What is indirect speech or reported speech?

When we tell people what another person said or thought, we often use reported speech or indirect speech. To do that, we need to lớn change verb tenses (present, past, etc.) & pronouns (I, you, my, your, etc.) if the time & speaker are different. For example, present tenses become past, I becomes he or she, và my becomes his or her, etc.

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Sally: I don’t have time.’ ⇒ Sally said that she didn’t have time. Peter: I am tired .’ ⇒ He said that he was tired. 

Omission of that

We often leave out that after reporting verbs like say, thinketc. 

She said she was late. (=She said that she was late.)I thought I would get the job.

say or tell?

The most common verbs we use in reported speech are say and tell. We must pay attention here. We say tell somebody something, and say something (to somebody).

They told me (that) they would help me. (NOT They said me they would help me.)He said (that) he didn’t have a car. (NOT He told that he didn’t have a car.)

Tense changes in indirect speech

When a person said something in the past and now we tell somebody what that person said, the time is different, and for this reason, the verb tenses change. Look at a summary of these changes.

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Changes in expressions

There are adverbs or expressions of time và place that change when we report what someone said. Here you have a list.


Questions in indirect speech

We use the normal order of words in reported questions, i.e. The subject comes before the verb, và it is not necessary to use do or did.


Imperatives in indirect speech

When we report an order or instruction, we use the khung ask or tell someone to vị something.


Pronoun changes in indirect speech

In reported or indirect speech we must also pay attention to lớn the use of pronouns. When a person tells us something, he or she uses the first person (I, me, my, we, us, our) khổng lồ talk about himself or herself & the second person (you, your) to lớn talk about us, the person listening. But when we tell someone else what that person said, we are going to lớn use the third person (he, she, his, her, etc.

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) to talk about the speaker & the first person (I, me, my) khổng lồ talk about ourselves, the listener.

I will help you.’ He said that he would help me. ‘That’s my pen.’ She said that it was her pen. I need your help.’ ⇒ She said that she needed my help.