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When we want to communicate or report what another person has said, there are two ways of doing so: direct speech and indirect or reported speech.
To report exactly what another person has said, we use direct speech. In direct speech, what the person has said is placed within quotation marks (“…”) and should be word for word.
With indirect or reported speech, as opposed to direct speech, we do not use quotation marks and it does not have to be word for word. In general, when we use indirect or reported speech, the verb tense changes. Below is a table with an explanation of the tense changes in indirect or reported speech.
We sometimes use “” in affirmative and negative sentences to introduce what the other person has said. In interrogative sentences, “” or “” are used.
Note: Keep in mind that time expressions also change in reported speech. Note the changes in time in the examples below and at the end of the lesson you will find a table with more information regarding the changes in expressions of time in indirect or reported speech.
The verb tense also changes in indirect or reported speech with some of the modal verbs.
Note: With “would”, “could”, “should”, “might” y “ought to”, the verb tense does not change.
|Direct Speech||Indirect Speech|
|this week/month/year||that week/month/year|
|tomorrow||the next day|
|next week/month/year||the following week/month/year|
|yesterday||the day before or the previous day|
|last week/month/year||the week/month year before or the previous week/month/year|
|now||then/at that moment|