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Reported Speech and Reporting Verbs

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Reported speech

Direct speech and reported speech are the two ways we can say what someone has said.

Directed speech: "I am your neighbour," said James.

Reported speech: James said that he was my neighbour.

Because we are talking about something that happened in the past, we use past tense verbs in reported speech: said not say; was not am.

Reporting verbs

In the sentence "James said that he was my neighbour", said is a reporting verb (was is a reported verb). There are other reporting verbs we can use depending on the statement. We can also use the verbs like told, offered and promised. Let's take a look at some examples.


"My brother is buying a car" said Anne (direct speech) becomes Anne told me (that) her brother was buying a car.

Use told + person + what was said. Don't use told with to: Anne told to me (that) her brother was buying a car is not correct.


Use offered + to + infinitive verb.

"I'll do the shopping for you", said Simon becomes Simon offered to do the shopping for us .


Use promise + to + infinitive verb

"I'll buy you lunch", said Mark becomes Mark promised to buy me lunch.

OR Promise + clause (change the tense of the verb):

Mark promised (that) he would buy me lunch.

Take a look at these other reporting verbs and choose the best one for each sentence. For extra practice, rewrite the sentences using reported speech.

Link: How to use reported speech

  • 1 - "I'll email you every day":

  • 2 - "You need an F-1 visa to study in America":

  • 3 - "Why don't we go for a walk?":

  • 4 - "The music is too loud. I can't sleep":

  • 5 - "Could you tell me where the bathroom is?":

  • 6 - "You can't come with me":

  • 7 - "Is this your car?":

  • 8 - "I'll be very careful":

  • 9 - "Let me help you with those bags":

  • 10 - "Water boils at 100 degrees":