English Grammar Reported Speech
Learn English Reported Speech Grammar

Grammar Level 6- Lesson Eleven

In this grammar lesson, you learn about Reported Speech in English and how to use it in your English conversation and writing. Just follow examples and write them down a few times to learn them very well. After finishing this lesson, you should work on its quiz.

Grammar Recap

In our previous lesson, we covered the Sequence Of Tense If you just landed on this page, we suggest that you complete our previous lesson including its quizzes before continuing on this lesson.

Requirement Lessons

There is no required lessons for working and learning this lesson.


Reported Speech /Indirect Speech


When someone says something, how do you describe it to another person? This lesson will focus on reported speech, or you can call it “indirect speech.”

Direct speech: “This meat smells bad,” said Tom.

Indirect Speech: Tom said that the meat smelled bad.


Notice that the spoken words are in quotation marks:

“This meat smells bad.”

The verb “smells” is in the present tense.

It changes to “smelled” — the past tense.

The chart below shows the sequence of tenses and how verbs change when using indirect speech:


The Sequence of Tenses


  Original Tense right arrow Changed to….  

Present right arrow Past

Present Continuous right arrow Past Continuous

 Past right arrow Past Perfect

Present Perfect right arrow Past Perfect

 will right arrow would

   can right arrow could

 mayright arrow might

Practice. Write your answers on a piece of paper. Then look below for the correct verb choices.

  1. “I will be ready by 10:00” right arrow She said that she ______ be ready by 10:00.
  2. “The mail isn’t here yet.” right arrow He said that the mail _______here yet.
  3. “They have lived here 10 years.”  right arrow Bill said they ________ here 10 years.
  4. “Is it going to rain today?” right arrow She asked if it _____________ to rain today.
  5. “Joe knows a lot of people.” right arrow He said that Joe ________ a lot of people.
  6. “Can you play the guitar?” right arrow She asked me if I _________ play the guitar.

Answers: 1. would; 2. wasn’t; 3. had lived; 4. was going; 5. knew; 6. could

Indirect speech for a question usually uses “if” or “whether” in the sentence. Notice that #4 and #6 are not written with a question mark. That’s because the speaker is describing the question, not asking it.


Here are some more examples:

1- “I love this baby very much,” said the mother.

The mother said that she loved her baby.


The mother said she loved her baby.

(In this sentence “that” is optional)


2- “My daughter graduated from college,” said Tom.

Tom said that his daughter had graduated from college.


Tom said his daughter had graduated from college.


Tom said his daughter graduated from college. (This doesn’t follow the sequence of tenses, but it’s a little mistake which most people won’t notice.

3- “Can we ride on the bike again?” the students asked

The students asked if they could ride on the bike again.


The students asked whether they could ride on the bike again.

Remember to use if or whether when describing a question.


Quiz for Reported Speech

Now that you learned your new lesson, it is time to go to the Reported Speech page and finish your quiz. While working on your quiz, you can always go back to its lesson to refresh your memory.

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Next Grammar Lesson

In our next lesson, we will cover the Future Conditional Before moving to the next lesson, we suggest that you complete this lesson including its quizzes.

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Grammar Level 6 Outline

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For a comprehensive practice of English grammar with quizzes, you can visit the Improve English Grammar Skills page to view HiCafe 250 grammar lessons in 7 levels plus prepositions and pronouns.