Now Club | Reported Speech
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Reported Speech

Reported Speech

In this section you will learn how to use Reported Speech. If we report what another person has said, we do not talk exactly what that person said, we will use the indirect speech (reported speech).

Theorical Explanation

If you want to report something or tell something that happened to you in the past, you need to learn how to transform direct speech into reported speech. The structure is a little different depending on whether you want to transform a statement, question or request.


We use a ‘reporting verb’ like ‘say‘ or ‘tell‘. If this verb is in the present tense, it’s easy. We just put ‘she says’ and then the sentence:

Direct Speech: I like butterflies.

Reported Speech: She says that she likes butterflies.


Easy, right? But what if we want to tell something that already happened in the past? We have to change the verb tense.

Direct Speech: I like butterflies.

Reported Speech: She said that she liked butterflies.


What about other verb tenses? Let’s see all the other cases one by one.


Now let’s see if you’re getting it right. First you have to report the speech in the present (see the example in theoretical explanation). Second you have to report the speech like it had happened in the past. For each one you fail, you have to hi5 yourself on the forehead once!!

1. Teresa: I love the smell of these flowers.!

a) Teresa is saying that she loves the smell of those flowers.

b) Teresa said that she loved the smell of those flowers.


2. Marco: I have scored 2 goals today. I feel great!

a) Present: __________________________________________________________________________

b) Past: __________________________________________________________________________

3. Walter: I must find the best formula to assure my children’s future.

a) Present: __________________________________________________________________

b) Past: _____________________________________________________________________


4. Jorge: I can’t answer to you all!

a) Present: __________________________________________________________________

b) Past: _____________________________________________________________________

Solution: On the bottom of the page
What to change

There are a few things you have to be aware when changing a direct speech to a reported speech.



If you are reporting something that someone said, you have to change from the 1st person to the 3rd person. You also need to change the possession pronoun and the demonstratives (this, there, that, those).


          I love my son more than these kids.

          He said that he loved/loves his son more than those kids.


Time references:

If you are reporting something that someone said in the past, you have to change the time reference.


          Tomorrow I will go to Japan

          He said that he would go to Japan on the next day.



When you are reporting something, the tense will (or not) change. Below you have a list of all the possibilities in direct speech and how can you pass it to reported speech.

Present Simple


I like this soup.

She said that she liked that soup.

Present Continuous


I am going to the hospital.

She said that she was going to the hospital.

Past Simple


I liked this soup.

She said that she liked that soup.

Past Continuous


I was going to the hospital.

She said that she was going to the hospital.

Present Perfect


I haven’t seen Paul lately.

She said that she hadn’t seen Paul lately.

Past Perfect*


I wasn’t going to play football.

She said that she wasn’t going to play football.



will study all night long.

She said that she would study that soup.



I would  go to the hospital.

She said that she would  go to the hospital.



I can see you!

She said that she could  see him.



I could jump very high when I was 6.

She said that she could jump very high when she 6.



You shall not pass!

She said that she should not pass.



I should visit my mother more often.

She said that she should visit her mother more often.



I might want to see you again..

She said that she might want to see himagain..



I must finish my homework.

She said that she must/had to finish her homework.

*Tense doesn’t change from direct speech to reported speech.


Now that you know how to pass from a direct speech to a reported speech, let’s practice. In some sentences you will have a hard time trying to convert because, as said above, there are too many aspects you have to consider like pronouns, time references, etc.. BUT, there is something that can help you a lot! Remember the “Word-by-word” trick?  Let’s see it again.



Now you will learn a very smart trick. It’s very useful if you don’t know how to translate a sentence from Portuguese to English! It is named Word-by-word because you can say it in Portuguese and translate directly word by word.

Let’s see what kind of sorcery is this….

It works!! Now let’s try with more complex sentences, using some auxiliary verbs.



Let’s see some examples of passing a direct speech to a reported speech using the Word-by-word.




João Ferreira: Hoje sinto-me mal, acho que estou doente.


RS: O João disse que se estava a sentir mal naquele dia porque achava que estava doente.




John Smith: Today I feel bad, I think I am sick.


RS: John told that he was feeling bad that day because he thought that he was sick



Miguel Jordão: Ontem fui ao supermercado comprar mantimentos.


RS: Ele disse que tinha ido/foi ao supermercado no dia anterior para comprar mantimentos.



Michael Jordan: Yesterday I went to the supermarket to buy supplies.


RS: He told that he had gone/was to the supermarket on the day before to buy supplies.

*Names are not supposed to be translated 😉

To Practice

Pass the following sentences from Direct Speech to Reported Speech. If you have any doubt just send us an email.

  • Eu vejo um sapo.
  • Eu estou a ver um sapo.
  • Eu vi um sapo.
  • Eu tenho visto um sapo.
  • Eu tinha visto um sapo.
  • Eu estava a ver um sapo
  • Eu tenho estado a ver um sapo.
  • Eu tinha estado a ver um sapo.


 Tip: Verb “To see” – See, saw, seen.

The End