James said, “I am watching TV.”
Answer: James said that
he was watching TV.
Explanation: The only
verb that changes here is the verb am.
The past tense of am is was.
Notice also that I becomes he which is the
appropriate pronoun referring to James.
Lastly, the that is always optional in reported speech.
You may use that that if you want to, but it is not necessary.
Professor Jones said, “I worked all day!”
Answer: Professor Jones
said he had worked all day.
Explanation: The word
worked is already in the past.
Therefore, you must put the word in the past
which is called the past perfect (in English grammar, the word
perfect means past). The past
(or past perfect) of worked is
The president said, “I will be visiting Italy in December.”
Answer: The president
said that he would be visiting Italy in December.
sentence has a modal—the word will.
Will is the word that changes: the past tense of will is
Note: Some modals don’t change at all while other modals
completely change. See below.
The weatherman announced, “It may rain today.”
Answer: The weatherman
announced that it might rain.
this sentence has a modal—may.
May is a modal that completely changes.
May becomes might.
My father screamed, “I have to go to the airport, now!”
Answer: My father
screamed that he had to go to the airport.
Explanation: The verb
here is have which becomes had.
Notice that you can use words other than said, but NOT all
words can be used with reported speech.
To learn other words
for say, click here.
Then my mother said, “I must take your father.”
Answer: Then my mother
said she had to take my father.
Explanation: There is
another modal in this sentence which is must.
Since must does NOT have a past tense, just change
must to had to. Notice
how your appropriately changes to my to make the sentence
logically correct. Your
changes to my because the son or daughter is obviously talking
about his or her father.
The psychologist said, “You should calm down.”
psychologist said that I should calm down.
Should has no past tense and does NOT change.
I responded, “I ought to leave the office.”
Answer: I responded
that I ought to leave the office.
Ought to means should.
Ought to does NOT change.
Mark said, “I love visiting China and Korea.”
Answer: Mark said he
loved visiting China and Korea.
Explanation: The verb
love simply is put in the simple past tense which is loved.
Martin said, “I can be a great president! Really!”
said that he could be a great president.
is a modal. The
past tense of can is could.
Use the word could. Notice
that the quoted speech has the word really at the end.
In the reported speech it is not there.
Reported speech is NOT exactly what the speaker says but rather
a summary or paraphrase.
“Close the windows”
told me to close the windows
the above quote is a command, said is changed to told and
the verb is put in the infinitive (close is changed to to
Bobby will say,
“I have already done my homework.”
Bobby will say
that he has already done his homework.”
this sentence used will say (not just say or said),
the verb tense in this quote, which is the
present perfect, does not change.