DIRECT AND REPORTED SPEECH
You can answer the question "What did he/she say?" in two ways:
by repeating the words spoken (direct speech)
by reporting the words spoken (indirect or reported speech).
Direct speech repeats, or quotes, the exact words spoken. When we use direct speech in writing, we place the words spoken between inverted commas ("...."
and there is no change in these words. We may be reporting something that's being said NOW (for example a telephone conversation), or telling someone later about a previous conversation
She says "What time will you be home?"
She said "What time will you be home?"
and I said "I don't know! "
"There's a fly in my soup!" screamed Simone.
John said, "There's an elephant outside the window."
Reported speech is usually used to talk about the past, so we normally change the tense of the words spoken. We use reporting verbs like 'say', 'tell', 'ask', and we may use the word 'that' to introduce the reported words. Inverted commas are not used.
She said, "I saw him." She said that she had seen him.
'That' may be omitted:
She told him that she was happy.
She told him she was happy.
'Say' and 'tell':
Use 'say' when there is no indirect object:
He said that he was tired.
Always use 'tell' when you say who was being spoken to (i.e. with an indirect object):
He told me that he was tired.
'Talk' and 'speak' are used:
- to describe the action of communicating:
He talked to us.
She was speaking on the telephone.
- with 'about' to refer to what was said:
He talked (to us) about his parents.
CHANGE OF TIME AND PLACE REFERENCE
Time/place references are also changed in reported speech
"I will see you here tomorrow", she said. She said that she would see me there the next day.
The most common of these changes are shown below:
"I saw him today", she said.
She said that she had seen him that day.
the day before
"I saw him yesterday", she said.
She said that she had seen him the day before.
The day before yesterday
two days before
"I met her the day before yesterday", he said.
He said that he had met her two days before.
the next/following day
"I'll see you tomorrow", he said
He said that he would see me the next day.
The day after tomorrow
in two days time/ two days later
"We'll come the day after tomorrow", they said.
They said that they would come in two days time/ two days later.
the following week/month/year
"I have an appointment next week", she said.
She said that she had an appointment the following week.
"I was on holiday last week", he told us.
He told us that he had been on holiday the previous week.
"I saw her a week ago," he said.
He said he had seen her a week before.
this (for time)
"I'm getting a new car this week", she said.
She said she was getting a new car that week.
"Do you like this shirt?" he asked
He asked if I liked the shirt.
He said, "I live here".
He told me he lived there.
In general, personal pronouns change to the third person singular or plural, except when the speaker reports his own words:
I/me/my/mine, you/your/yours him/his/her/hers
we/us/our/ours, you/your/yours they/their/theirs:
He said: "I like your new car." He told her that he liked her new car.
I said: "I'm going to my friend's house." I said that I was going to my friend's house.