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She Told Me She Would Come to the Party – Indirect Speech or Reported Speech

First let’s explain what direct and indirect speech is.

Direct speech. This is a direct quote of what someone says. For example: “I am hungry.”

Indirect speech (also called reported speech). This is telling what someone else said. Example: You said you weren’t hungry.

What do you need to know about indirect speech?

That in direct speech you use the past form of the verb.

In the example I just used, “am” (present tense) changes to “were” in the past.

 

Now I’m going to give you a number of examples to demonstrate this:

1)      Suppose you hear Katie say: “I don’t feel well.”

Now you want to tell this to Jack. You must put the “don’t feel” in the past = didn’t feel. So you will tell Jack: Katie told me she didn’t feel well.

This is true even if Katie doesn’t feel well now.

sick

Faster Panda

 

2)      Kim and Richard say to Julie: “We can’t come to the party tonight.”

So Julie tells her husband: Kim and Richard said they couldn’t come to the party tonight.”

3)      Natalia tells Elaine: “I love your earrings.”

So Elaine tells Kimberley: “Natalia told me she loved my earrings.”

4)       Nathan says to Samir: “I am going to take a programming class.”

So Samir tells Mark: “Nathan said he was going to take a programming class.”

5)      Samantha tells her father: “There are ants in the kitchen sink again!”

So her father tells her mother: “Samantha told me there were ants in the kitchen sink again.”

6)      Gabriel says: “I will never be late again.”

So his boss says: “But you told me yesterday you would never be late again.”

 

Why do we have to use the past form of the verb in indirect speech? I have no idea actually. It’s just a convention (= a custom/rule). I suppose it makes sense because the direct quote is already in the past when it is reported to the third person.

 

Now go ahead and try your hand at this.

Exercise

Put the sentences in the indirect speech:

1 Sandra says: “I always get bored when I have a long holiday.”

Sandra said she …

2 Wilbur says: “We’ve run out of paper cups.”

Wilbur said they …

3 The actress says: “I’d like to thank my parents for their unending support.”

The actress said she …

4 Dylan says: “I will pay you back tomorrow.”

Dylan said he …

5 The Smiths say: “We are moving to a quieter place.”

The Smiths said …

6 Ari says: “Cigarettes are getting too expensive for me.”

Ari said that …

7 Edwina says: “I haven’t read your email yet.”

Edwina said …

8 Mike says: “Those plants need watering.”

Mike said …

9 Eileen says: “That skirt is too small for me.”

Eileen said that …

You can look up the answers underneath — just scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers: 

1 Sandra says: “I always get bored when I have a long holiday.”

Sandra said she always got bored when she had a long holiday.

2 Wilbur says: “We’ve run out of paper cups.”

Wilbur said they had run out of paper cups.

3 The actress says: “I’d like to thank my parents for their unending support.”

The actress said she would like to thank her parents for their unending support. (would is already the past form of will, so no change).

4 Dylan says: “I will pay you back tomorrow.”

Dylan said he would pay me back tomorrow.

5 The Smiths say: “We are moving to a quieter place.”

The Smiths said they were moving to a quieter place.

6 Ari says: “Cigarettes are getting too expensive for me.”

Ari said that cigarettes were getting too expensive for him.

7 Edwina says: “I haven’t read your email yet.”

Edwina said she hadn’t read my email yet.

8 Mike says: “Those plants need watering.”

Mike said those plants needed watering.

9 Eileen says: “That skirt is too small for me.”

Eileen said that that skirt was too small for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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