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There are two ways of relating what a person has said: direct and indirect.

In direct speech we report the original speaker's words:


He said, "I have lost my umbrella."


Remarks thus repeated are placed between inverted commas, and a comma or colon is placed immediately before the remark. Direct speech is found in books, in plays, and in quotations.


In indirect speech we give the exact meaning of a remark or a speech, without necessarily using the speaker's exact words:

He said that he had lost his umbrella.

There is no comma after "say" in indirect speech. "that" can be omitted.

When we report somebody's words we use a report structure.

Report structure



a reporting clause a reported clause


Jim said he wanted to go home'


Types of reported structures:


a) a "that" - clause

b) an "if" - clause

c) a "wh – word" clause

d) a "to – infinitive" clause

The basic categories of indirect speech are:

1. Statements

2. Questions

3. Commands (requests, advice)

4. Exclamations


The passage from direct statements to indirect statements requires some changes in:

1. verb tenses for both regular and modal verbs

2. pronouns and possessive adjectives

3. adverbs




There are no tense changes when the reporting verb is not past.

If the verb in the reporting clause is in the Past Tense, the verb in the reported clause is back - shifted (into "a more" past tense form)


Chart of tense changes when the reporting verb is in the past.

A The verb form does not need to change when:


a) in the case of general truths

"Caterpillars turn into butterflies", the teacher explained.

The teacher told us that caterpillars turn into butterflies.


b) the thing being reported is still true


"Paper 3 starts at 3.30", said the examiner.

The examiner told us that Paper 3 starts at 3,30.


c) Past/past continuous tenses used in time clauses do not normally change.


He said, "When we were living/lived in Paris…"

He said that when they were living/lived in Paris..."

d) a past tense used to describe a state of affairs which still exists when the speech is reported remains unchanged


She said, "I decided not to buy the house because it was on a main road."

She said that she had decided to buy the house because it was on a main road.



e) If the Past Indefinite in direct speech denotes an action taking place at a definite moment, it remains unchanged in indirect speech.


He said: "I was born in 1961."

He said he was born in 1961.


She said, "I had left home before the telegram came."

She said she had left home before the telegram came. -


f) The Past Indefinite after "since" generally remains unchanged.

She said, "I have been writing since I came."

She said that she had been writing since she came.


g) Subjunctives after "wish, would rather/sooner" and "it is time…"

do not change


"We wish we didn' t have to take exams", said the children.

The children said they wished they didn't have to take exams.


B Modal verbs in indirect speech


If the reporting verb is in the past tense, modals change if there is "a past equivalent".

will - would can – could may – might

Could, would and might do not change.

"I might be late", she said. She said (that) she might be late.

But if the reported version refers to past permission we use instead of "could" such expressions as: "be allowed to, have permission to."

"We could borrow two books at a time last year", he said.

He said that they were allowed to borrow two books at a time the previous year.


Shall I/we? is usually a request of the speaker adressing somebody else to know his opinion, so it is a request to obtain a piece of advice. In the reported version "shall" changes into "should"

"Shall I wear this dress?"

She asked her friend if she should wear her green dress.

In other contexts, if "shall" does not imply suggestions, recomendations or requests for advice, "would" tends to be used in the reported version, even if the speaker reports his own words.

"Shall I ever see this city again?"

She wondered if she would ever see the city again.


"Must" can be reported as either "had" or remain unchanged but if "must" is used for deduction "must" never changes.

She said, "I'm always running into him, he must live near here."

She said that she was always running into him and that he must live in the neighbourhood.


If "must" expresses arrangement or a kind of order it is generally replaced by "was to"

She said, "I must ring him up at two o'clock."

She said she was to ring him up at two o'clock.


"needn't" can remain unchanged and usually does. Alternatively it can change to "didn't have to / wouldn't have to"

I said, "If you could lend me the money I needn' t go to the bank"

I said that if he could lend me the money I needn't / wouldn't have to go to the bank.

need I /you / he? behaves exactly in the same way as

"Must I / you / he? i.e. it normally becomes "had to"

"Need I finish my pudding?, asked the small boy.

The small boy asked if he had to finish his pudding.


C Indirect speech with conditional sentences


After a past tense reporting verb, real situations include tense changes.

"If we leave now, we'll catch the train.

I told him that if we left we would catch the train.

In reported hypothetical situations, tense changes are not made if the event has reference to a possible future.

"If you came back tomorrow, I'd be able to help you."

She said that if I came back the next day, she would be able to help me.


If the event is clearly hypothetical and impossible, time changes are made.

" If I had a spanner, I could fix this."


He said that if he had had a spanner he could have fixed it.

Hypothetical past conditional sentences do not change.



2 Other changes necessary when turning direct speech into indirect speech.


Pronouns and possessive adjectives normally change from first or second person to third person except when the speaker is reporting his own words.

I said, "I like my new car."

I said that I liked my new car. (speaker reporting his own words)

He said, "I' ve forgotten the combination of my safe."

He said that he had forgotten the combination of his safe.

But notice that sometimes a noun must be inserted to avoid ambiguity;

Tom said, "He came in through the window" would not normally be reported "Tom said that he had come in through the window". This might give the impression that Tom himself had come in this way; but if we use a noun there can be no confusion:


Tom said that the man / the burglar / the cat had come in...


this and these


"this" used in time expressions usually becomes "that":

He said, "She is coming this week."

He said that she was coming that week.

Otherwise "this" and "that" used as adjectives usually change to "the"

He said, "I bought this pearl / these pearls for my mother."

He said that he had bought the pearl / pearls for his mother.

"this", "these" used as pronouns can become it, they / them:

He showed me two bullets. "I found these embedded in the panelling", he said.

He said he had found them embedded in the panelling.

He said, "We will discuss this tomorrow."

He said that we would discuss it / the matter the next day.


"this, these" used as either adjectives or pronouns to indicate choice or to distinguish some things from others usually become "the one near him / the one (s) that he had chosen or some such phrase:

"Which one will you have?" I asked. "This (one)", he said.

I asked which one he would have and he said he would have the one near him.


Adverbs and adverbial phrases change as follows:


Direct Indirect

today that day

yesterday the day before / the previous


the day before yesterday two days before

tomorrow the next day / the following

day/ the day after

the day after tomorrow in two days' time

next week / year the following week / year

last week / year the previous week / year

the week / year before

a year ago a year before / the previous year

now then, at that time

here there / at that place

("here" becomes "there" but only when it is clear what place is


We met at the bridge and he said, "I'll be here again tomorrow"

We met at the bridge and he said that he would be there again the next day.

Usually "here" has to be replaced by some phrase:

She said, "You can sit here, Tom."

She told Tom that he could sit beside her on the rug etc.


Note! If the speaker speaks in the same place and at the same time as the speaker whose words are reported, "this" and "these" and adverbs are not changed.

An hour ago he said he would come here.



3 Reporting verbs



There are numerous reporting verbs, which report the words of others, or our own words or thoughts. The main reporting verbs are "say" and "tell".

A "say" and "tell" with direct speech

"say" can introduce a statement or follow it:

Tom said: "I' ve just heard the news" or

"I' ve just heard the news", Tom said.

Inversion of "say" and noun subject is possible when "say" follows the statement: "I've just heard the news", said Tom.

"say" + to + person adressed is possible, but this phrase must follow the direct statement; it cannot introduce it:

"I'm leaving at once", Tom said to me.

Inversion is not possible here.

"tell" requires the person adressed:

Tell me. He told us. I'll tell Tom.

except with "tell lies / stories / the truth / the difference", when the person adressed need not be mentioned:

He told (me) lies. I'll tell (you) a story.

"tell" used with direct speech must be placed after the direct statement:

"I'm leaving at once", Tom told me.

Inversion is not possible with "tell"


B "say" and "tell" with indirect speech

Indirect statements are normally introduced by "say" or "tell" + object. "say" + to + object is possible but much less usual than "tell" + object:

He said he had just heard the news.

He told me that he had just heard the news.

Note also "tell" … how / about:

He told us how he had crossed the mountains.

He told us about crossing the mountains.

He told us about his journeys.


Other reporting verbs may be:

C Verb + Object + Infinitive

She asked me to come.

Other verbs with the same pattern are:

advise, beg, encourage, invite, order, persuade; remind, warn

D Verb (+ that) + Clause

She says (that) she doesn't want to speak to you.

Other verbs with the same pattern are:

say, claim, admit, explain, promise

E Verb + Object (+ that) + Clause

He told us (that) he worked for a big international company.

Other verbs of the same pattern are: remind, warn.

F Verb + Gerund


He admitted lying to the teacher.

Other verbs with the same pattern are:

admit, deny, recommend, suggest.

Note: verbs in groups D, E, F can also be used with "that" + clause

He admitted that he had lied.


G Verb + Preposition + Gerund

She apologized for being so rude.

She discrouraged me from taking up smoking.

Other verbs with the same pattern are:

accuse of, apologize for, blame for, congratulate on, discourage from, insist on.


H Verb + Infinitive

We agreed to meet again in September.

Other verbs with the same pattern are:

agree, decide, offer, promise, refuse, threaten.


I Verbs which can be impersonal with "it"

The speaker may not want to take personal responsibility for a statement, or may be reporting the views of a group of people. These verbs can be used in the passive, introduced by "it".

It has been agreed to close most of the coal mines.

agree decide imply rumour

announce estimate know say

believe expect predict state

claim fear reckon suggest

confirm feel recommend suppose

consider hope report think


4 Questions in indirect speech


When we turn direct questions into indirect speech, the following changes are necessary:

Tenses, pronouns and possessive adjectives, and adverbs of time and place change as in statements.

Some additional changes are required:

a) The interrogative verb order in the direct question changes to affirmative verb order in the indirect question.

Ellie said: "Where do you live?" Ellie asked where I lived.


b) The indirect question cannot use "say", it must be changed to a verb of inquiry, e.g. " ask,inquire, wonder,want to know etc."

Matt said: "Why is he going to do it?"

Matt wondered why Nick was going to do it.

But "inquire, wonder, want to know" cannot take an indirect object, so if we wish to report a question where the person adressed is mentioned, we must use "ask.

He said, "Mary, when is the next train?"

He asked Mary when the next train was.


c) In reported Yes / No questions, we use "if / whether"

The O'Brians asked: "Is Lucy at home?"

The O'Brians asked if / whether Lucy was at home.


d) In reported "wh- questions", when the question words "when, where, who, how, why etc." are used, the wh- word is followed by statement word order, that is the subject followed by the verb.

"What is your favourite colour? she asked him.

She asked him what his favourite colour was.


e) Questions beginning Shall I / we? and Will you / would you / could you?

A Questions beginning "Shall I?" can be of four kinds.

1. Speculations or requests for information about a future event:

"Shall I ever see them again?" he wondered.

This follows the ordinary rule about "shall/will". Speculations are usually introduced by "wonder"

He wondered if he would ever see them again.

2. Requests for advice:

"What shall I do with it?" = "Tell me what to do with it."

These are expressed in the indirect speech by "ask, inquire, etc.,with "should" or the "be + infinitive construction". Requests for advice are normally reported by should:

"Shall we send it to your flat, sir?" he said.

he asked the customer if they were to send / if they should send it to his flat.

3. Offers:

"Shall I bring you some tea?" could be reported

He offered to bring me some tea.

4. Suggestions:

"Shall we meet at the theatre?" could be reported

He suggested meeting at the theatre.

He said, "Let' s stop now and finish it later" would be reported

He suggested stopping then and finishing it later.

But "let's not" used alone in answer to an affirmative suggestion is" against it / objected. So that:

"Let's sell the house", said Tom. "Let's not," said Ann could be reported

Tom suggested selling the house but Ann was against it.

"let's / let us sometimes expresses a call to action. It is then usually reported by ' urge / advise" + object + infinitive

The strike leader said, "Let's show the bosses that we are united"

=The strike leader urged the workers to show the bosses that they were united.



5 Commands (requests and advice)

The passage from direct to indirect commands, requests and advice follows different rules.

1. In the indirect construction. the verb is followed by:

object + infinitive with To

He said: "Claire, stand up!" = He told Claire to stand up.

2. Even if the object is not mentioned in the direct command, a pronoun object must be added in the indirect form.

He said: "Stand up!" = He told her / him / us etc. to stand up.

3. Place "not" before the infinitive in the indirect form to report a negative command.

Rita said: "Don't go swimming, kids!" = Rita told the kids not to go swimming.

4. Verbs used in indirect commands,requests, advice are:

tell ask advise command forbid invite

order remind request warn


5. When the command is preceded by a clause (usually of time or condition).

He said, "If she leaves the house follow her" could be reported

= He said that if she left the house I was to follow her. or

=He told me to follow her if she left the house would be equally possible here but note that if we use" the tell + infinitive construction we must change the order of the sentence so as to put the command first.



6 Reported exclamations


Exclamations become statements preserving the meaning of the original. Various forms may be used,

e.g. "Congratulations!" He congratulated her.

"Help!" He called for help.

"It's impossible!" She gave an exclamation of surprise

or She exclaimed with surprise.

"Happy Christmas!" He wished me a happy Christmas.

"Liar!" He called me a liar.

"yes" and "no" are expressed in indirect speech by subject + appropriate auxiliary verb:

He said, "Can you swim? and I said "No".

=He asked me if I could swim and I said that I couldn't.

He said, "Will you have time to do it?" and I said "Yes".


=He asked if I would have time to do it and I said I would.



7 Indirect speech: mixed types.

Direct speech may consist of statement + question, question + command, command + statement, or all three together.

Normally each requires its own introductory verb:

"I don't know the way. Do you? "he asked.

=He said he didn't know the way and asked her if she did? /if she knew it.





Ex I. Look at the text and write down all the words and expressions that are different in Bill's and Peter's sentences.

Bill (on Saturday evening). "I don't like this party I want to go home now."

Peter (on Sunday morning): Bill said he didn't like the party and he wanted to go home right away.


Which do you think is the best explanation for the differences?

1. After verbs like "said" you change tenses and pronouns in English.

2. The time,place and speakers are different.

3. If the main verb is past,the other verbs have to be past too.


Ex.2 The following sentence was said in England in November (1995):

"I' ve been in this part of the world since March this year."

Does the first or second "this" have to be changed if the sentence is reported:

a) in England a week later?

b) in England a year later?

c) in Holland a week later?

d) in Holland a year later?

a) neither has to be changed

b) the second "this" has to be changed

c) the first "this" has to be changed

d) both have to be changed


Ex.3 Complete the table:


Direct Speech Indirect Speech
simple present -------------------- -------------------- past progressive
present perfect simple past --------------------- -------------------- -------------------- would
past perfect -------------------



Ex.4 Transform the sentences into indirect speech, make the necessary changes.

1. Dad always says: "When I was your age, I would earn the money myself." 2. I know that Ellen will say: "Your should take care of yourself." 3. Dagmar tells her husband: "I'm starting my new job tomorrow. 4. The old man comments:" The weather will change." 5. The proverb says: "Not all that glitters is gold." 6. They have recently announced: "We plan to get married next year." 7. The Americans like to say: "Time is money." 8. The salesman tells us: "Our encyclopedia has always sold very well." 9. The teacher promises: "I' ll correct your papers by tomorrow." 10. The manager wonders: "How many products has the new salesman sold?" 11. The tourist asks: "Where is the entrance to the museum?" 12. Mother asks Tom: "When will you finally do what I say?" 13. The doctor will certainly inquire: "What medicine are you taking now?" 14. The foreigner asks: "How far is the Hotel Palace? " 15. They warn us: "Don't go near the contaminated area!"


Ex. 5 Find out what the horoscope below says about the people in the following list.

E.g. Helen (18th November)

It says that she is having a difficult time, but there will be some surprises for her.

1. Bob (13th February)

2. Kate (14th September)

3. David (22nd April)

4. Janet (30th November) and Jerry (10th December)

5. Paul (8th July)

6. Tom (12th April)

7. Diane (18th March)

8. Mr. Johnson (8th January)

9. Jane (29th May)

10. Sue (4th August) and Peter (2oth August)

What the stars say – your horoscope

Aries (21st March – 20th April)

You are worrying a lot, but your problems are not very great.


Taurus (21st April – 21st May)

You will meet someone interesting, and your life may change suddenly.


Gemini (22nd May – 21st June)

Your boss or teacher will not be pleased with you, but it won't be your fault.


Cancer (22nd June – 23rd July)

You will have many problems, so it isn't the time to plan your holiday.


Leo (24th July – 23 rd August)

Everything is going well for you, but you must think before you make any decisions.


Virgo (24th August - 23rd September)

You will have problems at work and you should ask your friends for help,


Libra (24th September - 23rd October)

Your life is getting more exciting, but you must control your feelings


Scorpio (24th October – 22nnd November)

You are having a difficult time, but there will be some surprises for you.


Sagitarius (23rd November – 21st December)

You are feeling rather unhappy, but you will hear some interesting news.


Capricorn (22nd December – 20th January)

You should spend more time with your friends because you are working too hard.


Aquarius (21st January – 19th February)

You will have lots of energy, and you may have to travel.


Pisces (20th February – 20th March)

Your life feels empty, but you will find romance.


Ex. 6. Find your horoscope in a newspaper or magazine and tell the other people in your class what it says. If possible, find different horoscopes and compare them.


Ex. 7. Put the following into indirect speech


1. "I have something to show you", I said to her.

2. "I've been in London for a month but so far I haven't had time to visit the Tower", said Rupert.

3. "It isn't so foggy today as it was yesterday", I remarked.

4. "We have moved into our new flat. We don't like it nearly so much as our last one, "said my aunt.

5. "We have a lift but very often it doesn't work", they said.

6. ''I've no idea what the time is but I'll dial 8081 and find out, "said his daughter.

7. "You haven't given me quite enough. The bill is for $14 and you've paid me only $13, "he pointed out.

8. Ann said, "Englishmen make good husbands because they are nearly always willing to help in the house."

9. Mary answered, "I like men to be useful but I don't like them to be too domesticated. I prefer them to keep out of the kitchen.

10. "We like working on Sundays because we get double pay, "explained the builders.

11. "I know exactly what they said", the private detective explained to his client, "because I bugged their phone".

12. "I'll sit till she comes in, but I hope she won't be late, "he said.

13. "This is quite a good model, madam. I use one of these myself", said the salesman.

14. "I wrote to him the day before yesterday. I wonder why he hasn't rung up", she said.

15. "The steak is overdone again. I'm not complaining. I'm just pointing out", said her husband.


Ex. 8 Put the following into indirect speech. (Some tenses/ forms do not change)

1. "This story happened long ago", he said, and few people remember anything about it."

2. "Did you really see this happen with your own eyes?" the policeman asked the boy.

3. "It is time we began training for our next match", the coach said to them.

4. "I haven't read so interesting a book since I don't remember when", she said.

5. "I meant to plug in the electric blanket but I plugged in the electric kettle by mistake. I'm always doing silly things like that", she told her guest.

6. "I was intending to do it tomorrow", he said, "but now I don't think I'll be able to."

7."I moved to the seaside in 1985," boasted Mary.

8. My grandmother often used to say: "Four eyes see better than one."

9. "Would you like me to go with you? I said.

"I'd rather go alone", he answered.

10. "The students also took part in arranging the conference", the chairman said.

11. She said, "There are no reasons why I can't receive letters in my own house.

12. Kate said: "I've known Alec since we were children."

13. John said: "The newspaper wrote about my sister's performance in very flattering terms."

14. "I don't like the look of Len," said Mum to Dad at tea-time. "I'm sure he's got something worse than flue", she added.

15. The teacher said: "I was examining group 3 from 10 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon."


Ex. 9 Put the following sentences with modal verbs into reported speech:

1. "You may leave your car in front of the building", the porter said. 2. "May I ask you a question?" she said. 3. "Might I come a little later?" the student asked the teacher very politely. 4."Could I have two of these lovely buns?" the old lady asked with a smile.5. "When can we take our examinations this year?" the students asked. 6."We know that last year students could take their exams as late as September" they continued.7. "May I just interrupt you?" my interlocutor said impatiently. 8. "You may take another piece of cake", Mother told her son. 9."Schoolchildren can wear any clothes their parents wish", the headmistress said. 10. "When I was at school, schoolchildren could wear only dark blue uniforms", one parent objected.


Ex.10 Put the following sentences into indirect speech, using the following sentence openings:


1. He was of the opinion that he …(Omit "I think")

2. He said that once he…

3. The announcer stated that the swimmer…

4. The police inspector asked the witness if…

5. My friend said that she…

6. He assured me that…

7. He suggested that he….

8. She said that looking…

9. The lodger complained that he…

10. The student apologized that he….

11. They said that suddenly…

12. They suggested that he …

13. I pointed out that he…

14. She apologized that she…

16. He said that he … after….


1. "I think I can solve this problem"

2. " Once I was able to solve such problems but now I can't remember how.

3. "He managed to swim across the English Channel."

4. "Can you see anything unusual here?"

5. "I will be able to answer you tomorrow."

6. "I can talk to him."

7. "I could discuss it with him."

8. "When I looked at this photograph I was able to remember his name."

9. "I can't open the door."

10. "I haven't been able to (couldn't) read all these books."

11. "Suddenly we could hear a noise."

12. "He could be a leader."

13. "He was able (managed) to have his way."

14. "I can't say it."

15. "After the guests had left he was able to start working."


Ex.11. Put the following sentences into Direct speech omitting the words in brackets)

1. (He said that) he would ring later on.

2. (He asked his wife if) he would invite his guests to dinner.

3. (She wondered if) she would meet any interesting people at the party.

4. (My opinion was that) we wouldn't hear from them before the following month.

5. (She wanted to know if) she would receive any information about the journey.

6. (He reminded us that) we would have some extra-hours of practical classes.

7. (She told her husband that) she would cook dinners only during week-ends.

8. (Her husband asked if) he would have his meals at a cafeteria.


Ex.12. Put the following sentences into Indirect speech, using the sentence openings given in brackets.

1. "The applications must be filled in blocked letters." (The instruction stated that…). 2. "The medicine must be kept out of reach of children." (The warning stipulated that…). 3. "They had to dig this ditch the whole yesterday night." (He told me that…). 4."You must (are to) eat everything." (Mother said that….). 5 "I have to get some sleep now if I am to work late to-night." (She explained that…) 6. Bags and umbrellas must be left in the cloakroom." (The regulation laid down that…). 7. "You mustn't leave the windows open." (My landlady insisted that…) 8. "Customers must not enter the shop without shopping-bags." (The notice stated that…) 9. "Addresses on the envelopes must include code numbers." (The post-office clerk told me that…). 10. "You mustn't tell anybody." (My friend told me that…) 11. "I'm afraid I'll have to do it again." (I felt that…) 12. "If you want to succeed, you must try harder." (Our teacher said that…). 13."Children under sixteen years of age must not watch this film." (The TV announcer said…). 14. "I am to see my boss tomorrow morning." (She told me…). 15. "You simply must see this exhibition." (My boy-friend insisted that…).


Ex.13 The instructions as above.

1. She told us that… ("You needn't hurry so much. There is plenty of time.") 2. The teacher explained that…(You needn't write everything in your notebook") 3. The regulation stated that…("You don't need a visa when travelling to this country.") 4. It was obvious to me that…("You needn't get so nervous. No news is good news.) 5. She complained that…("Last year I didn't have to get up so early as I have to this year.") 6. She told me… ("Pack everything today, you won't have to think about it tomorrow.") 7. He realized that… ("I didn't have to translate this as he understood it in English." 8. She assured me that…("You needn't go yet.") 9. He boasted that... ("I don't need her help. I can manage myself.") 10. He explained that... ("You needn't make up your mind yet.") 11. He argued that… ("If you don't have to do it, don't do it!") 12. A philosopher said that… ("We don't have to look for happiness, it is a side effect of a good life.").


Ex.14. Translate the sentences into English paying attention to modal verbs.

1. Он сказал, что мне следовало бы больше времени проводить на свежем воздухе. 2. Она сказала, что ей пришлось идти пешком, потому что она не могла сесть в автобус. 3. Мама сказала, что дети, должно быть еще в школе. 4. Учитель сказал, что больше книг следует читать в оригинале. 5. Он сказал, что ему придется провести уикэнд в городе. 6. Она сказала, что не может больше ждать, так как может опоздать на лекцию. 7. Он сказал, что они должны встретиться снова. 8. Она сказала, что у них могут быть проблемы с детьми. 9. Моя тетя Аня сказала, что когда она была молодой, она могла заниматься всю ночь. 10. Он сказал молодой девушке, что ей не следует быть такой самоуверенной. 11. Ник сказал, что в то утро он должен был зайти в банк и поэтому опоздал на работу. 12. Катя сказала, что боится, что ей не разрешат купаться, так как она не совсем здорова. 13. Мама сказала, что нам незачем торопиться, мы можем дойти до станции пешком. 14. Доктор Самюэль должно быть успел посетить всех пациентов к концу дня. 15. Дженис громко сказала, что подобных людей следует держать под замком.


Ex.15. Put the following conditional sentences into Indirect speech.

1. Mum said: "If I can, I'll pick you up at school.

2. The union leader told the workers: "If the company doesn't increase your salaries, you will go on strike."

3. The author told the audience: "If you had read my latest

book, you would have understood.

4. The priest always told his parishioners: "If everyone read the Bible daily, it would be a better world,"

5. Tom yelled at his son: "If you don't look out, I'll hit you."

6. The lawyer explained: "If your wife hadn't signed the contract, you would have had your money back last year."

7. I told my daughter: "If your room is messy, you will not be allowed to go out with your friends."

8. The candidate announced: "If I am elected, I will improve schools and lower taxes."

9. The historian insisted: " If the war had lasted another year, the entire country would have been destroyed."

10. The man said: " If Becker won, he would get the cup."

11. My boy- friend said:"If I won a million pounds I would stop working."

12. Jane confessed: "I would be very frightened if someone pointed a gun at me."

13. Nick told me: "If you banged your head against a brick wall, you would hurt yourself."

14. My father announced: "If the Goodmans are coming for dinner, I'll open a special bottle of wine."

15. I told my friend: "If the distance to the train station were shorter, I'd walk there."


Ex.16. Choose the correct forms of the rules.

1. After (tell/say) we normally say who is spoken to. We do not put "to" before the object.

2. After (say/tell), we don't have to say who is spoken to. If we do, we put "to" before the object.

3. (say/tell) means "inform" or "instruct". It can't introduce questions.

4. (say/tell) can't normally be used before an infinitive.


Ex.17. Complete the following table on the use of say, tell and speak.



  say tell speak
a lie   +  
" Yes "      
a story      
me his name      


Ex.18. Complete the following sentences with

a) "say" or "tell"

1. They can … the difference between a man with a shotgun and a revolver. 2. The children always like me to … them a story before they go to sleep. 3. At the end of the meeting the chairman stood up to … a few words. 4. Jimmy mentions everyone in the family whenever he … his prayers. 5. George Washington told his father that he could never … a lie. 6. I don't know how you distinguish between those two. I just can't … them apart.

b) "said", "told", "talked"

1. Jack … me that Tom was enjoying his new job. 2. Tom …, it was a nice restaurant but I don't like it much. 3. The doctor … that I would have to rest for at least a week. 4. Mrs. Taylor … us she wouldn't be able to come to the next meeting. 5. She was... that there were no tickets left. 6. Ann…Tom that she was going away. 7. George could help me. He … to ask Jack. 8. At the meeting the chairman … about the problems facing the company. 9. He … a story about his adventures. 10. Jill … us all about her holiday in Australia.


Ex.19 Some other reporting verbs can be used when reporting statements:

accuse admit advise agree apologize blame decide

deny encourage explain insist promise refuse remind

suggest warn answer claim mention reply tell

Match the verbs given above to a pattern below according to how they are used in reported speech

a) Verb + object + infinitive = He asked me to go.

b) Verb + (that) = She said (that) hr had to go.

c) Verb + object + (that) = He told us (that) he had to go.

d) Verb + gerund =He admitted stealing the bag.

e) Verb + gerund + prep + gerund = He accused me of stealing the money.

f) Verb + infinitive = He decided to lend her the money.


Ex.20. Choose the most suitable word.


1. The government spokesperson (denied/refused) that there was a crisis.

2. Jane (said/told) me there was nothing the matter.

3. Peter (persuaded/insisted) me to stay for dinner.

4. The director of studies (advised/suggested) me to spend more time in the language lab.

5. Sheila (explained/warned) me not to leave the heater on all night.

6. The chairperson (mentioned/reminded) us that time was extremely short.

7. Bill (answered/replied) them with a detailed description of his plans.

8. Michael and Sarah (announced/reported) that they were going to get married.

9. Paul (accepted/expected) that he had made a mistake, and apologized.

10. The manager (confirmed/reassured) that our room had been reserved.

11. I (explained/told) to him that he would have to wait.

12. He (mentioned/informed) me that it was time to go.

13. She (suggested/persuaded) to them that they should reconsider their decision.

14. It was (informed/announced) that there would be another meeting the following week.

15. George (promised/mentioned) to me that he might look in to see me.


Ex.21. Match the reports with the actual words used.

1. "You can't leave yet. It's only 11 o'clock."

2. "Well, I'll do whatever I can for you."

3. "If I were you I would get in touch with the manager."

4. "I bumped into your brother in London yesterday."

5. "I'll certainly come and see you some time."

6. "It's no good just telephoning.Put something in writing.

7. "We have too much work at the moment."

8. "I'm afraid it's time for us to leave."

a) They said they had to go.

b) He said he would help if he could.

c) She promised she would visit us.

d) He suggested that we should write to the boss.

e) They insisted we should stay a bit longer.

f) They complained that they were too busy.

g) She mentioned that she had met you.

h) I explained that they should send a letter.


Ex.22. Use the appropriate form of these verbs to complete the definitions and examples.


Admit announce argue complain deny mention explain inform

1. If you … someone that something is the case, you tell them about it. I … her that I was unwell and couldn't come to her party. 2. If you … something, you agree, often reluctantly, that it is true. I must … that I had my doubts. 3. When you … something, you say, that it is not true. Green … that he had done anything illegal. 4. If you … something, you tell people about it publicly or officially. It was … that the Prime Minister would speak on television that evening. 5. If you …, you tell someone about the situation affecting you that is wrong or unsatisfactory. He … that the office was not "businesslike". 6. If you…something, you say it, but do not spend long talking about it. I … to Tom that I was thinking of going back to work. 7. If you … something, you describe it so that it can be understood. He … that they had to buy a return ticket. 8. If you … that something is the case, you state your opinion about it and give reasons why you think it is true. Some people … that nuclear weapons have helped to keep the peace.


Ex.23. Complete each sentence with one suitable reporting verb. Do not use "say".

1. I thought Jim would say something about his new job. But he didn't … it.

2. Sorry, I wasn't being insulting. I simply … that you seem to have put on rather a lot of weight lately.

3. The police … that the crowd was under 50 000, although the organizers of the march put it at nearer 100 000.

4. The children … that their parents were always checking up on them.

5. It has been … that by the year 2050 some capital cities will be almost uninhabitable because of the effects of air pollution.

6. During the months before Smith's transfer from City, it had been … that he and the manager had come to blows in the dressing room, though this was denied by the club.

7. Brown … that the arresting officers had treated him roughly, and that one of them had punched him in the eye.

8. An Army spokesman stressed that all troops patrolling the streets had been … to issue clear warnings before firing any shots.

9. Although he didn't say so directly, the Prime Minister … that an agreement between the two sides was within reach.

10. The witness … her name and address to the court before the cross-examination began.


Ex.24. Report the following "Yes/no" questions.

1. My neighbour wondered: "Will Mrs. Xuxley be able to manage alone?"

2. The lady asked the jeweller: "Would you mind showing me the diamond bracelet in the window?"

3. The manager asked the staff: "Do you realize how important this matter is?"

4. My landlady asked me: "Did you hear anything unusual last night?"

5. Mr. Brown wondered: "Is this the man who is an expert in African affairs?"

6. "Is a return ticket cheaper than two singles?" said my aunt.

7. "Can I bring my dog into the compartment with me?" she asked.

8. "Have you reserved a seat?" asked my uncle.

9. "Did you play for your school team?" said Bill.

10. " Have you enrolled for more than one class?" said Peter.

11. "Would you like to join our Drama Group?" asked Sheila.

12. " Did they understand what you said to them?" he wanted to know.

13. "Have you gone completely mad?" I asked. "Do you want to blow us all up?

14. "Are you being attended to, sir?" said the shop assistant.

15. "Will you go on strike when the others do?" the shop steward asked him.


Ex.25. Report the following "wh-questions"


1. Why are you looking through the keyhole?" I said.

2. Which of you knows how to make Irish stew?" said the chief cook.

3. How can I run in high-heeled shoes?" she inquired.

4. "What was she wearing when you saw her last night?" the policeman asked me.

5. "Who left the banana skin on the front doorstep?" said my mother.

6. "How much does a day return to Bath cost?" Mrs. Jones asked.

7. "When was the time-table changed?" I asked.

8. "Who will be umpiring that match?" asked Tom.

9. "Which team won the previous match?" said Bill.

10. "Why has the 2.30 train been cancelled?" said the passenger.

11. "What happened to Mr. Pitt?" said one of the men.

12. "Which of his sons inherited the estate?" asked another.

13. "What shall I do with my heavy bag?" she said. (Use "should")

14. "How can I get from the station to the airport?" asked the foreigner.

15. "Why does the price go up so often?" she wondered.


Ex.26. Put the following into indirect speech.

Remember that "Why don't you?" can be an ordinary question or advice/suggestion. Treat it here as advice.

1. "I can't open this tin", said Ann. "Shall I do it for you?" said Tom.

2. "Shall we ever meet again?" he wondered.

3. "Why don't you install gas central heating?" said the advertisement. (urge)

7. "Shall I tell him what happened?" she asked me.

8. "Why don't you listen to some pop music?" the teenagers asked him.

9. "Where shall I hang my new picture?" I said.

10. "Why don't you trust him?" I asked Ann.

11. "Shall I put on this black hat?" I asked my husband.

12. "Where shall we stay in London?" we asked our parents.


Ex.27. Put the following sentences into reported speech.

Questions with "if-clauses and time clauses" should be reported with the "if-clause or time-clause" last.

"When/If I see him, what shall I say?" she asked.

She asked what she should say when /if she saw him.

1. He said, "When you are at the butcher's remember to get a bone for the dog.

2. She said, "If you feel faint sit down and put your head between your knees."

3. "If I find your purse, what shall I do with it?" he said.

4. "If the police stop me, what shall I say?" she asked.

5. "What shall I do if he refuses to let me in?" she said.

6. "What will happen if the strike continues?" he said.

7. "If it goes on snowing, how will we get food?" wondered the housewives.

8. "When the rain stops, can we go out?" said the children.

9. "If I loose my traveller's checks, will the bank repay me?" I asked.

10. "If the noise gets worse, shall we complain to the police?" my daughter asked me.


Ex.27 Put the following commands (requests) into reported speech.


1. The police ordered: "Everyone must stay indoors."

2. The principal told the student: "Do not leave the building during school hours!"

3. The politician advised the citizens: "Vote only for my party!"

4. The singer requested: "Everyone in the audience, sing along

with me!"

5. We told Barbara: "Read that book, if you want to pass the course."

6. The speaker said: "Listen carefully to my pronunciation!"

7. Dr. Biery said: "Take this medicine three times a day!"

8. General Howard ordered: "All soldiers must be prepared for combat!"

9. The psychologist advised them: "Keep the child in a peaceful environment!"

10. Mr. Watson ordered: "Fax the letter immediately, Miss Martin!"

11. The flight assistant told the passengers: "Fasten your seatbelts and refrain from smoking until landing!"

12. "Don't put your hands near the bars", the zoo keeper warned us.

13. "Send for the Fire Brigade", the manager said to the porter.

14. "Wait for me at the bridge", said the young man.

15. Notice: "Please do not ask at the desk for change for telephone calls."


Ex.28. Put the following commands, requests, advice into indirect speech. In most cases the person addressed must be supplied.

1. He said, "Get out of my way."

2. "Climb in through the window", he ordered.

3. "Please pay at the desk", said the assistant,

4. "Open your bag, please", said the store detective.

5."Don't worry about anything", said the solicitor. "Leave it all to me."

6. "Have confidence in me", said the doctor.

7. "Read the notice about life-saving equipment", advised the airhostess.

8. "Always cook with butter", said her mother, "never use margarine."

9. "Don't argue with your father", I said.

10. "Don't say anything to make her angry", said my father.

11. "Put your pistol on the table", said the crook.

12. "Please, take me a seat in a non-smoker", said the traveller.

13. "Don't forget your sandwiches", said his mother.

14. "Search the house", said the police sergeant.

15. "Don't make mountains out of molehills", he said.


Ex.29. Write the following in indirect speech, in ordinary narrative form.

Ann suggested having a party on the next Saturday. Mary agreed and asked who they should invite.

Report "Why don't we…?" as a suggestion and "Why don't you…? as suggestion or advice. Report "Why not?" in no.9 as "agreed"

1. Ann: What about having a party on Saturday?

2. Mary: Yes, let's. Who shall we invite?

3. Ann: Let's not make a list. Let's just invite everybody.

4. Mary: We don't want to do much cooking, so what about making it a wine and cheese party?

5. Ann: Suppose we ask everybody to take a bottle?

6. Mary: Shall we hire glasses from our local wine shop? We haven't many left.

7. Ann: If it's warm, how about the party in the garden?

8. Mary: Why not have a barbecue?

9. Ann: Why not? We could ask Paul to do the cooking.

10. Mary: Last time we had a barbecue the neighbours complained about the noise. Shall we ask everyone to speak in whispers?

11. Ann: Suppose we go round to the neighbours and apologize in advance this time?

12. Mary: Why not invite the neighbours? Then the noise won't matter.

13. Ann: What a clever idea! Shall we start ringing everyone up tonight?

14. Mary: What about working out how much it will cost first?


Ex.30. Put the following sentences into indirect speech.

1. He said, "I salute you, my little friend."

2. He said, "I congratulate you, Miss Ccarnaby."

3. He said, "Mr. Poirot? I am Drouet, Inspector of Police."

4. She said, "I really apologize for bothering you, Mr. Poirot."

5. He said, "I make you my compliments on the work you have done."

6. "My friend, my celebrated friend, Mr. Poirot," she said to the people sitting at the table.

7. "Mr. Brown said, "Good morning, Mr. Smith! How are you? I'm so happy to see you again."

8. Brian said, "Good morning, everybody!"

9. Fred said, "Sam, old chap! Hello! Come in! What a surprise!"

10. "Let me introduce you to Mr. William Higgs", said Poirot.

11. He said, "Good luck to you and everybody."

12. He said, "I apologize for being late."

13. She said, "I'm sorry Mr. Brown."

14. "Many, many thanks for your lovely present", said the girl.

15. She said to them, "I'm so happy to see you at my place."



Mixed Bag

Ex.31. Change these sentences into reported speech so that the report is given later on the same day.

e.g. "I'm going to have lunch at Lyon's today," Jane said.

Jane said that she was going to have lunch at Lyon's today.

1. "Did you expect me to come to the football-ground yesterday?" Bill asked me and continued, "I'm sorry but I didn't have the money for the ticket. So I had to stay at home."

2. "I've just returned from Paris", Tom informed me when I ran into him at the station this morning. "The trip was horrible. The train was so crowded that I couldn't find a seat in a compartment. I hope it will be better tomorrow when I travel to Italy.''

3. "Do you think we'll enjoy the party at Nancy's tonight?" my wife wanted to know. "Last time all the guests were boring. And, "she continued", I don't know which dress to put on. They are too old. Can't you give me some money so that I can buy a new one?"

4. Jim met John this morning on their way to work and asked him, "Can you pay for my beers in the pub tonight? I'm really short of money at the moment, and if you don't help me I can't come."

5. I was stopped by a policeman this morning, "Do you know why I stopped you?" he asked. I shook my head. "Well, you are driving at 45 mph and in this street there is a speed limit of thirty. I'm sorry but you'll have to pay a fine of 5 pounds."


Ex.32. Now rewrite the sentences but so that the report is given a few days after the words were spoken.


Ex.33. Render the following conversation in indirect speech. (The scene is laid in Lady Windermere's drawing-room. Mr. Podgers is a cheiromantist.)

Lord Arthur said, "I'm waiting, Mr. Podgers." Mr.Podgers said with a forced smile, "It is the hand of a charming young man." "Of course, it is!" answered Lady Windermere, "but will he be a charming husband? That is what I want to know." "All charming young men are," said Mr. Podgers. "But what I want are details. Details are the only things that interest. What is going to happen to Lord Arthur?" asked Lady Windermere. "Well, within the next few months Lord Arthur will go on a voyage and lose a relative, a distant relative," said Mr. Podgers. Lord Arthur held out his hand to Mr.Ppodgers and said, "Tell me what you saw there. Tell me the truth. I must know it. I am not a child." "What makes you think that I saw anything in your hand, Lord Arthur, more than I told you?" "I know you did and I insist on your telling me what it was. I will pay. I will give you a cheque for a hundred pounds. I'll send it tomorrow," said Lord Arthur.


Ex.34. Rewrite the following text as a dialogue.

Sheila was surprised when she looked at her wrist watch and saw that it was already six o'clock. She explained that her train left at twenty to seven and therefore asked Peter to call a taxi for her. Peter laughed and told her that he would not do that, and when Sheila got more and more excited explaining that she didn't want to miss the train because the next one woudn't take her home in time to say good-buy to her husband John, who was leaving that night for a business-trip to Glasgow, Peter interrupted her and told her not to worry. He himself could drive her to the station. He added that his car was outside the house and it would take them only ten minutes. Sheila didn't want her brother to take so much trouble, but he told her he had nothing else to do that evening and that it was no trouble at all. So Sheila agreed and Peter offered her another cup of tea. She thought the tea was excellent and told her brother so. But then Peter looked at his watch, jumped from his chair and rushed his sister out of the house. When she asked him why he suddenly was in such a hurry e explained to her that her that her watch must be slow and it was already half past six. He pointed out that they would have to be as quick as possible if she didn't want to miss the train after all.


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