Learn details of English Grammar on Direct and Indirect Speech Tense Changes.
Tense Changes in Reported Speech
- Present Simple -> Past Simple
“I want to watch a film”.
-> He said (that) he wanted to watch a film.
- Present Continuous -> Past Continuous
“Jane is sleeping.”
-> He said (that) Jane was sleeping.
- Past Simple -> Past Perfect
Alex said, “I finished my homework.”
-> Alex said he had finished his homework.
- Past Continuous -> Past Perfect Continuous
“I was sleeping at that time.”
-> She said that she had been sleeping at that time.
- Present Perfect -> Past Perfect
“I have eaten already.”
-> She said that she had eaten already.
- Will -> Would
She said, “I will always love Tom.”
-> She said that she would always love Tom.
- Can -> Could
Tom said, “I can carry 50kg.”
-> Tom said he could carry 50kg.
- Must -> Had to
“Everybody must obey the rules.”
-> She said everybody had to obey the rules.
- Have to -> Had to
She said, “I have to go home.”
-> She said she had to go home.
Sometimes there are no tense changes in indirect speech if:
– When the reporting verb is in the present
Eg: Martha says she is arriving around ten.
– When the reported verb is in the past, but the reported words are “always true”
Eg: Harry told me he still likes you.
– When the message is being repeated immediately after it was said
Eg: Laura said she’s too busy to come.
Tense Changes in Reported Speech | Image