Reported speech and the formal sequence of tenses ın noun clauses

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The changes...

Direct speech Reported speech

Simple present tense Past simple tense
Present continuous tense Past continuous tense
Past simle tense Past perfect tense
Past continuous tense Past perfect continuous tense
Present perfect tense Past perfect tense
Present perfect continuous tense Past perfect continuous tense

When we use reported speech, we are usually talking about the past.So verbs change to the past in reported speech . For example:

Am/is Þ was are Þ were have/has Þ had will Þ would

Was/were Þ had been can Þ could may Þ might shall Þ should

must Þ had to mustn’t Þ wasn’t/weren’t had to needn’t Þ didn’t need to

Would Þ would Could Þ could

Do/want/know etc. Þ did/wanted/knew etc.

Today Þ that day
Yesterday Þ the day before / the previous day
Tomarrow Þ the day after / the next day
Last month Þ te previous month
A week ago Þ a week before
Now Þ then
At the moment Þ at that moment
This Þ that
These Þ those
Here Þ there

Reported speech refers to using a naun clause to report what someone has said. No quotation marks are used. Notice the changes in the verb forms from quoted speech to reported speech in the following examples.


(a) She said,“ I watch TV every day” She said (that) she watched TV every day.
(b) She said,“ I am watching TV” She said she was watching TV.
(c) She said,“ I have watched TV” She said she had watched TV.
(d) She said,“ I watched TV” She said she had watched TV
(e) She said,“ I will watch TV” She said she would watched TV.
(f) She said,“ I am going to watched TV” She said she was going to watched TV.
(g) She said,“ I can watch TV” She said she could watch TV.
(h) She said,“ I may watch TV” She said she might watch TV.
(i) She said,“ I might watch TV” She said she might watch TV.
(j) She said,“ I must watch TV” She said she had to watch TV.
(k) She said,“ I have to watch TV” She said she had to watch TV.
(l) She said,” I should watched TV” She said she should watch TV.
(m) She said,” I ought to watch TV” She said she ought to watch TV.
(n) She said,” Watch TV” She told me to watch TV.
(o) She said,“ Do you watch TV?” She asked (me) if I watched TV.


(1) If the reporting verbs (the main verb of the sentences , e.g ., said) is in the past, the verb in the noun clause will usually also be in a past form.

(2) This formal sequence of tenses in noun clauses is used in both speaking and writing.Hoeever, sometimes in spoken English , no change is made in the noun clause verb, especially if the speaker is reporting something immediately or soon after it was said.
Immediate rsporting: A: What did the teacher just say? I didn’t hear him.
B: He said he wants us to read Chapter six.

Later reporting: A: I didn’t go to class yesterday. Did Mr. Jones make any assignments?

B: Yes. He said he wanted us to read Chapter six.

(3) Also, sometimes the present tense is retained even in formal English when the reported sentensces deals with a general truth: She said that the world is round.

(4) When the reporting verb is simple present, present perfect , or future , the noun clause verb is not changed.

She says, “ I wached TV every day.” She says she watches TV everyday.

She has said, “ I watched TV every day.” She has said that she watches TV
every day
She will say, “ I watch TV every day.” She will say that she watches TV
every day

(DIRECT SPEECH)(REPORTED SPEECH) (S)he said that he was singing

Study these examples. You met Tom. Here are some things he said to you.

(Direct speech) (Reported speech)

.“My parent are very well.” He said (that) his parents were very well.
.“Ann has bought a new car.” He said (that) Ann had bought a new car.
.“I’m going to give up my job.” He said (that) he was ging to give up his job.
.“I can’t come to the party.” He said (that) he couldn’t come to the party.
.“I want to go to on holiday but He said (that) he wanted to go on holiday but he
I don’t know where to go.” didn’t know where to go
. “I’m going away for a few days. He said (that) he was going to away for a few
I’ll phone you when I get back. days and would phone me when he got back

The past simple (I did) can usually stay the same in reported speech, or you can change it to the past perfect (I had done): did Þ did or had done

Direct Tom said “I woke up feeling ill and so I stayed in bed
Reported Tom said (that) he woke (or had woken) up feeling ill and so he stayed (or had stayed) in bed.

Yesterday you met a friend of yours, Charlie.Charlie told you a lot of things.Here are some of the things he said to you.

1) I’m thinking of going to live in Canada.
2) My father is in hospital.
3) Nora and jim are getting married next month.
4) I haven’t seen Bill for a while.
5) I have been playing tennis a lot recently.
6) Margaret has had a baby.
7) I don’t know what Fred is doing..
8) I hardly ever go out these days.
9) I work 14 hours a day.
10) I’ll tell Jim I say you.
11) You can come and stay with me if you are ever in London
12) Tom had an accident last week but he wasn’t injured.
13) I saw Jack at a party a few months ago and he seemed fine.

Later that day you tell another friend what Charlie said. Useing reported speech.

1) Charlie said that he was thinking of going to live in Canada.
2) Charlie said that His father was in horpital.
3) Charlie said that Nora and Jim were getting married the following month.
4) Charlie said that he hadn’t seen Bill for a while.
5) Charlie said that he had been playing tennis a lot recently.
6) Charlie said that Margaret had had a baby.
7) Charlie said that he didn’t know what Fred was doing.
8) Charlie said that he hardly ever went out these days.
9) Charlie said that he worked 14 hours a day
10) Charlie said that he would tell Jim he saw me.
11) Charlie said that I could come and stay with him if I were ever in London.
12) Charlie said that Tom had had an accident the previous week but he hadn’t injured
13) Charlie said that he had seen Jack at a party a few months before and he had seemsd fine.


Introductory verbs Dırect Speech Reported Speech

1)Agree + infinitive “Yes, I will come you.” -He agreed to come withme.
2)Demand + to V1 “Tell me every thing” -He demanded to be told everything(passive)
3)Offer + to V1 “Would you like me to carry it” -He offered me to carry
4)Promise + to +V1 “I’ll study more” -He promised to study more.
5)Refuse + V1 “No, I won’t come with you” -He refused to come with me.
6)Threathen+to+v1 “Behave yourself or I’ll punish you” -He threatened to punish me if didn’t
behave my self
7)Allow +sb+ to+V1 “You can use my phone” -He allowed me to use his phone.
8)Advise +sb+to+V1 “You should take a coat” -He advised me to take a coat.
9)Beg+sb+to+V1 “Please,please help me” -He begged me to help him.
10)Command+sb+to+V1 “Fire” -He commanded the soliders to fire.
11)Encourage+sb+to+V1 “Go ahead,phone her” -He encouraged me to phone her.
12)Forbid+sb+to+V1 “You mustn’t eat sweets -He forbade me to eat sweets.
13)Instruct+sb+to+V1 “Insert your card & wait for the machine to open. –He instructed me to
insert card & wait for the machine to open.
14)Invite+sb+to+V1 “Would you come to my house.” –He invited me to go to his house.
15)Order+sb+to+V1 “Sit down immediately” -He ordered me to sit down immediately.
16)Permit+sb+to+V1 “You may speak now” -He permitted me to speak.
17)Remind+sb+to+V1 “Don’t forget to pay the bill.” -He reminded me to pay the bill.
18)Want+sb+to+V1 “I would like\want you go out” -He wanted me to go out.
19)Warn+sb+to+V1 “Don’t touch that swith” -He warned me not to touch that swith.
20)Acuuse+sb+of+Ving “You broke the vase” -He accused me of breaking the vase.
21)Apologise for + Ving “I’m sorry.I upset you “ -He aapologised for upsetting me.
22)Admit (to) Ving “Yes.I lied her. -He admitted (to) lying her
23)Boast about + Ving “I am beter than you” -He boasted about being better than me.
24)complain+to+sb+about+Ving “You never tidy up.” -He complained to me about my never
tidying up.
25)Insist on+Ving “You must come to our party.” –He insisted on my coming to the party.
26)Suggest+Ving “Let’s go to the theatre” -He suggested going to the theatre.
27)Agree that clause “Yes.that is a beautiful hat”. -He agreed that it was a beatiful hat.
28)Boasted that clause “I am a brilliant dentist” -He boasted that he was a brillant dentist.
29)Complain that clause “you never lisen to me” -He complained that he never lisened him.
30)Deny that clause “I’ve never spoken to her” -He denyed that he had never spoken to her.
31)Explain that clause “It is an east recipe to follow. –He explained that it was an easy
recipe to follow.
32)Inform sb +that clause “You will be called for the interview” –He informed me that I would be
called for the interview
33)Promise that clause “I won’t lie to him again” -He wouldn’t lie him again.
34)Suggest that clause “You ought to\should take the other road.-He suggest that he should take the
other road.
35)Explain+to+sb+how “This is how you make it.” -She explained to me how to make it.

Wh... and yes/no questIons
Example 1: where is your friend?
He asked me where my friend was.

1)What time is it?
He asked me what time it was.

2)What is your name?
He asked me what my name was.

3)Can you speak Arabic?
He asked me if I could speak Arabic.

4)Have you met my brother?
He asked me if I had met his brother.

5)Where are you living?
He asked me where I was living.

6)Will you be here tomorrow?
He asked me if I would be there the following day.

7)What kind of camera do you have?
He asked me what kind a camera I had.

8)How tall are you?
He asked me how tall I was.

9)What courses are you taking?
He asked me what courses I was taking.

10)Do you feel OK?
He asked me if I felt OK.

11)Have you read any good books lately?
He asked me if I had read any good books lately.

12)How do you like living here?
He asked me how I liked living there.

13)Did you finish your assingment?
He asked me if I had finished me assingment.

14)What are you doing?
He asked me what I was doing.

15)Whose briefcase is that?
He asked me whose briefcase that was.

16)May I borrow your dictionary?
He asked me if he might borrow my dictionary.

17)Where will you be tomorrow around three o’clock
He asked me where I would be the following day around three o’clock.

18)Did you go to class yesterday?
He asked me if I had gone to class the day before.,

19)What are you going to do during vacation?
He asked me what I was going to do during vacation.

20)What is the capital city of your country?
He asked me what the capital city of our country was.

21)Did you go to a party last night?
He asked me if I had gone to a party the previous night.

22)How many people have you met in the last couple of month?
He asked me how many people I had met in the previous couple of months.

23)Can I use your pen?
He asked me if he could use my pen.

24)Where should I meet you after class?
He asked me where he should meet me after class.

25)Do you understand what I am saying?
He asked me if I understood what he was saying.

26)What country are you from?
He asked me what country I was fromç

27)Is what you said really true?
He asked me if what I said was really true.

28)How do you know that is true?
He asked me how I knew that I was true.

29)Who do you think will win the game.
He asked me who I thought would win the game.

30)Is what you want to talk to me about important.
He asked me if what I wanted to talk to him was about important.


1)Bob said,”I will help you”.
Bob said (that) he would help me.

2)”Do you need a pen?” Annie asked.
Annie asked me if I needed a pen.

3)Jennifer asked,“What do you want?
Jennifer asked me what I wanted.

4)Sid asked,”Are you hungry”
sid wanted to know if I was hungry.

5)”I want a sandwich” Jannifer said
Jannifer said she wanted a sandwich.

6)”I am going to move to Ohio” said Tom.
Tom informed me he was going to move to Ohio.

7)”Did you enjoy your trip” asked george.
George asked me if I had enjoyed my trip

8)Mike asked, “What are you tallking about?
Mike asked me what I was talking about.

9)Adam asked,” Have you seen my grammar book?”
Adam wanted to know if I had seen his grammar book.

10)Susan said,” I don’t want to go”.
Susan said she didn’t want to go.

11)Sam asked,” Where is Amanda
sam wanted to know where Amanda was.

12)”Can you come to my party?”asked David
David asked me to come to his party

13)”I may be late”, said Mike
Mike told me he might be late.

14)Felix said,”You should study harder”.
Felix told me I should study harder.

15)Barbara said,”I have to go downtown”.
Barbara said she had to go downtown.

16)”Why is sky blue?” my young doughter often asks
my young doughter often asks me why the sky is blue.,

17)My mother asks “Why are you tired.
My maother wondered why I was tired.

18)”I will come to the meeting,” said Juan.
Juan told me she would come to the meeting.

19)Ms Adams just asked,” Will you be in class tomorrow?”
Ms Adam s wants to know if I would be in class in following day.

20)”The son rises in the east”said MRS Clark
Mr Clark explained to his students the son rised in the east.


1)”Have you ever met Ms. Powell?”
Mr Peterson asked me İf I had ever met Ms. Powell.

2)”I am going to postpone the examination.”
Proffesor Williams announced he was going to postpone the examination.

3)”Someday we’ll be in contact with beings from outer space.”
The scientists predicted someday they would be contact with beings from outer space.

4)”I think I’ll go to the library to study.”
Joe said he thought he would go to the library to study.

5)”Is there anything I can do to help?”
Sally wanted to know if there was anything she could do to help.

6)”Does Jim know what he‘s doing?”
I wondered if Jim knew what she was doing.

7)”Is what I‘ve heard true?”
I wondered if what I had heard true.

8)”Is what I wrote correct?”
Maria wanted to know if what I had written correct.