Reported speech is the report of one speaker or writer on the words spoken, written, or thought by someone else. There are two main types of reported speech : direct speech and indirect speech.

  1. Direct Speech

Direct speech is a representation of the actual words someone said. A direct speech report usually has a reporting verb in the past simple. The most common reporting verb is said.

  • Direct speech : inversion of subject and reporting verb

In narratives, especially novels and short stories, when the reporting clause comes second, we often invert the subject (s) and reporting verb (v):

  • Direct speech : present simple and continous reporting verbs
  1. Informal narrative

In informal narratives we sometimes use the present simple in the reporting clause.

  1. Indirect Speech

Indirect speech focuses more on the content of what someone said rather than their exact word.

  • Indirect speech : Reporting Statement

Indirect reports of statements consist of a reporting clause and a that-clause.

  • Indirect speech : Reporting questions
  1. Reporting yes-no questions

Indirect reports of yes-no questions and questions with or consist of a reporting clause and a reported clause introduced by if or whetherIf 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?’)

2. 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 …

3. Indirect speech : reporting commands

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

4. 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.

5. Indirect speech : past continous reporting verb

In indirect speech, we can use the past continuous form of the reporting verb. This happens mostly in conversation, usually interesting news or important information.

Alex was saying that book sales have gone up a lot this year thanks to the Internet.

6. Indirect speech : changes to pronouns in indirect object

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.

DS : “I don’t want to shock people”, Tom said

IS : Tom said he didn’t want  to shock people

There are different speaker (I changes to he)

7. 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.

Example :

DS : I said, I’ll meet you here tomorrow

IS : I told her I would meet her there the following day.

8. Indirect speech : Typical error

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

She always asks me where I am going.


She always asks me where am I going

  • Don’t use a question mark when reporting wh-questions :

I asked him what he was doing

I asked him what he was doing



We use imperative to tell someone to do a job or activity, usually in strong way. We can give instructions, orders, suggestions, warnings, etc.

  1. Imperative positive

To make a positive imperative, we must use the base form of the verb, and we don’t add “to, -s, -ing” to the verb.

Example : come here NOT to come here, comes here, coming here.

We can add please for more polite. Please come here!

2. Imperative negative

To make a negative imperative, we must use don’t and the base form of the verb, and we don’t add “to, -s, -ing” to the verb.

Example : Don’t come here or don’t come here, please.


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