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Reported Speech

Reported Speech

Reported Speech is used to tell someone what another person has said. The verb used in what we are reporting is usually changed ‘one past tense back’.


Reported Questions

Used to tell someone what another person asked in the past. We don’t usually use ‘said’ in reported questions.

  • Direct speech: What time does the post office close?
  • Reported speech: I asked him what time the post office closed.


If there is not a question word, use if or whether:

  • Direct speech: Is the post office closed?
  • Reported speech: I asked him if the post office was closed.


Reported Statements

Used to tell someone what another person said in the past. 

  • Direct speech: I'm fine.
  • Reported speech: I told him (that) was fine.


When you use ‘said’, DON'T use ‘said to me’:

  • She said to me (that) she liked the class.


If someone said something in the past, but it is still true, then you don’t have to change the verb to the past:

  • Sally wants to know what time the post office closes.
  • What it means: Sally asked me, “What time does the post office close?”  I told Bob what Sally said, because Bob might know the answer. If Bob gives me the answer, then I will go back and tell Sally.


See also:

Oxford University Press has an interactive game for students: The Space Game.


Hi fellow EFL Sensei!

I'm Becki, the Co-Founder and the one who put up all these great speaking activities. We’re here to provide enjoyable lessons for teachers like you! Learn more