If you are at a conference with a friend, and the speaker says something that you don’t quite hear, the most normal thing is to ask your friend: “what did he say?”. Your friend will naturally reply: “He said….”
This is an example of reported speech (sometimes called indirect speech). When we change something from direct speech (the speaker’s exact words) into reported speech, we change the structure of the sentence. This change is different for modifying statements, questions or requests.
When modifying statements, you often have to change:
The changes in tenses are as follows.
For changing a question into reported speech, you have to follow the same rules as above, but with two extras. If there is a question word, then it becomes an indirect question, if not then use if/whether as an interrogative.
When modifying requests, check if you should change:
Use the same rules as those for statements. Tenses don’t change with requests, so you only have to change the simple present into to + infinitive or not to + infinitive for a negative request.
Go to appendix IV if you want to have a general view of the verb changes.
Change these sentences from direct speech to reported speech
1. “What is happening with the Sony account?”
2. “Do you want to get something to eat?”
3. “I believe we will be able to increase salaries by the end of next month.”
4. “I think we have a long weekend this week, as Friday is a bank holiday”
5. “You’re fired! Please clean out your desk immediately!”
He said that she…….
6. “I came in late to the meeting this morning, sorry!”
7. “I was thinking about having a drink tonight, are you interested?”
8. “I’m looking for excellent sales people to take on new and exciting roles in different positions around the country.”
9. “I’ll meet up with you later, I have to finish some work first.”
10. “ Can you let me know when you’ll be free to look over the proposal?”
Choose the correct word.
1. He told me haven’t touched /not touching / not to touch the remote.
2. Charlie said I will be / I could have / I’m having the afternoon off.
3. Frances asked if she comes to have a look / could come to have a look / do come to look at the space tomorrow.
4. Amy asked does there / whether therewas / will there be any more pie.
5. Olivia says will you be staying /are you staying / did you stay for tea
6. John requested me told you / tells you / to tell you of the new regulations.
7. Rachel asked whether I was felt /if I had been feeling / I’ve been feeling ill all weekend.
8. He said he thought / had been thinking / he’s thinking of leaving the country.
9. She asked me pass her / to have passed her/ to pass her the stapler.
Mandy had wanted to knew / wanted to know if you could cover her shift tonight.
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