Use reported speech to talk about what another person said in the past.
Eve: ‘I went to the party on Friday night’.
James: ‘Eve said that she had gone to the party on Friday night’.
1) When reporting speech, the verb in the sentence may shift to a past tense.
|am / is / are||changes to||was / were|
|“I am fine.”||She said that she was fine.|
|present simple||changes to||past simple|
|“I like it.”||He said he liked it.|
|present continuous||changes to||past continuous|
|“She’s sleeping.”||He said that she was sleeping.|
|“I’ll be there.”||You said that you’d be there.|
|“I can come to the meeting.”||You said that you could come to the meeting.|
|past simple||changes to||past perfect|
|“I did the shopping.”||Tom said that he had done the shopping.|
|present perfect||changes to||past perfect|
|“I’ve read that book.”||I told him that I’d read the book.|
|past continuous||changes to||past perfect continuous|
|“She was walking home alone.”||He said that she had been walking home alone.|
|present perfect continuous||changes to||past perfect continuous|
|“I’ve been working,”||I told him that I’d been working.|
2) To report speech, use He / She / I said (that) …
You can also use He / She told me (that)…; I told him / her (that)…
3) Don’t use quotation marks (“) when reporting speech.
4) References to times in the past also may need to change when using reported speech, if that time is no longer the same.
|this morning / week / month||→||that morning / week / month|
|yesterday||→||the previous day|
|last week / month||→||the previous week / month|
|ago||→||earlier / previously|
|tomorrow||→||the following day|
|next week / month||→||the following week / month|