Time/place references are also changed in reported speech

'I will see you here tomorrow', she said. She said that she would see me there the next day.

The most common of these changes are shown below:


that day

'I saw him today', she said.


She said that she had seen him that day.


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.


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.



'I saw her a week ago,' he said.


He said he had seen her a week before.

this (for time)


'I'm getting a new car this week', she said.


She said she was getting a new car that week.

this/that (adjectives)


'Do you like this shirt?' he asked


He asked if I liked the shirt.



He said, 'I live here'.


He told me he lived there.

Other changes:
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.


Normally, the tense in reported speech is one tense back in time from the tense in direct speech:

She said, "I am tired." She said that she was tired.

The changes are shown below:

Simple present

Simple past

"I always drink coffee", she said


She said that she always drank coffee.

Present continuous

Past continuous

"I am reading a book", he explained.


He explained that he was reading a book

Simple past

Past perfect

"Bill arrived on Saturday", he said.


He said that Bill had arrived on Saturday

Present perfect

Past perfect

"I have been to Spain", he told me.


He told me that he had been to Spain

Past perfect

Past perfect

"I had just turned out the light," he explained.


He explained that he had just turned out the light.

Present perfect continuous

Past perfect continuous

They complained, "We have been waiting for hours".


They complained that they had been waiting for hours.

Past continuous

Past perfect continuous

"We were living in Paris", they told me.


They told me that they had been living in Paris.


Present conditional

"I will be in Geneva on Monday", he said


He said that he would be in Geneva on Monday.

Future continuous

Conditional continuous

She said, "I'll be using the car next Friday".


She said that she would be using the car next Friday.


1. You do not need to change the tense if the reporting verb is in the present, or if the original statement was about something that is still true, e.g.

He says he has missed the train but he'll catch the next one.
We explained that it is very difficult to find our house.

2. These modal verbs do not change in reported speech:
might, could, would, should, ought to, e.g.

We explained that it could be difficult to find our house.
She said that she might bring a friend to the party.

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