Tuesday, May 1

He said, She said... (Reported Speech)

Please don't misunderstand. Reported Speech doesn’t mean the language that we hear in the news on TV. It’s not the language for news reports. 

Reported Speech simply means repeating what somebody else said. You hear somebody say something and then you mention the information to another person.

This way:

After you hear it, you repeat it. 

The first step in using Reported Speech is simple and easy. We just add the expression He / She / They said… at the beginning of our sentence.

For example,

Direct Speech                           Reported Speech

1.       I’m hungry.” >>>>>>               He said he was hungry.

2.       I’m going home.” >>>>>>       He said he was going home. 

3.       It’s hot.” >>>>>>>                  He said it was hot.

4.       I should join.” >>>>>>           He said he should join.*

5.       I will call him.” >>>>>>          He said he would call him.

*not "He should have" 

To use Reported Speech, you must change 2 things:

(1)    Pronouns, and

(2)    Tense

Reminder: As you can see from our examples, we use Reported Speech in our everyday lives. But the original, unchanged style -- the style that students use because it feels easy and natural: 

Ex. He said: “I’m hungry.”

This style which doesn’t change the Pronouns or the Tense -- this is used only in storybooks and not in real life. This is wrong

As a matter of fact, non-native speakers sound like children when they speak this way.

And you don’t want to sound like a child, do you?

I know that sometimes making sentences in Reported Speech gets really complicated and confusing, especially if you’re talking about 3 different people.

Take a look:

Tatsu:“Erico is looking for Moto.” 

              >>> Tatsu said she was looking for him. (Moto) 

Moto: “Erico is looking for me.”                                        

             >>> Moto said she was looking for him. (Moto)

Tatsu: “You can talk to them.” 

             >>> Tatsu said I could talk to them.

Moto: “Erico will talk to me.”                                      

             >>> Moto said she would talk to him. (Moto)

Tatsu: “Erico wants to talk to you.”      

      >>> Tatsu said she wanted to talk to me. (the speaker)

Try not to get confused. It takes some practice to get used to it. 


Finally, if the original Verb in the Direct Speech is already in the past, you have two choices:

(A)     Keep the past Verb

(B)      Change to Had PP


Tatsu: "I went there yesterday."     

             >>> He said he went there yesterday.

-- or –

Tatsu: "I went there yesterday."                                                               

             >>> He said he had gone there yesterday.

Either of them is Ok.


For special cases that don’t follow the rule, you can download the free audio file discussing the same topic.

Just go to iTunes > Podcasts > Cool Elf

If you don’t have iTunes, please get the audio file here:

Hope you learned something! 

Keep on learning !

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