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Reported Speech Rules | Indirect Speech Rules | Class 10 | Class 9 | Class 8 | English Grammar |

Indirect speech or Reported speech is a way of saying what someone else said without quoting them directly. We can use it in questions, statements, and other phrases. In order to understand the rules of reported speech one must understand the type of sentences in English. There are five types of sentences in English which are given below.

  1. Assertive or Declarative Sentences (Sentence that declare something)
  2. Interrogative Sentences (Sentence that end up in questions)
  3. Imperative Sentences (Sentences that show request, order, command etc.)
  4. Exclamatory Sentences (Sentences that express sudden feelings)
  5. Optative Sentences (Sentences that express wishes)

Reported Speech Rules for Assertive Sentences

  • In assertive sentences ‘Says to’ is changed into ‘Tells’ when reporting verb is given in present tense whereas in past tenses ‘Said to’ is changed into ‘told’. Always remember that ‘Told’ is never followed by ‘To’.
  • In assertive sentences, we must join the reporting verb to reported speech using the word ‘That’.
  • While changing from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech, if reporting verb is given in present tense, we need not make changes to the tense of reported speech except the pronoun whereas if reporting verb is given in past tense, we need to make changes accordingly. Most of the changes that need to be done are given below.

Changes need to be done when reporting verb given in past tense.

Change From To
Present Simple Tense Past Indefinite Tense
Present Continuous Tense Past Continuous Tense
Present Perfect Tense Past Perfect Tense
Present Perfect Continuous Tense Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Past Indefinite Tense Past Perfect Tense
Past Continuous Tense Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Past Perfect No Change
Past Perfect Continuous No Change
Future Indefinite Tense Will/shall be changed into would 
Future Continuous Tense Will/shall be changed into would 
Future Perfect Tense Will/shall be changed into would 
Future Indefinite Tense Will/shall be changed into would 
Now Then
Today  That Day
Yesterday The previous day
Tomorrow The next/following day
Must Must/had to/would have to
Will/shall Would
Can Would
May Might
This  That
That No change
Has/Have Had to
Is/Am Was
Are Were
Has/Have Had
Had No Change
Has/Have been Had been
Here There
Hence  Thence
Last day/night The previous day/night
Tonight That night

Examples of Changing Assertive Sentences in Reported Speech

1) Direct Speech : He says,” I am a student.”

Indirect Speech : He says that he is a student.

2) Direct Speech : He said,” I am a student.”

Indirect Speech : He said that he was a student.

3) Direct Speech : He said, ” I am going to market.”

Indirect Speech : He said that he was going to market.

4) Direct Speech : She said to me, ” I have eaten my food.”

Indirect Speech : She told me that she had eaten her food.

5) Direct Speech : They said to me, ” We have been living here since 1995.”

Indirect Speech : They told me that they had been living there since 1995.

6) Direct Speech : You said to me, ” I will go to Delhi tomorrow.”

Indirect Speech : You told me that you would go to Delhi the next day.

7) Direct Speech : Pankaj said to her, ” I can not marry you.”

Indirect Speech : Pankaj told her that he could not marry her.

8) Direct Speech : My father said to my mother, ” I saw you at the mall.”

Indirect Speech : My father told my mother that he had seen her at the mall.

Note : There is no need to change the tense if reporting verb given in present tense. But if given in past tense, we are required to change the tenses as per aforesaid table. Besides, we need to switch the pronoun, its possessive and objective pronoun accordingly. 

Reported Speech Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  • In Interrogative sentences ‘Said to’ is changed into ‘asked’ or ‘Enquired’ or ‘Wanted to know’ when reporting verb is given in past tense. These words are never followed by ‘To’.
  • In interrogative sentences, we may come across two kinds of questions; One that begins with Helping Verb (Is, Am, Are, Has, Have, Had, Can, Could, May etc.) and other that begins with WH Family (When, What, Where, How, Who, Whom etc.) If the question begins with Helping Verb, we need to use If/Whether to conjunct the sentence whereas If the question begins with WH Family, we need to use the same WH word to conjunct the sentence.

Examples of Changing Interrogative Sentences in Reported Speech

1) Direct Speech : He said to me,” Where are you going?”

Indirect Speech : He asked me where I was going.

2) Direct Speech : She said to him, “Can you do me a favour?”

Indirect Speech : She asked him if he could do her a favour.

3) Direct Speech : Ram said to his mother, “Do you have some cash?”

Indirect Speech : Ram asked his mother if she had some cash.

4) Direct Speech : Principal Said to a students, “Did you bunk your class yesterday?”

Indirect Speech : Principal asked a student if he had bunked his class the previous day.

5) Direct Speech : Customer said to a waiter, “How much is to be paid for this dish?”

Indirect Speech : Customer wanted to know how much was to be paid for that dish.

Reported Speech Rules for Imperative Sentences

  • In imperative sentences ‘Said/Said to’ is changed into ‘Requested’ or ‘Ordered’ or ‘Commanded’ (Varies from statement to statement) when reporting verb is given in past tense. These words are never followed by ‘To’.
  • In imperative sentences, we conjoin the sentence using ‘To+V1’ (which is already given in the direct speech. Always remember that ‘To’ is never followed by V2 and V3 Form.

Examples of Changing Imperative Sentences in Reported Speech

1) Direct Speech : He said to me, “Get lost?”

Indirect Speech : He ordered me to get lost.

2) Direct Speech : She said to me, “Please get my phone recharged?”

Indirect Speech : She requested me to get her phone recharged.

3) Direct Speech : Teacher said to his student, “Complete your work in time?”

Indirect Speech : Teacher commanded his student to complete his work in time.

4) Direct Speech : They said to me, “Please leave my brother?”

Indirect Speech : They begged me to leave their brother.

Reported Speech Rules for Exclamatory Sentences

  • In imperative sentences ‘Said/Said to’ is changed into ‘Exclaimed’ along with expression like surprise, sadness, happiness, joy etc. (Varies from statement to statement and Interjections) when reporting verb is given in past tense. These words are never followed by ‘To’.
  • In exclamatory sentences, we conjunct the Indirect speech with the word ‘That’.

Examples of Changing Exclamatory Sentences in Reported Speech

1) Direct Speech : He said, “Alas! I have lost my wallet.”

Indirect Speech : He exclaimed with sorrow that he had lost his wallet.

2) Direct Speech : The coach said, “Hurrah! We have won the match.”

Indirect Speech : The coach exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.

3) Direct Speech : Principal said to Neha, “Bravo! You have made us proud.”

Indirect Speech : Principal exclaimed with happiness that Neha had made them proud.

4) Direct Speech : They said, “Wow! What a car!”

Indirect Speech : They exclaimed with surprise that it was a magnificent car.

Reported Speech Rules for Optative Sentences

  • In optative sentences ‘Said/Said to’ is changed into ‘Wished’, ‘Cursed’ & ‘Prayed’ (Varies from statement to statement). These words are never followed by ‘To’.

Examples of Changing Optative Sentences in Reported Speech

1) Direct Speech : He said to me, “May God Bless you!”

Indirect Speech : He wished me that God might bless me.

2) Direct Speech : Pankaj said “May you live long!”

Indirect Speech : He wished that I might live long.

3) Direct Speech : Namita said to her “May you go to hell!”

Indirect Speech : Namita cursed her that she might go to hell.

4) Direct Speech : Kunal said to me “Good morning”

Indirect Speech : Kunal wished me good morning.

Reported speech or Indirect Speech is complicated that needs a lot of practice. Only reading these rules won’t help you to know everything about it. Along with the rules, you need to solve as many as exercises to have a good command over it. 

Exercise for Reported Speech

1) He said to me, “I am going to market.”
a) He told to me that he was going to market.
b) He told to me that he is going to market.
c) He told me that he was going to market.
d) He said me that he was going to market.

Answer: He told me that he was going to market

2) He said to me, “Do you like music?”
a) He asked me if I like music.
b) He asked me if I liked music.
c) He asked me if I had liked music.
d) He asked me if I had been liked music.

Answer: He asked me if I liked music.

3) Se said to me, “Where did you live?”
a) He asked me where did I live.
b) He asked me where I lived.
c) He asked me where I had lived.
d) He asked me where I had been lived.

Answer: He asked me where I had lived.

4) They said to her, “Please sit down.”
a) They ordered her to sit down
b) They advised her to sit down
c) They requested her to sit down
d) They threatened her to sit down

Answer: They requested her to sit down

5) We said to them, “We have been living in Delhi for 10 years.”
a) We told them that we have been living in Delhi for 10 years.
b) We told them that we had been living in Delhi for 10 years.
c) We told them that we are living in Delhi for 10 years.
d) We told them that they had been living in Delhi for 10 years.

Answer: We told them that we had been living in Delhi for 10 years.

6) Ram said to Shyam, “Is he right in his guess”
a) Ram told Shyam that he was right in his guess.
b) Ram told Shyam if he was right in his guess.
c) Ram asked Shyam if he is right in his guess
d) Ram asked Shyam if he was right in his guess.

Answer: Ram asked Shyam if he was right in his guess.

7) Stuntman said to audience, “Don’t try this at home.”
a) Stuntman told the audience to not try this at home.
b) Stuntman advised the audience to not try this at home.
c) Stuntman advised the audience not to try that at home.
d) Stuntman told the audience to not try that at home.

Answer: Ram asked Shyam if he was right in his guess.

8) My mother said,” Alas! I have lost my bag.”
a) My mother exclaimed with joy that she had lost her bag.
b) My mother exclaimed with sorrow that she had lost her bag.
c) My mother exclaimed with pleasure that she had lost her bag.
d) My mother exclaimed with pain that she has lost her bag.

Answer: My mother exclaimed with sorrow that she had lost her bag.

9) My mother said,” May God bless you !”
a) My mother wished that God may bless me.
b) My mother wished that God might bless me.
c) My mother wished that might God bless you.
d) None of these

Answer: My mother wished that God might bless me.

10) Teacher said to her students, “The earth revolves around the sun.”
a) Teacher told her students that the earth revolved around the sun.
b) Teacher told her students that the earth revolves around the sun.
c) Teacher told her students that the earth is revolving around the sun.
d) None of these

Answer: Teacher told her students that the earth revolves around the sun.

 

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