Reported speech

Changing time and place in reported speech

Time and place must often change when going from direct to reported speech (indirect speech).


Phrase in direct speech Equivalent in reported speech
today that day
"I saw him today", she said. She said that she had seen him that day.
yesterday the day before
"I saw him yesterday", she said. She said that she had seen him the day before.
The day before yesterday two days before
"I met her the day before yesterday", he said. He said that he had met her two days before.
Tomorrow the next/following day
"I'll see you tomorrow", he said He said that he would see me the next day.
The day after tomorrow in two days time/ two days later
"We'll come the day after tomorrow", they said. They said that they would come in two days time/ two days later.
Next week/month/year the following week/month/year
"I have an appointment next week", she said. She said that she had an appointment the following week.
Last week/month/year the previous/week/month/year
"I was on holiday last week", he told us. He told us that he had been on holiday the previous week.
ago before
"I saw her a week ago," he said. He said he had seen her a week before.
this (for time) that
"I'm getting a new car this week", she said. She said she was getting a new car that week.
this/that (adjectives) the
"Do you like this shirt?" he asked He asked if I liked the shirt.
here there
He said, "I live here". He told me he lived there.

In general, personal pronouns change to the third person singular or plural, except when the speaker reports his own words:
I/me/my/mine, you/your/yours = him/his/her/hers
we/us/our/ours, you/your/yours = they/their/theirs

He said: "I like your new car." = He told her that he liked her new car.
I said: "I'm going to my friend's house." = I said that I was going to my friend's house.


If we are in the same place when we report something, then we do not need to make any changes to place words. But if we are in a different place when we report something, then we need to change the place words. Look at these example sentences:

  • He said: "It is cold in here." → He said that it was cold in there.
  • He said: "How much is this book?" → He asked how much the bookwas.

Here are some common place words, showing how you change them for reported speech:

direct speech indirect speech
here there, in Starbucks
this that
this book the book, that book, War and Peace
in this room in the room, in that room, in the kitchen
Tense changes in reported speech (Prev Lesson)
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