Reported speech - English Grammar Statements 1) If the introductory sentence starts in the present (Susan says), there is no backshift of tenses in Reported speech. Example: Direct speech: Susan: "I work in an office." Reported speech: Susan says that she works in an office. 2) If the introductory sentence starts in the past (Susan said), there is often backshift of tenses in Reported speech. (see: Note) Example: Susan: "I work in an office." Susan said that she worked in an office. Backshift of tenses DIRECT SPEECH INDIRECT SPEECH Simple Present Simple Past will Would Present Continuous Past Continuous Can Could am/are/is goin to was/were going to Backshift of tenses from to Peter: "I work in the garden." Peter said that he worked in the garden. Peter: "I will work in the garden." Peter said that he would work in the garden. Peter: "I can work in the garden." Peter said that he could work in the garden. Peter: "I'm working in the garden." Peter said that he was working in the garden. Peter: “I´m going to work in the garden.” Peter said that he was going to work in the garden If the sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it as well. Shifting of expressions of time this (evening) that (evening) today/this day that day these (days) those (days) now then here there at this moment at that moment tonight that night Also note that you have to: transform the question into an indirect question use the interrogative if Type with interrogative pronouns with YES/NO questions Example direct speech “Why don’t you speak English?” reported speech He asked me why I didn’t speak English. direct speech “Do you speak English?” reported speech He asked me if I spoke English. Things are slightly more complicated with imperatives. Direct Speech Indirect Speech positive imperative Shut up! He told me to shut up. negative imperative Don't do that again! He told me not to do it again. imperatives as requests Please give me some money. He asked me to give him some money.