Change of speech

Video Lesson on Change of speech

The matter within inverted commas “………… “is called the Reported speech and the verb that introduces the reported speech and the verb that introduces the reported Speech is called Reporting verb. There are certain rules to change the narration.

  • (i) when reporting verb is in present or future tense, there will be no change of tense, for example:
    (a) Direct: He says, “ Ram is hungry.”
    Indirect: He says that Ram is hungry
    (b) Direct: He has told me, “Ram cannot move.”
    Indirect: He has told me that Ram cannot move.
  • (ii) If the reporting verb is in past tense, the tense of the reported speech must be changed as under:
    (b) Direct:1. Present Indefinite (write)
    Indirect:Past Indefinite (wrote)
    (b) Direct:2. Present Continuous (is writing)
    Indirect:Past continuous (was writing)
    (b) Direct:3. Present Perfect ( has written )
    Indirect:Past Perfect ( had written)
    (b) Direct:4.Present Perfect Continuous (has been writing)
    Indirect: Past Perfect Continuous(had been writing)
    (b) Direct:5. Past Indefinite (wrote)
    Indirect:Past Perfect (had written) (Had been writing)
    (b) Direct:6. Past Perfect ( had written )
    Indirect:No Change
    (b) Direct:7. Past Perfect Continuous ( had been writing)
    Indirect:No Change

(i)Direct: He said,” I write English”.
Indirect: He said that he wrote English.
(ii)Direct: He said, “The teacher is writing English”.
Indirect: He said that the teacher was writing English.

Note: If the reported speech relates to universal truth, habitual facts, proverbs, historical facts and improvable future conditions then the tense will not be changed, example:

(i) Direct: The teacher said, “God is omnipresent.”
Indirect: The teacher said that God is omnipresent.
(ii) Direct: The teacher said, “Had you worked hard , you would have passed”.
Indirect: The teacher said that if he had worked hard he would have passed.

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Topic Questions with Answers

2. Change of reporting verbs:

In assertive sentences the reporting verb ‘said to’ is changed into told only and ’said’ alone is not changed. In interrogative sentences the reporting verb ‘said to’ is changed into asked. In imperative sentences the reporting verb ‘said to’ is changed into ordered, requested, suggested, begged, proposed forbade etc. according to the sense of the sentence.


(a) Rakshit said to his friend, “Where are you going?” Rakshit asked his friend where he was going.
(b) The headmaster said to the peon, “Give me a glass of water.” The headmaster ordered the peon to give him a glass of water.

3. Change of Pronoun:

The pronouns in the reported speech are changed as: First person according to Subject
Second Person according to object
Third Person will not be changed.

4. Change of words expressing nearness:

In the reported speech when the present tense is changed into the past then we changed the following words as This ­à That, here à there, these à those, now à then, today à that day, yesterday à the previous day, tomorrow à the next day, ago à before, come à go.

5. (i) Assertive Sentence:

The conjunction ‘that’ is used.
(ii) In interrogative sentences: When the question starts with Auxiliary verbs such as do / does/ did/ has / have/ had/ is /am/ are/ will/ shall/ can/could/ may/might/ would/ should etc. ‘If or ‘Whether is used. If the question starts with interrogative pronouns or Adverb such as who, whose, whom, which/ what/ why/ when/ where, no other conjunction with interrogative pronoun is used.

(1)Direct: He said to me, “When did you finish ‘your lesson?’
Indirect: He asked me when I had finished my lesson.

(ii) In the imperative sentences: Infinite ( To + V) is used. ‘Ordered, requested, begged, advised, commanded are used in place of ‘said to’
1. He said to Mohan,” Get away”.(Direct)
He ordered Mohan to get away. (Indirect)

6. In exclamatory sentences, ‘said to’ is changed according to the expression of the sentences.

Words expression:
Beware/ careful changed into (Warned)
Alas changed into (Exclaimed with sorrow)
Hurrah changed into (Exclaimed with joy)
Phew changed into (Exclaimed with surprised or relief)
May God / long live changed into (Wished)

For example:
1. He said to me, “Hurray! I have passed the examination.”
He exclaimed with Joy that he had passed the examination.
2. She said,” Ugh! You have spoilt the game”.
She exclaimed with disgust that she had spoilt the game

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