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There is no change in verb tenses in Reported speech when:

Direct speech Reported speech


1. the sentence expresses a My mother said, It gets dark My mother said that it gets
general truth or permanent earlier in the winter dark earlier in the winter
states and conditions
2. the introductory verb is in She says/ will say/ has said, She says/ will say/ has said
the Present, future, or Present I can cook well that she can cook well.
Perfect tense
3. the verb of the sentence is He said, If I had time, I He said that he would help
in the Unreal past (eg. 2nd or would help you me if he had time.
3rd type conditionals)
4. the following verbs are He said, They should try a He said that they should try
used: had beter, could, would, little harder. a little harder.
used to,should, might and
ought to, mustnt
5. Past Simple changes to He said, She came round to He said that she had come/
Past Perfect or or remains the my house while I was doing came round to his house
same. When the reported my shopping. while he was doing his
sentence contains a time shopping.
clause, the tenses of the time
clause remain unchanged.
The sentence expresses He said, Ethiopia is a third- He said that Ethiopia is/ was
something which is believed world country. (true) a third-world country
to be true. In this case the
verb tense can either change
or remain unchanged. He said, Ethiopia is a highly He said that Ethiopia was a
However, if the sentence developed country (false) highly developed country.
expresses sth which is not
true, then the verb changes.

Can - could (present)


- would be able to (future)

Must - had to (obligation) He said, you must try harder


He said that I had to try harder
- would have to (future) He said, I must get my hair cut
He said that he would have to get his hair cut.
- must (possibility)

Will/ shall would

May might, could

Shall - should(asking for advice)


Would (asking for information)
Turn the following into reported speech

1. When I first came here, I had a hard time with the language, Susan said.

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2. I couldn believe my ears when I heard they split up, she said to him.

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3. Although I m afraid I must reject your offer, Paul said to Philip

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4. You mustnt ask such silly questions or you will find yourself in serious difficulties

one day, she said to me.

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5. Although I wont be able to let you know until tomorrow, I might be able to come, he

said to Sarah

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6. The assistant said, Shall I wrap this for you?

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7. Is he going to accept thejob offer?she asked

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8. She said, Be very careful with that knife. Its very sharp.

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9. We know you were involved in the robbery,the police said

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10. The teacher said, You mustnt make that mistake again.

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11. Sandra said, When shall I see him again?

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12. Ive heard her claim that she may give up her job and open a restaurant,she said

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13. I really must get going, Jane said to the family, or I might miss the train.

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14. Im the one who broke the window, she said.

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15. Im sorry that I didnt phone you yesterday, said Jane, but you see I had to take my

dog to the vets.

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