Reported Speech

to report (verb): to tell somebody what you have heard or seen

If we want to say what somebody has said, we basically have two options:

  1. We can use the person's exact words - in quotation marks "..." if we are writing (direct speech).
  2. We can change the person's words into our own words (reported speech).
direct speech
(exact words)
reported speech
(my words)
He said: "I love you." He said that he loved me.
Reported speech is not really difficult. It is more a matter of logic and common sense. You probably have the same concept in your own language, where you use your own words to say what somebody has said or written.

In this lesson we learn about reported speech, the structure that we use when we report what another person has said, and reported speech rules.

Now we will look at:

Reported speech is called "indirect speech" by some people. Other people regard reported speech simply as one form of indirect speech. Other forms are, for example:

  • questions-within-questions: Can you tell me if they are expensive?
  • mental processes: He believes that politics is a dirty game.