He told her that he liked her new car. I said: "I'm going to my friend's house." = I said that I was going to my friend's house.

If we are in the same place when we report something, then we do not need to make any changes to  place words . But if we are in a different place when we report something, then we need to change the place words. Look at these example sentences:

  • He said: "It is cold in  here ." → He said that it was cold in  there .
  • He said: "How much is  this book ?" → He asked how much  the book was.

Here are some common place words, showing how you change them for reported speech:

Course Curriculum

  • Direct and indirect speech 15 mins
  • Tense changes in reported speech 20 mins
  • Changing time and place in reported speech 20 mins
  • Reported questions 20 mins
  • Reporting verbs 20 mins
  • Reporting orders and requests 15 mins
  • Reporting hopes, intentions and promises 20 mins

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  • Direct & Indirect Speech

Reported Speech Tenses

Reported speech tenses will change from that of the direct speech in most cases.

This is known as backshifting in reported speech , with the basic rule that a tense is shifted back to its past tense form.

This is because we are usually talking about something in the past. 

You can also watch a video of this lesson:

Backshifting in Reported Speech

Here are some examples of backshifting, with tenses going back from present to past:

Backshifting in Reported Speech

Reported Speech Tenses Change Chart

Below is a reported speech tense change chart with the rules for backshifting for each tense and for modal verbs.

You will see reported speech does not go back a tense if it is already in the past perfect (there is no further back it can go), and some modal verbs also do not change. 

If you are tested on this, though, these are the changes you need to make.

Reported Speech Chart for Tenses

Exceptions to the rules

This is a useful starting point. However, it is a simplification as we may not always decide or need to shift the tense back. 

For instance, if the circumstances we are reporting on  have not changed  since they were directly said, then the tense would not need to be changed. For example:

Direct Speech

  • I  am  happy 
  • (present simple)

Reported Speech

  • She said she is happy 

So if we want to convey that the situation is still true then we may keep the tense the same.

Alternatively, the tense could even forward shift. An example would be in relation to a film or book. In this case, the person may use the past tense to say that the film was good, but the present or past tense could be used when you convey that to someone else:

Direct Speech:

  • The film  was  really good!
  • (past simple)

Reported Speech:

  • He said that the film  was  very good!
  • (past simple) Or
  • He said that the film  is  very good!

As you can see, either reported speech tenses would be ok if you wanted to pass the information on to somebody else. The person said the film was good, and it is still good (it hasn't gone away).

So there are some general rules for reported speech tense changes but it can depend on the context. There may be no need to change it or you may be able to choose either tense.

Click the ' reported speech: practice forming indirect speech ' link below to practice changing tenses. 

More on Reported Speech:

Direct and indirect speech are different because in direct speech the exact words said are spoken, but in indirect or reported speech, we are reporting what was said, usually using the past tense.

Direct and Indirect Speech: The differences explained

Direct and indirect speech are different because in direct speech the exact words said are spoken, but in indirect or reported speech, we are reporting what was said, usually using the past tense.

In these examples of direct and indirect speech you are given a sentence in direct speech which is then connected to indirect speech.

Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

In these examples of direct and indirect speech you are given a sentence in direct speech which is then connected to indirect speech.

This reported speech quiz gives you the chance to practice converting direct speech to reported speech, also known as indirect speech. This involves backshifting with the tenses.

Reported Speech Quiz - Practice forming indirect speech

This reported speech quiz gives you the chance to practice converting direct speech to reported speech, also known as indirect speech. This involves backshifting with the tenses.

Reported speech imperatives, also known as reported commands, follow a slightly different structure to normal indirect speech. We use imperatives to give orders, advice, or make requests.

Reported Speech Imperatives: Reporting commands in indirect speech

Reported speech imperatives, also known as reported commands, follow a slightly different structure to normal indirect speech. We use imperatives to give orders, advice, or make requests.

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Lesson Notes

All of these changes are necessary when the reporting verb is in the simple past. Remember, you don’t make changes if the reported verb is in the simple present.

1. Verbs & Time Tenses

Review the following time tense changes and examples:

  • He said, “It is so cold!”  ⇒ He said (that) it was so cold!
  • He said, “I ate some pizza.”  ⇒ He said (that) he had eaten some pizza.
  • He said, “I am going to go later.”  ⇒ He said (that) he was going to go later.
  • He said, “I am talking to Mike.”  ⇒ He said (that) he was talking to Mike.
  • He said, “I was running a lot.”  ⇒ He said (that) he had been running a lot.
  • He said, “I’ve never seen the movie.”  ⇒ He said (that) he had never seen the movie.

Review the following modals that change and some examples:

  • She said, “I can do it.” ⇒ She said (that) she could do it.
  • She said, “It may rain later” ⇒ She said (that) it might rain later.
  • She said, “John must do his homework.”  ⇒ She said (that) John had to do his homework.
  • She said, “I will find the note.” ⇒ She said (that) she would find the note.

3. Pronouns

Pronouns can be confusing to change because it depends on who said what, and who is telling the information to whom…

You can review some of the changes in the examples above. For example, She said, “I….”  The first person pronoun changes to ‘she’ when someone else is telling another person what the original speaker said. This is also shown in the time tense changes with ‘he’. In those examples, if the two speakers had used “me”, they would have changes to “her” and “him” (EX: “Give them to me”  ⇒ She/He said to give them to her/him.)

Other words that may need to change “we⇒ they” and “us ⇒ them” (We said, “Tell us” ⇒ They said to tell them)

*note the change for imperatives to the infinitive*

4. Time Words

Time words can also be tricky because it depends on when the original sentence was said, and when it was repeated. The important thing to remember is that the words need to change to keep the same, original meaning. Here are some of the common changes, imagining they are being repeated on a different day, and the words must change :

  • She said, “I can call John now” ⇒ She said (that) she could call John then.
  • She said, “I am going today.” ⇒ She said (that) she was going that day.
  • She said, “Oliver will be home tomorrow” ⇒ She said (that) Oliver would be home the next day.
  • She said, “We went yesterday.” ⇒ She said (that) we/they had gone the day before.
  • She said, “I may watch it this week/month” ⇒ She said (that) she might watch it that week/month.
  • She said, “I saw Isabella last week/month.” ⇒ She said (that) she had seen Isabella the week/month before
  • She said, “I will go on vacation next week/month.” ⇒ She said (that) she would go on vacation the following week/month.

Review these modals that don’t change:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BUC4hXYhRoL/?taken-by=jenesl760

Practice Makes Perfect

There is plenty of practice to do with the video lesson from today, so make sure you try and complete the dictation challenge from the LIVE lesson replay, and of course, try and write your own sentences in the comments below!

Are you on my email list? The answer from today’s email challenge was:

She told her that the bar might be closing soon and she was going to go check.

Happy Studying ♥

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What is in the box? How can I transform it? ‘She asked me what was in the box.’ or ‘She asked me what in the box was.’

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Please could you tell me about punctuation change. I need it cause I have to submit my project.

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  • B1-B2 grammar

Reported speech: questions

Reported speech: questions

Do you know how to report a question that somebody asked? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we can tell someone what another person asked.

direct speech: 'Do you work from home?' he said. indirect speech: He asked me if I worked from home. direct speech: 'Who did you see?' she asked. indirect speech: She asked me who I'd seen. direct speech: 'Could you write that down for me?' she asked. indirect speech: She asked me to write it down.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 2: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

A reported question is when we tell someone what another person asked. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech.

direct speech: 'Do you like working in sales?' he asked. indirect speech: He asked me if I liked working in sales.

In indirect speech, we change the question structure (e.g. Do you like ) to a statement structure (e.g. I like ).

We also often make changes to the tenses and other words in the same way as for reported statements (e.g. have done → had done , today → that day ). You can learn about these changes on the Reported speech 1 – statements page.

Yes / no questions

In yes / no questions, we use if or whether to report the question. If is more common.

'Are you going to the Helsinki conference?' He asked me if I was going to the Helsinki conference. 'Have you finished the project yet?' She asked us whether we'd finished the project yet.

Questions with a question word

In what , where , why , who , when or how questions, we use the question word to report the question.

'What time does the train leave?' He asked me what time the train left. 'Where did he go?' She asked where he went.

Reporting verbs

The most common reporting verb for questions is ask , but we can also use verbs like enquire , want to know or wonder .

'Did you bring your passports?' She wanted to know if they'd brought their passports. 'When could you get this done by?' He wondered when we could get it done by.

Offers, requests and suggestions

If the question is making an offer, request or suggestion, we can use a specific verb pattern instead, for example offer + infinitive, ask + infinitive or suggest + ing.

'Would you like me to help you?' He offered to help me. 'Can you hold this for me, please?' She asked me to hold it. 'Why don't we check with Joel?' She suggested checking with Joel.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 2: 2

Language level

She offered me to encourage studying English. She asked us if we could give her a hand.

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He said, "I wished she had gone."

How to change this sentence into indirect speech?

Hello bhutuljee,

'He said that he wished she had gone.'

Best wishes, Kirk LearnEnglish team

He said, "I wish she went."

How to change the above sentence into indirect speech?

Hi bhutuljee,

It would be: "He said that he wished she had gone."

LearnEnglish team

He said , "She wished John would succeed."

This is the third sentence you've asked us to transform in this way. While we try to offer as much help as we can, we are not a service for giving answers to questions which may be from tests or homework so we do limit these kinds of answers. Perhaps having read the information on the page above you can try to transform the sentence yourself and we will tell you if you have done it correctly or not.

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I hope my comment finds you well and fine. 1- reported question of "where did he go?"

Isn't it: She asked where he had gone?

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/b1-b2-grammar/reported-…

2- how can I report poilte questions with( can I, May I) For example: She asked me" Can I borrow some money?"

Your reply will be highly appreciated.

Hello alrufai,

1) The version of the sentence you suggest is also correct. In informal situations, we often don't change the past simple into the past perfect, but in formal situations we do so more often.

2) 'can', 'may' and 'might' all become 'could' in reported questions like these: 'She asked if she could borrow some money.'

I wonder if there are any occasions we can't use "Why" for reported speech? I'm not sure for this one. Thank you

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Concourse 2

Reported or indirect speech: the essentials

reporting

You need to know the names and forms of the tenses in English to understand this guide properly.  If you would like to review the names and forms of the tenses, click here now .  The guide will open in an new tab so when you are done, simply close it to come back here.

There are many times in using a language when we do not want to say what we think or what we intend but we want to say what someone else said, intended or suggested.  To do that we report someone else's words to our listener(s). We do not, however, usually do this by repeating the exact words that someone else has said or written.  We do it, instead, by reporting, indirectly the meaning of what they said or wrote.  Reported speech is often called indirect speech because the message is not given directly to the person who is hearing or reading the words.  For example, consider:     John asked me to remind you to tell Peter about the meeting on Thursday. In this we have four people:

  • John: the message giver
  • Me: the message hearer
  • You: another message hearer
  • Peter: the intended recipient of the message

John and Peter are not directly connected (and may never meet or have met) so this is indirect communication.

We cannot reconstruct the exact words that John used at the outset but we can guess it was something like:     "Please remind Mary to tell Peter about the meeting on Thursday " It could, however, have been different and been:     "Mary needs to make sure Peter doesn't forget about the meeting on Thursday.  Can you mention that to her?"     "If Mary doesn't tell Peter about the meeting on Thursday, there will be hell to pay and we'll all get the sack" For the purposes of this guide, however, we'll try to stay with the most likely and simple scenario that the reporter is passing on what has been said without changing it too much.

Because reporting what someone says usually comes at a different time and often in a different place from the original words, we make changes to the grammar of the language to make it clear that we are not repeating verbatim what someone said, simply passing on the message as accurately as we can.

Consider these pairs:

On the left we have the direct speech – the words uttered.  On the right we have reported or indirect speech – how the message is passed on.

On the face of it, there's nothing terribly difficult about this idea.  The tense shifts back one (from, e.g., was to had been, from can to could, from am coming to was coming.  At the same time, I changes to he or she and tomorrow to the next day and so on.  Here's a list of the important changes in English.

It is not the case that we always use the grammar of the language like this because we can report something in a very different way.  For example, we can report:     "That's an idiotic idea!" as:     She said that it was an idiotic idea or as:     She wasn't very impressed by my idea in which the reporter has deliberately toned down what was said for his or her own purposes. For teaching purposes, this raises interesting questions, but the grammatical and other rules we use in reported speech are something worth learning because most people do not routinely do this.

Of course, not all changes are always appropriate (but using the changes will usually be correct). If we are reporting something virtually simultaneously, then we often don't change the tense or time expressions.  If we are reporting something in the same place, then we don't change the place expressions.

So we might get:     A: I'm going there now.     B: What did he say?     C: He said he's going there now.

If an utterance remains true, we often don't change the tense so we get, e.g.,     I'm from South Africa = He said he's from South Africa     I love the countryside = She said she loves the countryside and no changes are necessary because the fact remains true whenever and wherever it is reported.

Try this matching exercise .

Did you notice the changes, particularly with time and place expressions but also with the verb come (which changed to go )?

There is nothing very difficult about the form of reported speech changes (providing a learner is already familiar with the tense forms of English).  However:

  • Because of the common sense issues touched on above, you need to make sure that the language is very clearly set in a time-and-place context.
  • It is almost impossible to practise the form changes in class by getting students to report each others' utterances because time and place remain static.  You need to spread the practice over time and place to be authentic.
  • You need to make sure that learners are aware of the common sense issues and don't slavishly transform every utterance.
  • Languages deal with the issues differently.  Some, for example, reserve a subjunctive tense for reported speech and some hardly make any changes at all.

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in reported speech have changes to

Conditionals and Reported Speech

in reported speech have changes to

Have you started learning conditionals ? You probably fear you’ll make a lot of mistakes with all those complicated rules, right? And to make things even more complicated, there’s the reported speech. How can you report conditional sentences?

There are numerous English language schools and programs in California that can help you with all the doubts you may have. But to truly master the conditionals and other aspects of the English language, you should rely on as many reliable resources as possible. So, keep reading this article as we explain how if-clauses are changed in reported speech. 

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in reported speech have changes to

Can we use "if" in reported speech?

“If” is a conjunction we use in indirect speech when we report yes/no questions. 

Direct speech: Do you want to go to the cinema?

Indirect speech: He asked if I wanted to go to the cinema.

Also, if we want to report a conditional sentence, we’ll keep “if” in the reported speech too.

Direct speech: If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go for a walk.

Indirect speech: She said that if it didn’t rain, she’d go for a walk.

How do you change the if-clause in reported speech?

To see what tense and modal changes occur, let’s examine each type of conditional sentence separately. 

Zero conditional in reported speech

The tense shift will occur only in instances when the condition is no longer valid. Otherwise, the tenses remain the same.

Mom: If dad gets angry, he always reads a newspaper in the living room and ignores everybody else.

Mom said that if dad gets angry, he always reads a newspaper in the living room and ignores everybody else. (Dad still does this.)

Mom said that if dad got angry, he always read a newspaper in the living room and ignored everybody else. (Dad doesn’t do this anymore. Mom just described his past habit.)

First conditional in reported speech

If we need to report a first conditional sentence, the following changes might take place.

Luke: If we hurry up, we’ll catch the bus .

Luke said that if we hurry up, we’ll catch the bus. (This information is still relevant. Luke and his interlocutor still have time to catch the bus.)

Luke said that if we hurried up, we’d catch the bus. (These reported words aren’t relevant anymore. The bus has already left. Note the tense and modal shift: the present simple becomes the past simple , and will becomes would .)

Second conditional in reported speech

The above tense and modal shifting rules apply to the second conditional too. If the condition is still relevant, no changes occur. However, if it’s outdated, the past simple becomes the past perfect , and would becomes would + have + past participle. 

Sofia: If I had more money, I would buy a new car. 

Sofia said that if she had more money, she would buy a new car. (Sofia still doesn’t have money, and consequently, she can’t buy a new car.)

Sofia said that if she had had more money, she would have bought a new car. (The speaker remembers Sofia’s words and wishes from the past. Maybe Sofia doesn’t have any money issues now.)

Third conditional in reported speech

When reporting third conditionals, there is no change in the verb form:

Tania: If I had seen him, I would have told him about the accident.

Tania said that if she had seen him, she would have told him about the accident .

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Biden spars with Republicans on border security during State of the Union

franco

Franco Ordoñez

in reported speech have changes to

President Biden delivers the State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

President Biden delivers the State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.

President Biden continued to attack Republicans for playing politics with the border during his State of the Union address, as Republicans in the House gallery heckled him back.

He pointed his finger and blasted Republican leaders for bowing down to former President Donald Trump and walking away from the "toughest set of border security reforms we've ever seen" in the country.

Key moments from Biden's 2024 State of the Union address you may have missed

Key moments from Biden's 2024 State of the Union address you may have missed

"I'm told my predecessor called members in the Senate Congress and demanded they block the bill," Biden said. "He feels it would be a political win for me and a political loser for him. It's not about him or me. It'd be a winner for America!"

As he spoke, some Republicans screamed at Biden to "say her name," referring to Laken Riley, a Georgia nursing student who was killed last month . An undocumented immigrant has been charged with the crime.

The speech — as well as the response — reflect how difficult the border issue has become ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Republicans hold a political advantage on immigration

For Biden, his strong language is just the latest example of how he's sought to flip the script on Republicans and attack on an issue that has been a political liability for him.

For Republicans, it about trying to keep Biden on his heels on an issue where they have a clear political advantage.

Here's what matters to voters — and what could change their minds if it's Biden-Trump

Here's what matters to voters — and what could change their minds if it's Biden-Trump

Polls show a majority of Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats on securing the border.

A new Monmouth University poll found that 53% of respondents support building a border wall , the first time a majority of Americans have backed the proposal since Trump launched his first presidential campaign.

Trump has made border security a central theme for 2024. He has promised to launch the largest domestic deportation operation in American history if elected.

Biden gives an unscripted response

During the State of the Union, one of his surrogates in Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, wore a red cap with Trump's MAGA logo on it. She also had a shirt that read "say her name." She handed out pins with the same logo.

In response to the heckling, Biden did say Riley's name. In unscripted remarks, he held up the pin and forcefully repeated Laken Riley, though mispronouncing her first name.

"Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal," he said. "That's right. But how many of thousands of people being killed by illegal. To her parents, I say, my heart goes out to you. Having lost children myself, I understand."

The use of the term "illegal," referring to describe the undocumented immigrant made Democrats cringe.

"No human being is illegal," Rep. Delia Ramirez of Illinois wrote on X.

They say the language is insensitive at best, but also encourages fear-mongering more prevalent among Republicans.

Biden touts economic 'comeback' in election-year pitch to skeptical voters

Biden touts economic 'comeback' in election-year pitch to skeptical voters

Alluding to Trump, Biden calls out Republicans 'bragging' about abortion bans

Alluding to Trump, Biden calls out Republicans 'bragging' about abortion bans

Biden continued his speech, saying the dynamics at the border must be changed and said the border plan would do that.

He also listed some of the toughest measures in the proposal, including hiring 1,500 border security agents, 100 more judges and 4,300 asylum officers.

"It would also give me and any new president new emergency authority to temporarily shut down the border when the number of migrants at the border is overwhelming," he said.

It was a deal that the progressive wing of Biden's party opposed, but it also allowed him to present himself as being tough on the border.

  • president biden
  • State of the Union Address

Early polling of Biden’s State of the Union doesn’t quite match the hype

in reported speech have changes to

Democrats would like to believe that President Biden changed the 2024 game with his State of the Union address Thursday night, demonstrating verve and combativeness amid concerns about his age and mental acuity.

It’s not so clear the American public saw the home run that they did.

Biden’s campaign and some media outlets have pointed to a post-speech instant CNN poll showing 65 percent of viewers offered a positive review of Biden’s speech. Viewers also shifted 17 points toward believing the country is headed in the right direction — from 45 percent before the speech to 62 percent afterward.

Both of these are true. What’s also true is that State of the Union speeches almost always receive strongly favorable views, in part because viewership tends to draw disproportionately from their allies.

The 65 percent who had a positive view of the speech was actually lower than any such speech CNN has polled in the past quarter-century — the previous low being Donald Trump’s 2018 address (70 percent).

And the 35 percent who offered a “very” positive review was effectively tied with Biden’s speech last year (34 percent) for the lowest on record. The next lowest were Biden’s 2022 speech and George W. Bush’s 2007 speech, which each earned “very” positive marks from 41 percent of viewers.

The 17-point shift toward the country moving in the “right direction” was also unremarkable, historically speaking. Dating back to Bill Clinton’s 1998 State of the Union address, viewers have shifted an average of 15 points toward that more optimistic view.

Now we get to the caveat, and that’s that viewers Thursday were less aligned with the president than your average State of the Union audience — potentially because we’re in a campaign year, or because questions about Biden’s ability to perform drew in more people who were skeptical of him.

That appears to explain at least part of the poorer-than-normal reviews — but not all.

The CNN sample was 36 percent Democratic and 30 percent Republican. Generally speaking, members of a president’s party will outnumber members of the opposite party by double digits.

But we have seen such closely divided audiences and with stronger reviews. In Trump’s 2017 and 2018 speeches, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by just five percentage points in CNN’s sample. Trump’s reviews in those speeches were still stronger than Biden’s on Thursday: 78 percent positive (including 57 percent “very” positive) in 2017, and 70 percent positive reviews (including 48 percent “very” positive) in 2018.

It’s early, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for other data — not just direct reviews of the speech, but evidence of any actual shifts in the electorate that come in the days and weeks afterward. The basic reviews of the speech might not account for how people’s notions might have fundamentally changed on issues such as Biden’s acuity. Those will be the numbers we should really watch.

While this is the most robust data we have, it’s not the only data. YouGov came out with a post-speech poll Friday afternoon. But it wasn’t resounding either; it showed 30 percent thought the speech would make people like Biden more, while 23 percent thought it would make them like him less.

Independents were about evenly split on the question. But Democrats wagered by a 56-8 margin that it would help Biden’s popularity.

Hope springs eternal.

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Biden says her name — Laken Riley — at the urging of GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

President Biden held up the Laken Riley pin Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene gave to him before his State of the Union address. He said his “heart goes out” to parents who have lost their children.

President Joe Biden holds up a Laken Riley Botton as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Joe Biden holds up a Laken Riley Botton as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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President Joe Biden holds a Laken Riley Botton as delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington, while Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., watch. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wears a Laken Riley shirt as she arrives before President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was what the Republicans demanded but never expected.

President Joe Biden said her name: “Laken Riley.”

But in garbling the pronunciation, he left Republicans dissatisfied and opened himself to more criticism.

The death of Riley, a nursing student from Georgia , has become a rallying cry for Republicans, a tragedy that they say encompasses the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S-Mexico border amid a record surge of immigrants entering the country. An immigrant from Venezuela who entered the U.S. illegally has been arrested and charged with murder.

Even before Biden started speaking in the State of the Union address on Thursday, the topic of border security was certain to rise as one of the most tense moments.

The Democratic president was confronted as he walked into the House chamber by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the hard-line Republican, decked out in a red Trump MAGA hat and a T-shirt emblazoned with the message, which was also on a button she pressed into his hand.

“Say her name,” it said, the phrase evoking the language used specifically from activists calling attention to the deaths of Black women at the hands of police.

Midway through the speech , Biden started talking about border security and called on Congress to pass legislation to secure the border and modernize the country’s outdated immigration laws, praising the bipartisan effort that collapsed when his likely Republican presidential rival, Donald Trump, opposed it.

Greene interjected, “Say her name!”

The congresswoman from Georgia yelled, pointing a finger and jabbing it toward Biden.

And then Biden did just that.

He held up the white button and said: “Laken Riley.”

But he mispronounced her first name so it sounded more like “Lincoln” to some, and the GOP critics instantly pounced.

“It’s Laken Riley, Mr. President,” said the conservative Heritage Foundation on social media.

Still, Biden spoke briefly of Riley’s death and he made reference to his own family’s trauma — his first wife and young daughter were killed in 1972 after an automobile crash. His son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.

And then Biden urged Congress to work together to pass a border security compromise.

“Get this bill done!” Biden said.

He even called on Trump to stop fighting against any border deal.

“We can do it together,” he said.

President Joe Biden arrives for the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., watch. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

With immigration becoming a top issue in the presidential election, Republicans are using nearly every tool at their disposal — including impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — to condemn how the president has handled the border.

Hours earlier, the House voted to pass the “Laken Riley Act,” which would require the Department of Homeland Security to detain migrants who are in the country without authorization and are accused of theft.

Authorities have arrested on murder and assault charges Jose Ibarra , a Venezuelan man who entered the U.S. illegally and was allowed to stay to pursue his immigration case. He has not entered a plea to the charges.

Trump has used Riley’s death to slam Biden’s handling of the border and at an event this month told the crowd that the president would never say her name.

Biden has also adopted some of the language of Trump on the border, and on Thursday night he called the man charged with killing Riley an “illegal.”

That was disappointing to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “I wish he hadn’t engaged with Marjorie Taylor Greene and used the word ‘illegal,’” she told the AP after the speech.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, the speaker emerita, said afterward on CNN, “Now he should have said ‘undocumented,’ but it’s not a big thing.”

Greene had handed out the buttons earlier in the day.

The phrase “say her name” was popularized by civil rights activist, law professor and executive director of the African American Policy Institute Kimberlé Crenshaw in 2015, following the death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman, who was found dead in a Texas jail cell a few days after she was arrested during a traffic stop.

Biden as he spoke looked up to the gallery, where many guests were seated, but Riley’s parents were not there.

Rep. Mike Collins, a Georgia Republican, said this week that he had invited Riley’s parents to the State of the Union address but they had “chosen to stay home as they grieve the loss of their daughter.”

Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri, Jill Colvin and Graham Brewer, contributed to this story.

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Schumer faces backlash after calling for new Israeli elections to oust Netanyahu

Senate majority leader says Israeli prime minister has ‘lost his way’ and warns that country risks becoming ‘a pariah’

Chuck Schumer, the US Senate leader and a top ally of Joe Biden, on Thursday broke with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, over his handling of the invasion of Gaza and called for Israel to hold new elections, in comments that upset its ruling party and allies on Capitol Hill.

The shift by Schumer, the Democratic Senate majority leader and the highest-ranking Jewish official in the United States, came as he continued to press lawmakers to pass a military assistance package for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, the countries Biden has named as the country’s top national security priorities.

In remarks from the Senate floor, Schumer said he had a longstanding relationship with Netanyahu but believed he “has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel”.

Noting the prime minister’s inclusion of far - right officials in his government, Schumer said Netanyahu “has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows. Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.”

Israel’s ruling Likud party responded to Schumer by defending the prime minister’s public support and saying Israel was “not a banana republic”.

“Contrary to Schumer’s words, the Israeli public supports a total victory over Hamas, rejects any international dictates to establish a Palestinian terrorist state, and opposes the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza,” it said in a statement.

“Senator Schumer is expected to respect Israel’s elected government and not undermine it. This is always true, and even more so in wartime.”

The Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, struck a similar tone. “Israel is not a colony of America whose leaders serve at the pleasure of the party in power in Washington. Only Israel’s citizens should have a say in who runs their government,” he said from the chamber’s floor, shortly after Schumer spoke.

“Either we respect their decisions, or we disrespect their democracy.”

The Republican speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who has refused to allow a vote on the military assistance package despite its passage in the Senate, said Schumer’s remarks were “highly inappropriate” and accused him of playing “a divisive role in Israeli politics”.

Schumer’s appeal comes amid rising concern among Biden’s Democratic allies over deaths in Gaza, which recently passed 30,000. Biden threw his support behind Israel following Hamas’s 7 October attack, causing a domestic backlash that has seen protesters disrupt his speeches and tens of thousands of people cast protest votes in the Democratic primaries, including in swing states that will be crucial to his re-election effort in November.

Biden says he supports the implementation of a temporary ceasefire in Gaza that would accompany the release of the remaining hostages taken by Hamas on 7 October. This month, US planes began airdrops of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and Biden says the military will construct a pier to deliver assistance by sea, as humanitarians warn the territory could soon face a famine .

Schumer has positioned himself as a strong ally of Israel’s government, visiting the country days after Hamas’s attack. But in a sign of how much his thinking has shifted, Schumer on Thursday declared: “The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after October 7. The world has changed – radically – since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.”

He listed Netanyahu, who has long opposed Palestinian statehood, as among several roadblocks to implementing the two-state solution supported by the United States, alongside rightwing Israelis, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

“These are the four obstacles to peace, and if we fail to overcome them, then Israel and the West Bank and Gaza will be trapped in the same violent state of affairs they’ve experienced for the last 75 years,” Schumer said.

He added that the US could not dictate the outcome of an election in Israel, but “there needs to be a fresh debate about the future of Israel after October 7”.

Netanyahu’s cabinet is dominated by ultranationalists who share the prime minister’s opposition to Palestinian statehood and other aims that successive US administrations have seen as essential to resolving Palestinian-Israeli conflicts in the long term.

The US vice-president, Kamala Harris, Schumer and other lawmakers met last week in Washington with Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet and a far more popular rival of Netanyahu – a visit that drew a rebuke from the Israeli prime minister.

Gantz joined Netanyahu’s government in the war cabinet soon after the Hamas attacks. But Gantz is expected to leave the government once the heaviest fighting subsides, signaling that the period of national unity has ended. A return to mass demonstrations could ramp up pressure on Netanyahu’s deeply unpopular coalition to hold early elections.

At the White House, the national security spokesperson, John Kirby, did not comment on Schumer’s statement, saying the Biden administration was concentrating on getting agreement on a temporary ceasefire.

“We know Leader Schumer feels strongly about this and we’ll certainly let him speak to it and to his comments,” Kirby said. “We’re going to stay focused on making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself while doing everything that they can to avoid civilian casualties.”

This story was amended on 15 March 2024 to clarify that the 30,000 figure reflects the reported death toll in the Gaza population as a whole in this conflict.

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Schumer Urges New Leadership in Israel, Calling Netanyahu an Obstacle to Peace

The top Senate Democrat, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, spoke from the Senate floor to condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and call for elections to replace him.

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By Annie Karni

Reporting from Washington

  • March 14, 2024

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, on Thursday delivered a pointed speech on the Senate floor excoriating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East and calling for new leadership in Israel, five months into the war.

Many Democratic lawmakers have condemned Mr. Netanyahu’s leadership and his right-wing governing coalition, and President Biden has even criticized the Israeli military’s offensive in Gaza as “over the top.” But Mr. Schumer’s speech amounted to the sharpest critique yet from a senior American elected official — effectively urging Israelis to replace Mr. Netanyahu.

“I believe in his heart, his highest priority is the security of Israel,” said Mr. Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States. “However, I also believe Prime Minister Netanyahu has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel.”

Mr. Schumer added: “He has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows. Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu Has ‘Lost His Way,’ Schumer says

Senator chuck schumer, the majority leader, called the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, a major obstacle to peace in the middle east..

I rise to speak today about about what I believe can and should be the path forward to secure mutual peace and lasting prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians. The fourth major obstacle to peace is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I have known Prime Minister Netanyahu for a very long time. While we have vehemently disagreed on many occasions, I will always respect his extraordinary bravery for Israel on the battlefield as a younger man. I believe in his heart he has his highest priority is, as is the security of Israel. However, I also believe Prime Minister Netanyahu has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take the precedence over the best interests of Israel. He has put himself in coalition with far right, far-right extremists like Minister Smotrich and Ben-Gvir. And as a result, he has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows. Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah. As a lifelong supporter of Israel, it has become clear to me. The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after Oct. 7. The world has changed radically since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.

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The speech was the latest reflection of the growing dissatisfaction among Democrats, particularly progressives, with Israel’s conduct of the war and its toll on Palestinian civilians, which has created a strategic and political dilemma for Mr. Biden. Republicans have tried to capitalize on that dynamic for electoral advantage, hugging Mr. Netanyahu closer as Democrats repudiate him. And on Thursday, they lashed out at Mr. Schumer for his remarks.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, said on the Senate floor that it was “grotesque and hypocritical” for Americans “who hyperventilate about foreign interference in our own democracy to call for the removal of the democratically elected leader of Israel.” He called Mr. Schumer’s move “unprecedented.”

“The Democratic Party doesn’t have an anti-Bibi problem,” Mr. McConnell said, referring to Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname. “It has an anti-Israel problem.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called Mr. Schumer’s remarks “earth-shatteringly bad” and accused him of “calling on the people of Israel to overthrow their government.” And House Republicans, gathered in West Virginia for a party retreat, hastily called a news conference to attack Mr. Schumer for his comments and position themselves as the true friends of Israel in Congress.

Mr. Schumer’s remarks came a day after Senate Republicans invited Mr. Netanyahu to speak as their special guest at a party retreat in Washington. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican, asked Mr. Netanyahu to address Republicans virtually, but he could not appear because of a last-minute scheduling conflict. Ambassador Michael Herzog, Israel’s envoy to the United States, spoke in his place and also addressed the House G.O.P. gathering on Thursday.

In his speech at the Capitol, Mr. Schumer, who represents a state with more than 20 percent of the country’s Jewish population, was careful to assert that he was not trying to dictate any electoral outcome in Israel. He prefaced his harsh criticism of Mr. Netanyahu with a long defense of the country, which he said American Jews “love in our bones.”

Mr. Schumer said there had been an “inaccurate perception” of the war that lays too much blame on Israel for civilian deaths in Gaza without focusing enough on how Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields. And he acknowledged how difficult it was for traumatized Israelis to contemplate the possibility of a two-state solution at this time.

But he was unsparing in his criticism of Mr. Netanyahu, calling the prime minister one of the top obstacles to achieving peace in the Middle East, along with Hamas, “radical right-wing Israelis” and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, who he also said should be replaced.

“The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after Oct. 7,” Mr. Schumer said, referring to the day of the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. “The world has changed — radically — since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.”

Mr. Schumer said the only solution to the decades-old conflict was a two-state solution: “a demilitarized Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in equal measures of peace, security, prosperity and dignity.” He said Mr. Netanyahu, who has rejected the idea of Palestinian statehood, was jeopardizing Israel’s future.

“At this critical juncture, I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel, at a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government,” Mr. Schumer said, adding that he believed a majority of the Israeli public “will recognize the need for change.”

“As a democracy, Israel has the right to choose its own leaders, and we should let the chips fall where they may,” he said. “But the important thing is that Israelis are given a choice. There needs to be a fresh debate about the future of Israel after Oct. 7.”

Mr. Schumer gave White House officials advance notice that he would be making the speech.

“We fully respect his right to make those remarks and to decide for himself what he’s going to say on the Senate floor,” said John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman. “He obviously feels strongly about this. We understand and respect that. This wasn’t about approval or disapproval or anything in any way, but he did give us a heads-up that he was going to do it.”

Mr. Schumer’s speech was the second time since Oct. 7 that he has taken to the Senate floor to address the Israeli-Hamas war. The conflict has prompted him to think more deeply and speak more openly about his Jewish faith and heritage, as well as the moral and political dilemmas the war has presented for Jews in Israel and the United States.

In November, Mr. Schumer made a deeply personal speech condemning the rise of antisemitism in America that has flared since Israel began retaliating against Hamas for its attack. Those remarks appeared to be mostly directed at members of his own party; he warned that some liberals and young people were “unknowingly aiding and abetting” antisemitism in the name of social justice. Mr. Schumer has since spoken to publishers about writing a book on antisemitism.

On Thursday, his speech was aimed squarely at Mr. Netanyahu and far-right members of his governing coalition, who Mr. Schumer said were falling short of Jewish values.

Mr. Herzog had a stern response. “Israel is a sovereign democracy,” he wrote on social media. “It is unhelpful, all the more so as Israel is at war against the genocidal terror organization Hamas, to comment on the domestic political scene of a democratic ally.”

In his remarks, Mr. Schumer said that Mr. Netanyahu refused to “disavow Ministers Smotrich and Ben-Gvir and their calls for Israelis to drive Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank.”

“He won’t commit to a military operation in Rafah that prioritizes protecting civilian life,” Mr. Schumer said. “He won’t engage responsibly in discussions about a ‘day after’ plan for Gaza, and a longer-term pathway to peace.”

Mr. Schumer said that if Mr. Netanyahu and his current coalition remained in power, “then the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course.”

Underscoring how contentious the issue of Israel is in American politics, Mr. Schumer’s speech was criticized by both the right and the left.

Layla Elabed, the campaign manager for Listen to Michigan, an antiwar group of activists who voted “uncommitted” in the state’s Democratic presidential primary, said that “Senator Schumer is beginning to shift but far too slowly and with little substance for what actions Biden can take now to stop the outrageous civilian death toll in Gaza.”

Nicholas Fandos and Peter Baker contributed reporting.

Annie Karni is a congressional correspondent for The Times. She writes features and profiles, with a recent focus on House Republican leadership. More about Annie Karni

Our Coverage of the Israel-Hamas War

News and Analysis

​For at least the second time in just over two weeks, a convoy bringing aid to Gaza ended in bloodshed when Palestinians who had gathered by the trucks were killed and wounded .

​​​A humanitarian aid ship arrived in Gaza  for the first time since the start of the war, a first step in a fledgling maritime operation to bring more food  to hungry Palestinians.

​​Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s president, appointed one of his senior advisers, Muhammad Mustafa, as the authority’s new prime minister. But analysts doubt whether Mustafa can bring about any substantial changes .

A Struggle for Life’s Basics: Most of Gaza’s population fled to the southern territory of Rafah , hoping to escape the war. As they hunt for food and shelter, a potential Israeli invasion has added to their fears.

A Strained Lifeline: The United Arab Emirates has maintained its links to Israel throughout the war in Gaza, but the relationship, built on a U.S.-brokered deal, is under pressure as anger against Israel grows .

Shifting Ties: Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority has long lived apart from the nation’s secular mainstream, but the war in Gaza has both widened that divide and, in some ways, helped to bridge it .

A Winding Path: The U.S. airman who lit himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington to protest the war had left an isolated Christian community for the Air Force before turning to leftist and anarchist activism .

SCOTUS is hearing 2 cases about political censorship on social media that could change how the internet works forever

  • SCOTUS is hearing arguments that, depending on the outcome, could change how the internet works.
  • The laws in question prevent social sites from removing political posts or figures from their platforms.
  • Legal experts told BI the states' victory, while unlikely, would erode the First Amendment.  

Insider Today

The Supreme Court of the United States has had its hands full this session, hearing important arguments about redistricting and gerrymandering in South Carolina, whether domestic-violence-related restrictions on the ownership of firearms are a violation of the Second Amendment, and deciding that former President Donald Trump is eligible to be on the ballot again this year.

But a pair of laws being quietly considered by the highest court in the land could — depending on how SCOTUS rules — change the way the internet works forever, legal experts told Business Insider.

The two laws in question

The laws in question — one out of Texas ( NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton ) and another from Florida ( Moody v. NetChoice ) — are aimed at preventing social sites from removing political posts or figures from their platforms, with the conservative leaders of each state arguing platforms like Facebook and X have unfairly targeted and removed posts made by Republican users.

The Florida law, backed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis , created fines of $250,000 against social companies that barred candidates for statewide office from their platforms and $25,000 for removing candidates for local office. It also created mechanisms for average users to sue social media companies if they believed the companies were unfairly applying their content moderation rules based on political leanings.

The Texas law prohibits social companies from moderating users' posts based on viewpoint, with a caveat allowing the platforms to restrict illegal content. It also requires the companies to disclose how they moderate and promote content on their sites and maintain a complaint-and-appeal system for users.

While it's reasonable to question whether social media platforms have uniformly applied their content moderation policies concerning political viewpoints, as well as debate if there's more that social companies can do to promote constructive discourse online, legal experts told BI the function of these laws does more harm than good.

The stakes of a government win

Two legal experts told BI that a victory for the states in these cases would be a massive blow to the First Amendment because the amendment grants the privilege of free speech to companies and individuals and prevents the government from forcing them to speak — or not speak — in a certain way. Should the laws take effect, the government would be allowed to infringe on the social media companies' right to free speech by compelling platforms to host certain content.

"If the states win, then I expect that we are going to very quickly have a very different sort of internet experience," Justin (Gus) Hurwitz, academic director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition, told BI.

Hurwitz said companies will likely do two things immediately: "The first is they will, at least on a temporary basis, stop hosting content, comments, user-generated speech, discussion forums, and things like that."

Picture an empty timeline or your social media feed filled only with posts from companies paying to advertise on the platform. If these laws are permitted to stand, that's what the social media landscape could look like, at least until the sites update their business practices.

And it might not stop at social media companies, Hurtwitz noted, due to the broad language in the laws. Sites all over the internet could be required to host all kinds of unpleasant user-generated content or products on platforms like Etsy , or reviews on Uber , so long as the government can prevent the companies from removing the content.

Related stories

The second action social companies would likely take, Hurwitz said, would involve identifying new ways to operate in an environment where the government could compel them to host certain types of speech — which could mean blocking features like forums from being accessed in states like Florida or Texas.

A publisher or common carrier?

Lawyers defending the Florida law have argued to the Supreme Court that the lower courts wrongly ruled that user-generated speech hosted on social media platforms constitutes protected speech from the company itself.

"The Eleventh Circuit erroneously concluded that Florida could not regulate social-media platforms as common carriers, and in doing so, require the platforms to openly accept users," Ars Technica reported Florida argued.

Florida's argument broaches a broader question raised by the two laws, Hurwitz noted: whether social media companies should be treated as publishers, like a newspaper which has editorial discretion, or common carriers like phone companies, which offer connectivity to everyone regardless of what they're saying to the person on the other line.

Common carriers must provide service to all customers and host all legal content, while publishers are granted leeway under the First Amendment to pick and choose who they serve and the content they amplify. If large social media companies are determined to be common carriers, each platform's right to curate, amplify, or remove content on their site as they see fit vanishes.

"And what is social media? You can see how it has characteristics of both," Hurwitz said, "But they're not newspapers. They're not phone companies. They're not shopping malls or telegraphs. They're not radio or broadcast TV or cable television. They're something different. So that's the dichotomy: Are they more like newspapers or common carriers? The answer might just be, no, that they're something different altogether, and there's got to be some other way that the Court tells us we need to think about the First Amendment issues in these cases."

Jared Carter, a professor at Vermont Law and Graduate School and attorney with the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic, told BI he thinks it's unlikely that the court will need to classify social media companies as a new, third category to both protect the First Amendment principles as well as the rights of private companies to do business as they see fit.

"There is a history of courts struggling with how to apply these doctrines that have existed for a long time to new and emerging technology. And I think there's often a lot of hand-wringing: Does it work? Does it fit perfectly to this new technology?" Carter said. "If you really sit down and think about it, it's not actually all that complicated — you can't force a private individual or a private company to speak to the world in a way it doesn't want to speak based on viewpoint."

What SCOTUS is thinking

The Supreme Court heard nearly four hours of arguments on these cases on February 26, with the conservative-majority justices raising concerns about the government compelling social media companies to host certain content and the broad scope of both laws and their potential enforcement mechanisms.

"The First Amendment restricts what the government can do," CNN reported Chief Justice John Roberts said. "What the government's doing here is saying, 'you must do this, you must carry these people — you've got to explain if you don't.' That's not the First Amendment."

Justice Samuel Alito, however, observed that the companies in question are very different from the technologies around which previous First Amendment cases have been decided. CNN noted he worried about the court resisting "the Orwellian temptation to recategorize offensive conduct in seemingly bland terms."

Ultimately, Hurwitz noted, five or six justices appeared poised to declare that the laws violate First Amendment precedents. However, he expects the court's ruling on these cases will raise deeper legal questions than the initial issues at hand.

"This is probably an epochal case. It's going to raise more questions than it answers and could define the discussions we will have around these topics for the next 10, 20, even 30 years," Hurwiz said. "And it's probably going to do very little to actually answer any of those questions — because they're hard, hard questions. So if you're watching this case, expecting this is going to answer the issue once and for all, prepare to be disappointed in really interesting ways."

Watch: How the net neutrality repeal will hurt small businesses — including anyone who sells things on sites like Etsy

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  3. Reported Speech: How To Use Reported Speech

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  5. Tense Changes When Using Reported Speech in English

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  6. ESL Teachers: REPORTED SPEECH

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  1. Reported Speech

    Time Expressions with Reported Speech Sometimes when we change direct speech into reported speech we have to change time expressions too. We don't always have to do this, however. It depends on when we heard the direct speech and when we say the reported speech. For example: It's Monday. Julie says "I'm leaving today".

  2. Reported Speech

    To change an imperative sentence into a reported indirect sentence, use to for imperative and not to for negative sentences. Never use the word that in your indirect speech. Another rule is to remove the word please. Instead, say request or say. For example: "Please don't interrupt the event," said the host.

  3. Reported Speech

    Reported Speech: In this article, you will be introduced to reported speech, its meaning and definition, how and when to use it. You can also check out the examples given for a much better understanding of reported speech. ... Transform the following sentences into reported speech by making the necessary changes. 1. Rachel said, "I have an ...

  4. Reported speech

    When we want to report what people say, we don't usually try to report their exact words. We usually give a summary, for example: Direct speech (exact words): Mary: Oh dear. We've been walking for hours! I'm exhausted. I don't think I can go any further. I really need to stop for a rest. Peter: Don't worry.

  5. Tense changes in reported speech

    In indirect speech, the structure of the reported clause depends on whether the speaker is reporting a statement, a question or a command. Normally, the tense in reported speech is one tense back in time from the tense in direct speech: She said, "I am tired." = She said that she was tired. Phrase in Direct Speech. Equivalent in Reported Speech.

  6. Reported speech: indirect speech

    Reported speech: indirect speech - English Grammar Today - a reference to written and spoken English grammar and usage - Cambridge Dictionary

  7. Reported Speech: Important Grammar Rules and Examples • 7ESL

    Pin. No Change in Verb Tenses in Reported Speech. There is no change in verb tenses in Indirect Speech when:. The introductory verb is in the Present, Present Perfect or Future.; If the reported sentence deals with a fact or general truth.; The reported sentence contains a time clause.; The verb of the sentence is in the unreal past (the second or the third conditional).

  8. What is Reported Speech and How to Use It? with Examples

    Reported speech: He said he would meet me at the park the next day. In this example, the present tense "will" is changed to the past tense "would." 3. Change reporting verbs: In reported speech, you can use different reporting verbs such as "say," "tell," "ask," or "inquire" depending on the context of the speech.

  9. A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Using Reported Speech in English

    This guide covers everything you need to know about reported speech in English, including tense changes, reporting verbs, converting direct speech, handling time expressions, and common mistakes. With 25 practice questions and answers to help you master this essential aspect of English grammar.

  10. Reported Speech In English: The Ultimate Guide

    Let's take a closer look at how we form reported speech. How To Form Reported Speech In English. To form reported speech, you might have to make a few changes to the original sentence that was spoken (or written). You may have to change pronouns, verb tenses, place and time expressions and, in the case of questions, the word order.

  11. Reported Speech in English Grammar

    Introduction. In English grammar, we use reported speech to say what another person has said. We can use their exact words with quotation marks, this is known as direct speech, or we can use indirect speech.In indirect speech, we change the tense and pronouns to show that some time has passed.Indirect speech is often introduced by a reporting verb or phrase such as ones below.

  12. Reported Speech

    reported speech for difficult tenses; exeptions for backshift; requests with must, should, ought to and let's; → more on additional information and exeptions in reported speech. Exercises on Reported Speech Statements in Reported Speech. no backshift - change of pronouns; no backshift - change of pronouns and places; with backshift

  13. Time and Place in Reported Speech

    Time and Place in Reported Speech. When we report something, we may need to make changes to: time (now, tomorrow) place (here, this room) direct speech. reported speech. She said, "I saw Mary yesterday." She said she had seen Mary the day before. He said: "My mother is here."

  14. Reported Speech: Rules, Examples, Exceptions

    She asked me to make a copy of the report. (reported speech) For reported orders, we use "told (someone) to do something:". "Go to the bank." (direct speech) "He told me to go to the bank." (reported speech) The main verb stays in the infinitive with "to": She asked me to make a copy of the report. She asked me make a copy of ...

  15. Tense changes when using reported speech

    Normally, the tense in reported speech is one tense back in time from the tense in direct speech: She said, "I am tired." = She said that she was tired.

  16. Changing time and place in reported speech| reported speech| English EFL

    Place. If we are in the same place when we report something, then we do not need to make any changes to place words. But if we are in a different place when we report something, then we need to change the place words. Look at these example sentences: He said: "It is cold in here ." → He said that it was cold in there.

  17. Reported Speech Tenses Chart: How to convert tenses

    Below is a reported speech tense change chart with the rules for backshifting for each tense and for modal verbs. You will see reported speech does not go back a tense if it is already in the past perfect (there is no further back it can go), and some modal verbs also do not change. If you are tested on this, though, these are the changes you ...

  18. Direct and Indirect Speech (Grammar Rules and Great Examples)

    Converting Direct to Indirect Speech. 1. Eliminate the quotation marks that enclose the relayed text. 2. Retain the tense of the reporting verb and add the word "that" after it. 3. Change the tense of the verb in the reported speech, if needed. 4. Change the pronouns accordingly.

  19. The 4 Things you NEED to Change in Reported Speech

    All of these changes are necessary when the reporting verb is in the simple past. Remember, you don't make changes if the reported verb is in the simple present. 1. Verbs & Time Tenses. He said, "It is so cold!" ⇒ He said (that) it was so cold! He said, "I ate some pizza." ⇒ He said (that) he had eaten some pizza.

  20. Reported speech: statements

    Reported speech is when we tell someone what another person said. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech. direct speech: 'I work in a bank,' said Daniel. ... She said she needed to have a party. Why do we change 'need to' but not 'need'? Could you also please give a positive indirect reported speech with the word 'need' and a ...

  21. Reported speech: questions

    In indirect speech, we change the question structure (e.g. Do you like) to a statement structure (e.g. I like). We also often make changes to the tenses and other words in the same way as for reported statements (e.g. have done → had done, today → that day). You can learn about these changes on the Reported speech 1 - statements page. Yes ...

  22. ELT Concourse: essentials of reported or indirect speech

    On the right we have reported or indirect speech - how the message is passed on. On the face of it, there's nothing terribly difficult about this idea. The tense shifts back one (from, e.g., was to had been, from can to could, from am coming to was coming. At the same time, I changes to he or she and tomorrow to the next day and so on. Here's ...

  23. Conditionals and Reported Speech

    Second conditional in reported speech. The above tense and modal shifting rules apply to the second conditional too. If the condition is still relevant, no changes occur. However, if it's outdated, the past simple becomes the past perfect, and would becomes would + have + past participle. Sofia: If I had more money, I would buy a new car.

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