Reported speech is used to repeat what someone has previously said or thought. On this page, you’ll find a quiz and explanations to help you learn what’s involved in using reported speech when talking or writing.
Look at this example. Make a note of the differences between the direct speech (what Mathilde actually said) and how Jin Woo reports what she said in an email to a colleague:
Mathilde: We expanded rapidly last year.
Jin Woo: Mathilde said that they had expanded rapidly last year.
Click here to see the differences needed when producing reported speech:
The differences are:
- In direct speech, we write the exact words someone used between inverted commas (” … “).
- When reporting what someone said we use a reporting verb (e.g. ‘say’, ‘explained’, ’emphasised’).
- If we use a reporting verb in the past tense, the verb shifts one tense back (e.g. from ‘expanded’ to ‘had expanded’).
- When reporting what someone said, we may also need to change the personal pronouns used (e.g. from ‘we’ to ‘they’).
Reported speech quiz
In the quiz below, you can practise making some of the changes needed. As you’ll be using a variety of verb tenses, before you start, you might like to refresh your memory of the range of verb tenses used in English.
This slideshow shows some of the basic verb tense changes needed to produce correct reported speech. Can you fill the gaps in the table before they are revealed? Watch the video in ‘Fullscreen’ to make viewing easier.
Now try the reported speech quiz
- Complete the reported speech versions of the sentences.
- Use the past simple tense for the reporting verbs and use the verb tense indicated to complete each sentence.
Use these links to help you with this important area of English grammar.
- Table of English Tenses
This quick reference chart will help with the different verb tenses needed for the tense shift reported speech sometimes needs.
- Reported speech
This British Council tutorial provides further explanations and practice activities.
- Reporting verbs
This Cambridge Dictionary tutorial has explanations and a helpful list of reporting verbs.
If you enjoy working offline with a book, Business Grammar Builder provides good explanations, exercises and tests for this and a wide range of other B2 level grammar points. You can view the book on Amazon by clicking on this image below: