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Reported speech exercises PDF

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Reported speech

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Reported speech PDF exercise 1

Key with answers 1

  • Complete sentences: "It is too late." - I said it was too late.

Reported speech PDF exercise 2

Key with answers 2

  • A multiple choice choice test: "Sam may contact you." - He said Sam might contact me.

Reported speech PDF exercise 3

Key with answers 3

  • Reported speech to direct speech: She said she lived in York. - "I live in York," she said.

Reported speech PDF exercise 4

Key with answers 4

  • Time in reported speech: We will set off tomorrow." - They said they would set off the next day.

Reported speech PDF exercise 5

Key with answers 5

  • Correct mistakes: "I have been with Jill since yesterday," said Joe on Friday morning. On Friday morning Joe said he had been with Jill since yesterday. Correct: On Friday morning Joe said he had been with Jill since the day before .

Reported speech PDF exercise 6

Key with answers 6

  • All changes in reported speech: Tim said he had worked with them the previous month. - "I worked with them last month," said Tim.

Reported questions + commands exercises PDF Practise questions, commands and requests in the reported speech.

Online exercises with answers:

Direct and indirect speech exercises Multiple choice and gap-filling exercises on reported statements, questions and commands.

Grammar rules PDF:

Reported speech rules PDF Changes of tenses, pronouns, time and place in reported statements, questions and commands.

English grammar PDF All PDF rules with examples on this website to download for free.

The reported speech is used if we want to report what other people said, thought or felt. We use reporting verbs such as say, tell, explain, think, hope, etc. If these verbs are in the past tense, we change the following: a) verb tenses and verb forms b) pronouns c) adverbs of time and place

A) Verb tenses

We change the tenses in the following way.

  • Present simple - past simple: "I work in York," Joe said. - Joe said (that) he worked in York.
  • Present continuous - past continuous: "We are playing a game," Jane explained. - Jane explained (that) they were playing a game.
  • Past simple - past perfect simple: "Sarah came back," I thought. - I thought (that) Sarah had come back.
  • Past continuous - past perfect continuous: "I was talking to our new neighbour," Ben told me. - Ben told me (that) he had been talking to our new neighbour.
  • Present perfect simple - past perfect simple: "I have eaten all sandwiches," he admitted. - He admitted (that) he had eaten all sandwiches.
  • Present perfect continuous - past perfect continuous: "I have been driving for three hours," he comnplained. - He complained (that) he had been driving for three hours.
  • Will - would I will wait outside the station," he reminded me. - He reminded me (that) he would wait outside the station.

Note: Some modal verbs change in a specific way, whereas other verb forms remain the same in special cases.

Read more: Direct and indirect speech

B) Pronouns

Personal pronouns

We have to change pronouns in the reported speech to keep the same meaning. "We are in Italy," he said. - He said they were in Italy. "They invited us," Betty said. - Betty said they had invited them. "I admire your new garden," she told me. - She told me she admired my new garden. "You can take my car," Peter said. - Peter said I could take his car.

This and these

This and these are usually substituted. "They will move this year," my mum said. - My mum said they would move that year. "I like these shoes," Tim insisted. - Tim insisted he liked the shoes.

C) Time and place

The time expressions change as follows.

now - then, today - that day, tomorrow - the next day/the following day, the day after tomorrow - in two days' time, yesterday - the day before, the day before yesterday - two days before, next week/month - the following week/month, last week/month - the previous week/month, a year ago - a year before/the previous year

Marion: "I will do it tomorrow." - Marion said she would do it the next day. Dan: "We arrived last week." - Dan said they had arrived the previous week. Judith: "Brian got married a year ago." - Judith said Brian had got married a year before.

Here and there

Here usually becomes there . But sometimes we have to make different adjustments. "I'll stay here till the evening," he said. - He said he would stay there till the evening. In the hospital: "We'll meet here." - He said they would meet in the hospital.

  • All PDF exercises and grammar rules from this website.
  • B1-B2 grammar

Reported speech: statements

Reported speech: statements

Do you know how to report what somebody else said? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we can tell someone what another person said.

direct speech: 'I love the Toy Story films,' she said. indirect speech: She said she loved the Toy Story films. direct speech: 'I worked as a waiter before becoming a chef,' he said. indirect speech: He said he'd worked as a waiter before becoming a chef. direct speech: 'I'll phone you tomorrow,' he said. indirect speech: He said he'd phone me the next day.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 1: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Reported speech is when we tell someone what another person said. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech.

direct speech: 'I work in a bank,' said Daniel. indirect speech: Daniel said that he worked in a bank.

In indirect speech, we often use a tense which is 'further back' in the past (e.g. worked ) than the tense originally used (e.g. work ). This is called 'backshift'. We also may need to change other words that were used, for example pronouns.

Present simple, present continuous and present perfect

When we backshift, present simple changes to past simple, present continuous changes to past continuous and present perfect changes to past perfect.

'I travel a lot in my job.' Jamila said that she travelled a lot in her job. 'The baby's sleeping!' He told me the baby was sleeping. 'I've hurt my leg.' She said she'd hurt her leg.

Past simple and past continuous

When we backshift, past simple usually changes to past perfect simple, and past continuous usually changes to past perfect continuous.

'We lived in China for five years.' She told me they'd lived in China for five years. 'It was raining all day.' He told me it had been raining all day.

Past perfect

The past perfect doesn't change.

'I'd tried everything without success, but this new medicine is great.' He said he'd tried everything without success, but the new medicine was great.

No backshift

If what the speaker has said is still true or relevant, it's not always necessary to change the tense. This might happen when the speaker has used a present tense.

'I go to the gym next to your house.' Jenny told me that she goes to the gym next to my house. I'm thinking about going with her. 'I'm working in Italy for the next six months.' He told me he's working in Italy for the next six months. Maybe I should visit him! 'I've broken my arm!' She said she's broken her arm, so she won't be at work this week.

Pronouns, demonstratives and adverbs of time and place

Pronouns also usually change in indirect speech.

'I enjoy working in my garden,' said Bob. Bob said that he enjoyed working in his garden. 'We played tennis for our school,' said Alina. Alina told me they'd played tennis for their school.

However, if you are the person or one of the people who spoke, then the pronouns don't change.

'I'm working on my thesis,' I said. I told her that I was working on my thesis. 'We want our jobs back!' we said. We said that we wanted our jobs back.

We also change demonstratives and adverbs of time and place if they are no longer accurate.

'This is my house.' He said this was his house. [You are currently in front of the house.] He said that was his house. [You are not currently in front of the house.] 'We like it here.' She told me they like it here. [You are currently in the place they like.] She told me they like it there. [You are not in the place they like.] 'I'm planning to do it today.' She told me she's planning to do it today. [It is currently still the same day.] She told me she was planning to do it that day. [It is not the same day any more.]

In the same way, these changes to those , now changes to then , yesterday changes to the day before , tomorrow changes to the next/following day and ago changes to before .

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 1: 2

Language level

Hello! I was studying reported speech and I didn't really understand the difference between 'need' and 'need to' when we shift them. Could you please explain a little bit about the semi-modal need? I came across to this while I was studying: Backshift Changes need (no change) ‘You needn’t come till six o’clock,’ he said. He said we needn’t come till six o’clock. AND need to (becomes needed to) She said, 'I need to have a party.' She said she needed to have a party. Why do we change 'need to' but not 'need'? Could you also please give a positive indirect reported speech with the word 'need' and a negative indirect speech with the word 'need to'? Thanks in advance!

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Hello Meldo,

'need' can be used -- and is most often used -- as an ordinary verb. In the text you copied above, this is the second entry ('need to'). Since it is an ordinary verb, in indirect speech, it backshifts in the way other ordinary verbs do. An example of a negative form here is 'They told me I didn't need to bring my passport'.

Particularly in British English (only very rarely in American English), 'need' can also be used as a modal verb. In this case, it behaves as a modal verb, i.e. no 's' is added to a third person singular form, infinitives after it are used without 'to' and 'do/does/did' is not used to form questions, negatives or past simple forms. This is also why '-ed' is not added for a backshift.

When 'need' is a modal, it's most commonly used in the negative. It is possible to use it in questions (e.g. 'Need I bring my passport?' or 'I asked if I need bring my passport'), but it's generally not used in the affirmative.

You might find this BBC page and this  Cambridge Dictionary explanation helpful if you'd like to read more.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes, Kirk LearnEnglish team

Do we change 'had better' in indirect reported speech? I think no, but I just wanted to make sure. Can you also give an example with 'had better' in an indirect speech? Thanks a lot! The best English grammar site ever!

Hello Melis_06,

'had better' is not generally changed in reported speech. Here's an example for you:

  • direct: 'You had better be on time!'
  • indirect: They told us we had better be on time.

Glad you find our site useful!

Could you tell me why say is sometimes used in reported speech instead of said?

Hello Khangvo2812,

In general, it's used when it's something that people say not just in one specific situation, but in general. 

We also sometimes use the present simple to talk about the past when telling stories. You can read more about this on our Present simple page -- scroll down to the very end of the explanation, just after the Present simple 8 exercise.

If there's a specific sentence you want to ask about, please include it in your comment.

If I understand correctly, I cannot say she said she finished it two hours ago. Instead, I have to say she said she finished it two hours before?

Generally when we teach reported speech, we say that 'ago' in the direct speech should be changed to 'before' in the reported speech. This is because of what is commonly called 'backshifting', that is, the change in perspective from one time, such as the present, to another time, such as the past.

In terms of the sentence you ask about, the standard way of saying it is 'She said she had finished it two hours earlier' ('before' is also fine). This would be the correct form if you were telling me about a conversation you had with this person yesterday or sometime well before the moment of speaking.

If, however, you were reporting a conversation from a short while ago (in this case, since the sentence includes 'two hours ago', it would have to be very recent, probably within the last 30 minutes), they you could say 'She said she finished it two hours ago' and that would be correct. In this case 'two hours ago' would refer not back to the time of the conversation, but the time that this person was actually talking about.

I hope that makes sense.

Could I say my mom told me that I wouldn't need to get married if I could not find a right man for me?If I understand correctly, I don't need to change the tenses in a conditional sentence.

That's fine, yes. Are you sure the verb forms have not been changed here, however? It seems likely that the original sentence was this: You won't need to get married if you can't find the right man for yourself .

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  • Reported Speech — Present Perfect — Exercise 1
  • 1. Kevin, “I have written four emails to my friends.” Kevin said (that) . he had written four emails to his friends
  • 2. Fred, “Justin hasn’t seen Amy.” Fred said (that) . Justin hadn’t seen Amy
  • 3. Katie, “I have bought a new car.” Katie said (that) . she had bought a new car
  • 4. Julia and Rob, “We haven’t prepared for the exam.” Julia and Rob said (that) . they hadn’t prepared for the exam
  • 5. Adam, “I have found an apartment.” Adam said (that) . he had found an apartment
  • 6. Phil, “Dad has cut the tree in the backyard.” Phil said (that) . dad had cut the tree in the backyard
  • 7. Leo, “I have been to Germany eight times” Leo said (that) . he had been to Germany eight times
  • 8. Claire, “I have taken first place in the competition.” Claire said (that) . she had taken first place in the competition
  • 9. Mark, “I have eaten three sandwiches.” Mark said (that) . he had eaten three sandwiches
  • 10. Ryan, “Andrew has finished his essay.” Ryan said (that) . Andrew had finished his essay
  • 11. Oliver and Jane, “We have ordered some food.” Oliver and Jane said (that) . they had ordered some food
  • 12. Elizabeth, “I haven’t watered the flowers.” Elizabeth said (that) . she hadn’t watered the flowers
  • Reported statements — mixed tenses — Exercise 1
  • Reported statements — mixed tenses — Exercise 2
  • Reported statements — mixed tenses — Exercise 3
  • Reported statements — mixed tenses — Exercise 4
  • Reported statements — mixed tenses — Exercise 5

Reported Speech Exercises (With Printable PDF)

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| Candace Osmond

| Grammar , Quizzes

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

In English grammar, reported speech is used to tell someone what another person said. It takes another person’s words (direct speech) to create a report of what they said (indirect speech.) With the following direct and indirect speech exercises, it will be easier to understand how reported speech works.

Grammarist Article Graphic V3 2022 10 25T162134.388

Reported Speech Exercise #1

Complete the sentence in the reported speech.

Reported Speech Exercise #2

Fill in the gaps below with the correct pronouns required in reported speech. Ex. Mary said: “I love my new dress!” Sentence: Mary said ____ love ____ new dress. Answer: she, her

Reported Speech Exercise #3

Choose the correct reported speech phrase to fill in the sentences below.

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Reported Speech – Free Exercise

Write the following sentences in indirect speech. Pay attention to backshift and the changes to pronouns, time, and place.

  • Two weeks ago, he said, “I visited this museum last week.” → Two weeks ago, he said that   . I → he|simple past → past perfect|this → that|last …→ the … before
  • She claimed, “I am the best for this job.” → She claimed that   . I → she|simple present→ simple past|this→ that
  • Last year, the minister said, “The crisis will be overcome next year.” → Last year, the minister said that   . will → would|next …→ the following …
  • My riding teacher said, “Nobody has ever fallen off a horse here.” → My riding teacher said that   . present perfect → past perfect|here→ there
  • Last month, the boss explained, “None of my co-workers has to work overtime now.” → Last month, the boss explained that   . my → his/her|simple present→ simple past|now→ then

Rewrite the question sentences in indirect speech.

  • She asked, “What did he say?” → She asked   . The subject comes directly after the question word.|simple past → past perfect
  • He asked her, “Do you want to dance?” → He asked her   . The subject comes directly after whether/if |you → she|simple present → simple past
  • I asked him, “How old are you?” → I asked him   . The subject comes directly after the question word + the corresponding adjective (how old)|you→ he|simple present → simple past
  • The tourists asked me, “Can you show us the way?” → The tourists asked me   . The subject comes directly after whether/if |you→ I|us→ them
  • The shop assistant asked the woman, “Which jacket have you already tried on?” → The shop assistant asked the woman   . The subject comes directly after the question word|you→ she|present perfect → past perfect

Rewrite the demands/requests in indirect speech.

  • The passenger requested the taxi driver, “Stop the car.” → The passenger requested the taxi driver   . to + same wording as in direct speech
  • The mother told her son, “Don’t be so loud.” → The mother told her son   . not to + same wording as in direct speech, but remove don’t
  • The policeman told us, “Please keep moving.” → The policeman told us   . to + same wording as in direct speech ( please can be left off)
  • She told me, “Don’t worry.” → She told me   . not to + same wording as in direct speech, but remove don’t
  • The zookeeper told the children, “Don’t feed the animals.” → The zookeeper told the children   . not to + same wording as in direct speech, but remove don’t

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Reported speech (b1).

  • RS013 - Reported Speech
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Present perfect - 1

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Present perfect

Worksheets - pdf exercises.

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  • Exercise_ 28.pdf / Ex._29 pdf Ex.30 / Ex.31 / Ex.32 / Ex.33                 Answers_Key.pdf
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Reported speech – Present Progressive – Sentences – Exercise

Task no. 2337.

Finish the sentences using Reported speech. Always change the tense, although it is sometimes not necessary.

Joe, "I'm drawing a picture." Joe said (that)  

Joe said (that) he was drawing a picture .

Do you need help?

Reported speech

  • Jenny, "I'm coming down." Jenny said (that) .
  • Tim, "Jack is having breakfast." Tim said (that) .
  • Jamy, "She's telling a joke." Jamy told me (that) .
  • Mavis, "The dog is running after the cat." Mavis remarked (that) .
  • Peter, "I'm playing the piano." Peter said (that) .
  • Zack, "You're drinking tea." Zack mentioned (that) .
  • Ella, "It's not raining." Ella remarked (that) .
  • Jacob, "Riley is checking the computer." Jacob said (that) .
  • Owen, "They aren't watching TV." Owen told me (that) .
  • Nora, "He is learning Spanish words." Nora said (that) .
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  1. indirect speech rule present perfect tense becomes past perfect tense with example

  2. REPORTED SPEECH AND TENSES -Changes in Tenses-English Grammar-Our Classroom.Shameera

  3. Grade 9 Adv. Gerunds/REPORTED SPEECH/Present perfect continuous/Present perfect /Comparative Adverbs

  4. AULA DE INGLES

  5. 10th English Grammar Chapter 5 Reported Speech Exercises 11, 12

  6. 10th English Grammar Chapter 5 Reported Speech Exercises 5, 6

COMMENTS

  1. Reported Speech Exercises

    'Say' and 'Tell' (quite easy) (in PDF here) Reported Questions: Present Simple Reported Yes/No Question Exercise (intermediate) (in PDF here) Present Simple Reported Wh Question Exercise (intermediate) (in PDF here) Mixed Tense Reported Question Exercise (intermediate) (in PDF here) Reported Orders and Requests:

  2. Reported speech

    Reported speech 1. Reported speech 2. Reported requests and orders. Reported speech exercise. Reported questions - worksheet. Indirect speech - worksheet. Worksheets pdf - print. Grammar worksheets - handouts.

  3. PDF Unit 12A Grammar: Reported Speech(1

    Lesson 35 - Reported Speech (PDF) Unit 12A Grammar: Reported Speech(1) Direct Speech (also known as indirect speech) Reported Speech Greg: "I am cooking dinner Maya." Maya: "Greg said he was cooking dinner." So most often, the reported speech is going to be in the past tense, because the original statement, will now be in the past!

  4. Reported speech

    Task No. 2335 Finish the sentences using Reported speech. Always change the tense, although it is sometimes not necessary. Show example Do you need help? Reported speech Grandma, "Dad has made breakfast." Grandma said (that) . Mia and Zoe, "We have cleaned the kitchen." Mia and Zoe said (that) . Tom, "She has left the house." Tom remarked (that) .

  5. PDF Microsoft Word

    Reported Statements: Present Perfect. "I've never been to Brazil.". "She has visited Paris three times.". "He has read 'War and Peace'.". "I haven't seen Julie for ages.". "He hasn't been to school this week.". "We haven't seen 'The Lord of the Rings'.". "They've eaten in a lot of different restaurants.".

  6. Direct and indirect speech exercises PDF

    Direct - indirect speech exercise 1 Rewrite sentences in the reported speech. Direct - indirect speech exercise 2 Report a short dialogue in the reported speech. Direct - indirect speech exercise 3 Find and correct mistakes in the reported speech. Direct - indirect speech exercise 4 Choose correct answers in a multiple choice test.

  7. Reported speech exercises PDF

    Key with answers 1 Complete sentences: "It is too late." - I said it was too late. Reported speech PDF exercise 2 Key with answers 2 A multiple choice choice test: "Sam may contact you." - He said Sam might contact me. Reported speech PDF exercise 3 Key with answers 3 Reported speech to direct speech: She said she lived in York.

  8. PDF Grammar videos: Reported speech exercises

    Then do these exercises to check your understanding of reported speech. 1. Check your grammar: matching Draw a line to match the direct and indirect (reported) speech forms. 2. Check your grammar: error correction Correct and write these sentences on the line below. 1. He said her that he loved her.

  9. Unit 7

    Unit 7 - Exercise 1 - Reported speech. Rewrite the direct speech as reported speech to complete the sentences.

  10. Reported speech: statements

    Grammar explanation Reported speech is when we tell someone what another person said. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech. direct speech: 'I work in a bank,' said Daniel. indirect speech: Daniel said that he worked in a bank.

  11. Reported Speech

    Reported Speech — Present Perfect — Exercise 1. Change the direct speech into reported speech. Show example. 1. Kevin, "I have written four emails to my friends.". Kevin said (that). he had written four emails to his friends. 2. Fred, "Justin hasn't seen Amy.".

  12. Reported Speech Exercises (With Printable PDF)

    Reported Speech Exercises (With Printable PDF) In English grammar, reported speech is used to tell someone what another person said. It takes another person's words (direct speech) to create a report of what they said (indirect speech.) With the following direct and indirect speech exercises, it will be easier to understand how reported ...

  13. Unit 6

    Unit 6 - Exercise 2 - Reported speech (questions) Choose the correct answer. Copyright © Oxford University Press, Tue Jan 30 09:04:20 UTC 2024.

  14. Reported Speech

    organised by topic and level no subscription Reported Speech - Free Exercise display incorrect answers Exercises Write the following sentences in indirect speech. Pay attention to backshift and the changes to pronouns, time, and place. Two weeks ago, he said, "I visited this museum last week." → Two weeks ago, he said that .

  15. Reported Speech (B1)

    RS008 - Reported Questions. RS007 - Reported Speech. RS006 - Reported Speech. RS005 - Reported Speech. RS004 - Reported Speech. RS003 - Reported Speech. RS002 - Reported Speech - Mixed Exercises. RS001 - Reported Speech - Mixed Exercises. Adjective and Adverbs - Downloadable PDF Worksheets for English Language Learners - Intermediate Level (B1)

  16. Reported speech exercises

    Exercises: indirect speech. Reported speech - present. Reported speech - past. Reported speech - questions. Reported questions - write. Reported speech - imperatives. Reported speech - modals. Indirect speech - tenses 1. Indirect speech - tenses 2.

  17. PDF Direct & Reported Speech

    Read how to punctuate direct speech below. Insert the first set of quotation marks. Begin the sentence or phrase inside the quotation marks with a capital letter. Place the correct punctuation (period, question mark, exclamation point, etc.) at the end of the sentence. Insert the second set of quotation marks after the punctuation.

  18. PDF Grammar Practice Worksheets Present Perfect

    The present perfect tense is very common in English. It is unlike other verb tenses because it has two separate uses. One use is a finished past action and the other is a continuing action. Time markers (words that show a verb's tense) show if the verb has a finished or continuing meaning. Let's look at the finished action use (Use 1) of ...

  19. Present perfect: worksheets

    Present perfect Worksheets - pdf exercises . Present perfect - worksheet; Affirmative, negative, questions; Exercise_ 28.pdf / Ex._29 pdf Ex.30 / Ex.31 / Ex.32 / Ex.33 Answers_Key.pdf; Past / present perfect - worksheet 1; Past / present perfect - worksheet 2 ; Past and present perfect simple 1; Past and present perfect simple 2; Present ...

  20. PDF Reported Speech

    Part 4: Reported Statements (Present Perfect) Make reported speech from the direct speech. Use 'she said' at the beginning of each. It's the same day, so you don't need to change the time expressions. Example: "She has visited Paris three times." = She said she had visited Paris three times. 1. "Julie has never studied music."

  21. Reported speech

    Sentences in Reported speech in the Present Progressive in English in an Online Exercise. Menu. Englisch-hilfen.de/ Reported speech - Present Progressive - Sentences - Exercise. Task No. 2337. Finish the sentences using Reported speech. Always change the tense, although it is sometimes not necessary.