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Direct vs. Reported Speech

Direct and reported speech are two different ways to say what someone else said.

In direct speech, we quote the exact words that a person said. We put quotation marks around their words and add a speech tag such as "he said" or "she asked" before or after the quote. For example:

"Are you free tonight?" she asked.
"I failed a test last week," she said.
He asked, "Have you seen any good movies lately?"

We can also use direct speech to say what someone is saying right now, as in: She says, "Hurry up."

Reported speech is another way of saying what someone said, but without quotation marks. Reported speech doesn't usually repeat the words exactly as the person said them. It typically changes the tense of the verbs. For example, if the speaker used a present tense verb, we change it to the past tense. If the speaker used a past tense verb, we change it to past perfect. We also change pronouns and time expressions.

See how the quotations given in direct speech above look in reported speech. Notice the changes in verb tense:

She asked if I was free that night.
She said she had failed an exam the week before.
He asked if I had seen any good movies lately.

Direct vs. Reported Speech Grammar Quiz

  1. He said Paul Nash beautiful pictures of war scenes.

  2. She asked, "Where from."

  3. Marie asked me if I of a good lunch spot.

  4. He told the truck driver that been everywhere.

  5. " in a risk-free trial of a timeshare off the coast of Guadalajara?" asked the saleswoman.

Go Super to see the answers! Go Super!

Direct vs. Reported Speech Lessons:

Zayn Malik

Bad Manners

The Expat Bubble

TV on the Radio

Off My Chest

Star Trek

Where the Wild Things Are


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really helpful article abour direct and reported speaches. thanks

03:23 AM Mar 21 2016 |



Your blogs plus all additional text is so entertaining also helpful It composes me befall posterior encore

04:16 PM Jul 06 2014 |



She said, “I want to buy a new dress.”

She said she wanted to buy a new dress.

08:40 AM Jun 23 2014 |



she asked me that where i had gone.

09:33 AM Jun 18 2013 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

HI, thank U so much Ebaby is wonderful & the best way to learning english…


09:11 AM Dec 05 2012 |

1 person likes this

abu reema

Saudi Arabia

very useful. thanks

07:46 AM May 15 2012 |

sergio duran


“Are you free tonight?”  I asked and said :)

08:49 AM May 13 2012 |

Nicte ha

Nicte ha


I wonder if this is ok Undecided

08:25 PM Jan 26 2012 |



>.< my head is confusse

06:58 PM Jan 26 2012 |


Saudi Arabia


02:49 PM Aug 06 2011 |