Reported Speech: Definition, Rules, Usage with Examples, Tips, Exercises for Students

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Reported Speech

Reported Speech: Reported Speech or also known as indirect speech, is typically used to convey what has been said by someone at a particular point of time. However, owing to the nuances of the systems involved, English grammar may be a complicated language to learn and understand. But once you get hold of the grammar fundamentals, you can be a pro. It’s these fundamentals that will help you create a solid base. The rest of the journey becomes much easier once you get a good grip on the english grammar for competitive exams. So, today, we’re going to talk about one of those basics that is an important part of English grammar, i.e., Reported Speech with multiple definition, usage with examples and numerous practise exercicses.

What is Reported Speech?

When we use the exact words spoken by someone, it is known as Direct Speech or Reported Speech. Reporting speech is a way to effectivley communication something that has been spoken, usually in the past, by the speaker. It is also possible to describe it from the speaker’s perspective from the third person. Since you are only communicating the message and are not repeating the speaker’s exact words, you do not need to use quotation marks while using this type of speaking.

For example: Rita said to Seema, “I am going to bake a cake

Here we are using the exact words spoken by Rita, however, reported or Indirect speech is used when we are reporting something said by someone else but we do not use the exact words. So, we use this form of speech to talk about the past. For example:

Rita told Seema that she was going to bake a cake

In this case, we haven’t used the exact words of Rita but conveyed her message.

Difference Between Reporting Clause and Reported Speech

The words that come before the inverted commas are known as the reporting clause, in the example given above, the reporting clause will be – Rita said to Seema, where ‘said’ is the verb and is known as the reporting clause/verb. The words written within the inverted commas are known as the Reported speech, in the above example, the reported speech is “I am going to bake a cake”.

Also Read: 55+ Phrases with Meaning to Boost Your Vocabulary

Definition of Reported Speech

Here are some common definitions of reported speech for your reference:

➡️ An Oxford Learner’s Dictionary definition of reported speech is “a report of what somebody has said that does not use their exact words.”

➡️ Reporter speech is described as “speech which tells you what someone said but does not use the person’s actual words” by the Collins Dictionary.

➡️ “The act of reporting something that was said, but not using the same words,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

➡️ Reported speech is defined as “the words that you use to report what someone else has said” by the Macmillan Dictionary.

Also Read: Adjective: Definition, Usage, Example, Forms, Types

Video Credits: Easy English

Reported Speech Rules

Now let us take a look at the rules for changing direct speech to indirect or reported speech –

➡️ First and foremost, we do not use inverted commas in reported speech which must be clear from the example given above.

➡️ We use conjunctions like ‘if’, and ‘whether’ after the reporting verb in reported speech

➡️ The reporting verb’s tense is never altered.

➡️ The verb of reporting varies according to sense: it can be told, inquired, asked, etc.

For example:
Direct: Mohan said to Sohan, “I am going to school”
Reported: Mohan told Sohan that he is going to school

Also Read: Useful Idioms for IELTS Exams That Will Boost Your Score

Rules for Modal Verbs

Modal words are used to show a sense of possibility, intent, necessity or ability. Some common examples of verbs can include should, can and must. These words are used to express hypothetical conditions. Check the table of contents below for rules with examples of modal verbs.

todayThat day
tomorrowThe next day
yesterdayThe previous day
last nightThe previous night

Also Read: Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises With Answers for Class 12

Rules for Pronouns

Listed below are some common rules followed in pronouns using reported speech:

✏️ We change the first-person pronouns (I, my, us, our, me, we) as per the subject of the reporting verb in the reported speech.
✏️ We change the second-person pronouns (you, your, yourself) as per the object of the reporting verb in the reported speech.
✏️ There is no change in the third-person pronouns.

Direct SpeechReported Speech
IHe, she
MeHim, her
MyHis, her
YouHe, she, they
YourHis, her, their
MineHis, hers
YouHim, her, them
YoursHis, hers, theirs

For example:

Direct: Rita said, “I like the book.”
Reported: Rita said that she likes the book.

Direct: Arun said to me, “Do you like to eat cakes?”
Reported: Arun asked me if I liked eating cakes.

Direct: Ravi said, “I enjoy fishing.”
Reported: Ravi said that he enjoys fishing.

Also Read: Reported Speech Interrogative: Rules, Examples & Exercise

Rules for Change in Tenses

Here are some common ruled used for change in tenses:

✏️ The tense of the reported speech is not changed if the reporting verb is in the present or the future tense.
✏️ If a historical fact, a universal reality or a habitual fact is conveyed in a direct speech. The indirect speech tense will not change.
✏️ If the reporting verb is in the past tense, then it will change the tense of the reported speech as follows:

Simple Present
Example: Sheela said, “I wash clothes.”
Simple Past
Example: Sheela said she washed clothes
Present Continuous
Example: Sheela said, “I am washing clothes.”
Past continuous
Examples: Sheela said that she was washing clothes.
Present Perfect
Example: Sheela said, “I have washed clothes.”
Past Perfect
Example: Sheela said that she has washed clothes.
Simple Past
Example: Sheela said, “I washed clothes.”
Past Perfect
Example: Sheela said that she has washed clothes.
Past Continuous
Example: Sheela said, “I was washing clothes.”
Past Perfect Continuous
Example: Sheela said she had been washing clothes.


Direct: Reema says, “I am going out.”
Reported: Reema says that she is going out.

Direct: Ramesh said, “Honesty is the best policy.”
Reported: Ramesh said that honesty is the best policy.

Direct: Vishnu said that, “India gained independence in 1947.”
Reported: Vishnu said that India gained independence in 1947.

Direct: Akshat will say, “I want a slice of cake.”
Reported: Akshat will say that he wants a slice of cake.

Direct: Reena said, “I am writing a novel.”
Reported: Reena said that she was writing a novel.

Direct: Ayushi said, “I was working on my project.”
Reported: Ayushi said that she had been working on her project.

Also Read: Exploring the Types of Reported Speech: A Complete Guide

Rules for Changing Statements into Reported Speech

Here are some common rules for changing statements into reported speech:

✏️ The “said to” reporting verb is changed to “told,” “replied,” “remarked,”
✏️ We do not change the object i.e., the reporting verb is not followed by an object.
✏️ We drop the inverted commas and use a conjunction to join the reporting clause and speech/
✏️ The laws are followed for the changing of pronouns, tenses, etc.


Direct: Ramu said, “I saw a lion in the forest.”
Indirect: Ramu said that he had seen a lion in the forest.

Direct: Satish said to me, “I am very happy here.”
Indirect: Satish told me that he was very happy there.

Direct: He said, “I can do this work.”
Indirect: He said that he could do that work.

50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences

Rules for Changing Interrogative Sentences into Reported Speech

Here are some common rules followed for changing interrogative sentences into reported speech:

✏️ The reporting verb “say” is transformed into “ask, inquire,”
✏️ By inserting the subject before the verb, the interrogative clause is converted into a declaration and the full stop is inserted at the end of the sentence.
✏️ The wh-word is repeated in the sentence if the interrogative sentence has a wh-word (who, where, where, how, why, etc). This works as a conjunction.
✏️ If the asking phrase is a yes-no answer style phrase (with auxiliary verbs are, were, were, do, did, have, shall, etc.), then if or whether is used as a conjunction.
✏️ In the reported speech, the auxiliaries do, did, does drop in a positive question.
✏️ The conjunction after the reporting clause is not used.


Direct: I said to him, “Where are you going?”
Indirect: Tasked him where he was going.

Direct: He said to me, “Will you go there?”
Indirect: He asked me if I would go there.

Direct: My friend said to Deepak, “Have you ever been to Agra?”
Indirect: My friend asked Deepak if he had ever been to Agra.

How to Change Sentences into Indirect Speech

Rules for Changing Commands and Requests into Indirect Speech

The reporting verb is changed into command, order, say, enable, submit, etc. in imperative sentences that have commands.

✏️ By positioning it before the verb, the imperative mood is converted into the infinitive mood. The auxiliary ‘do’ is dropped in the case of negative sentences, and ‘to’ is substituted after ‘not


Direct: She said to me, “Open the window.”
Indirect: She ordered me to open the window.

Direct: The captain said to the soldiers, “Attack the enemy.”
Indirect: The captain commanded the soldiers to attack the enemy.

Direct: I said to him, “Leave this place at once.”
Indirect: I told him to leave that place at once.

Also Read: Direct And Indirect Speech Questions

Tips to Practise Reported Speech

Indirect speech, sometimes referred to as reported speech, is used to communicate ideas without directly quoting another person. The following advice will help you become proficient in reported speech:

👉 Understand the Basics: Ensure you have a solid understanding of direct speech (quoting exact words) before moving on to reported speech.

👉 Identify Reporting Verbs: Recognize common reporting verbs such as “say,” “tell,” “ask,” “inform,” etc. These verbs are often used to introduce reported speech.

👉 Practice with Various Tenses: Work on reported speech with different tenses (present, past, future) to become comfortable with each.

👉 Use Reporting Words Appropriately: Experiment with different reporting words to convey the speaker’s attitude or emotion accurately. For example, “complain,” “admit,” “suggest.”

👉 Write Dialogues: Create dialogues and convert them into reported speech. This will help you practice both creating and transforming speech.

👉 Use Authentic Materials: Practice reported speech by reading books, articles, or watching videos. Try to convert the direct speech in these materials into reported speech.

Fun Exercises for Reported Speech with Answers

Here are a few exercises for reported speech along with answers:

Exercise 1

Change the following sentences from direct speech to reported speech.

  1. “I love watching movies,” she said.
    • Answer: She said that she loved watching movies.
  2. “Don’t forget to buy some milk on your way home,” he told me.
    • Answer: He told me not to forget to buy some milk on my way home.
  3. “I will visit my grandparents next weekend,” Peter said.
    • Answer: Peter said that he would visit his grandparents the following weekend.
  4. “I have finished my homework,” she announced.
    • Answer: She announced that she had finished her homework.
  5. “We are going to the beach tomorrow,” they exclaimed.
    • Answer: They exclaimed that they were going to the beach the next day.

Reported Speech Exercises For Class 9

Exercise 2

Combine the following sentences into reported speech.

  1. Mary said, “I am going to the store. I need some groceries.”
    • Answer: Mary said that she was going to the store because she needed some groceries.
  2. “It’s raining outside,” he remarked.
    • Answer: He remarked that it was raining outside.
  3. “I can’t attend the meeting,” she explained. “I have a doctor’s appointment.”
    • Answer: She explained that she couldn’t attend the meeting because she had a doctor’s appointment.
  4. “We will finish the project by Friday,” they assured us.
    • Answer: They assured us that they would finish the project by Friday.
  5. “I have never been to Paris,” he admitted.
    • Answer: He admitted that he had never been to Paris.

Exercise 3

Transform the sentences into reported speech.

  1. “Why are you late?” she asked.
    • Answer: She asked why I was late.
  2. “Please help me with this heavy box,” he requested.
    • Answer: He requested me to help him with that heavy box.
  3. “Could you pass me the salt?” she inquired.
    • Answer: She inquired if I could pass her the salt.
  4. “Don’t touch the paintings,” the guide said to the visitors.
    • Answer: The guide told the visitors not to touch the paintings.
  5. “I must finish this report today,” he said.
    • Answer: He said that he must finish that report that day.

Direct And Indirect Speech Questions: Comprehensive Guide with Examples

Direct and Indirect Speech Guide with ExercisesHow to Change Sentences into Indirect Speech
Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech ExercisesExamples of Direct and Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences
Direct and Indirect Speech Rules & ExamplesTypes of Reported Speech
Reported Speech Exercises For Class 9Reported Speech Interrogative: Rules, Examples & Exercise


What are some examples of reported speeches?

Reporting speech is the way we present our own or other people’s words. Direct speech and indirect speech are the two primary categories of reported speech. Direct communication restates the speaker’s precise words or their words as we recall them: “I didn’t realize it was midnight,” Barbara remarked.

Which four categories of reported speech exist?

The speech that is being reported may be declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, or imperative.

What is a reported speech format?

Quote marks are not used when putting the speaker’s words or ideas into a sentence in reported speech. Typically, noun clauses are employed. When reading a reported speech, the reader should not assume that the words are exactly what the speaker said; frequently, they are paraphrased.

What are the 4 types of reported speech?

The reported speech can be Assertive/Declarative, Imperative, Interrogative, and Exclamatory.

We hope that this blog helped you learn about the basics of Reported Speech. Planning for English proficiency exams like IELTS or TOEFL? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you through your exam preparation with the best guidance, study materials and online classes! Sign up for a free demo with us now!

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  1. i visited this website during my exams so it was really helpful..
    my dounts are cleared…
    Thanks alot to leverageedu..
    i will also suggest this website to my frnds..