What is reported speech?

Learning Oct 05, 2023

Understanding what reported speech is and how to correctly use it will take your language skills to the next level!

So, what is reported speech? Reported speech is how you talk about what others say or write. You are reporting what someone said.

But! There is a trick to it. Some words need to be changed to ensure that what you are saying makes sense.

Reported speech examples in 10 movies

 Watch the different movie scenes, listen to what they say.

What are the different types of reported speech?

Reported speech has main types, direct and indirect speech.

  • Direct speech is when you want to quote and use the exact words someone said.  

          For example, “He said, ‘I’m leaving!” 

          Here you can see that the person is quoting the direct words of what someone said without adding or subtracting anything.

  • Indirect speech on the other hand is when you want to repeat what someone said without repeating their direct words

          For example, instead of saying, “He said, ‘I’m leaving!”, you might say, “He said that he is leaving

          In this example, you will notice that the “I’m” was replaced with “he”. Changing the “I’m” with “he” helps to inform someone that these are not their direct words but rather a retelling of what someone said in your own words.

It is also interesting to note that indirect speech is the most commonly used reported speech because it is an easy way to share information without using someone's direct words. 

Direct speech can be handy to use but then you need to be sure to quote exactly what someone said.

How do you use reported speech?

We already know what reported speech is, and now we need to learn how to correctly use it when talking to others. 

Instead of repeating the exact same words the person said, we need to change them a bit.

For example, if your sisters said, “I love summer”, you will shift the tense and some words to fit the new sentence. You will then tell a friend that, “My sister said she loves summer”

Notice how the tense of “love” has shifted to the past. We need to know how to effectively use reported speech to ensure that when we communicate it is clear and others can understand what you are telling them.

Learning how to correctly use reported speech will not only improve your language skills, but it will also improve your communication and storytelling skills

Practice your reported speech by telling your friends a story in direct and indirect speech. You will soon notice a big improvement!

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