Reported Speech

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Jack Scholes


When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of an old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

Winston Churchill

Indirect or reported speech

When we are reporting what somebody said, we usually use different tenses of the verb from the original speaker. After reporting verbs in the past, some typical tense changes are as follows:

1. Simple present > simple past

  • I like going to the movies.
  • Reported speech: She said she liked going to the movies.

2. Present progressive > past progressive

  • My English is getting better.
  • Reported speech: She thought her English was getting better.

3. Present perfect > past perfect

  • The dog has eaten my homework.
  • Reported speech: He told me that the dog had eaten his homework.

4. Past > past perfect

  • Marco studied in the US.
  • Reported speech: I found out that Marco had studied in the US.

5. Will > would

  • It will not be easy.
  • Reported speech: She knew it would not be easy.

6. Can > could

  • I can speak Russian.
  • Reported speech: He said he could speak Russian.

7. May > might

  • We may decide not to go.
  • Reported speech: They said they might decide not to go.

8. Past perfect tenses do not change

  • I arrived late for the meeting and she had already left.
  • Reported speech: He said that he had arrived late for the meeting and she had already left.

Referência: “Gems of Wisdom – Inspirational Messages to Enhance the Quality of Your Life and Improve Your English” de Jack Scholes – Disal Editora, 2007. Leia a resenha. Adquira seu exemplar na Disal ou no Submarino.

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Ulisses Wehby de Carvalho
Ulisses Wehby de Carvalho
5 anos atrás

Roberto, como vai?

Muito obrigado pelo feedback. Espero que você tenha sucesso na prova. A gente se fala…


Carla Cristina
Carla Cristina
8 anos atrás

Tenho uma dúvida quanto ao Reported Speech: não sei quando usar o “that” por exemplo: He said he could speak Russian ou He said that he coul speak Russian.

Tem uma regra pra isso?