Direct and indirect speech: Simple sentences

Simple sentences mean simple affirmative and negative statements as we have read in the maximum examples in tenses section.

In order to convert simple sentence into indirect you are first required to have a good deal of knowledge about tenses.

If you have good knowledge then learning narrations may work.

Otherwise it is strongly recommended that you should first start from tenses.

The very first thing you need to do is to identify the tense of reporting speech because all the changes are made in accordance with it.

The verb of reporting speech of indirect narration is changed into tells, answer, reply, declare, remind or assure etc according to the nature of reported speech and when comma and quotation mark are removes the conjunction [that] is used.

Tense of Reporting Speech

If reporting speech is in present or future tense no change in the tense of reported speech is made while converting into indirect speech.


He says, “I have performed my duties.”
He says that he has performed his duties.
(both reported speeches are in present perfect)

She will say, “I am not going there.”
She will tell that she is not going there.
(both reported speeches are in present continuous)

Teacher says to him, “You can’t come up to my expectations.”
Teacher tells him that I can come up to his expectations.
(both reported speeches have present tense with modal operator)

President Obama says, “We will eradicate terrorism.”
President Obama says that they will eradicate terrorism.
(both reported speeches are in simple future)

They will say, “We shall continue working.”
They will say that they will continue working.
(both reported speeches are in simple future)

Alec says to Tess, “I have no reason to flatter you.”
Alec tells Tess that he has no reason to flatter her.
(both reported speeches are in simple present)

If the tense of reporting speech is Past then following changes are made in reported speech while converting it into indirect narration.

Direct to Indirect Speech Converter

For Universal truth sentences

Write your sentence: Reporting speech of your sentence: Reported speech of your sentence:

2. All present tenses are converted into past.

Present indefinite into past indefinite
Present continuous into Past continuous
Present perfect into Past perfect
Present perfect continuous into Past perfect continuous


He said, “I work hard to prepare my speech.”
He said that he worked hard to prepare his speech.”

He said, “She is sending emails.”
He said that she was sending emails.”

He said, “I have joined them.”
He said that he had joined them.”

He said, “I have been working all night.”
He said that he had been working all night.

If the tense of reported speech is already in past tense then following changes are made while converting into indirect speech provided reporting speech is in past.

Past indefinite into Past perfect
Past continuous into Past perfect continuous
Past perfect and Past perfect continuous remain the same


He said, “I waited for him.”
He told that he had waited for him.

He said, “I was not feeling well.”
He told that he hadn’t been feeling well.

Duncan said to me, “I had searched the whole house.”
Duncan told me that he had searched the whole house.

Dylan said, “I had been living here since I was five.”
Dylan told that he had been living there since he was five.

If modal operators are used the changes are made as follows;

• Will is converted into would
• Shall is converted into should
• May is converted into might
• Can is converted into could


He said, “I will come.”
He told that he would go.

She said to me, “I shall be missing you.”
She told me that she should be missing me.

Thomas said, “I may not come on account of unavoidable circumstances.”
Thomas told that he might not come on account of unavoidable circumstances.

David said, “I can bring him home.”
David told that he could bring him home.

In case the reporting speech is in past then the words show nearness of time and place are changed into the words showing distance of time and place, like;

• here into there
• today into that day
• tomorrow into next day
• this into that
• yesterday into previous day
• these into those
• now into then
• hence into thence
• hither into thither
• come into go
• ago into before
• thus into so in that way


He said, “I am busy here.”
He told that he was busy there.

He said, “I shall visit you today.”
He told that he would visit me that day.

Susan said, “It is this person who introduced me to you.”
Susan said that it was that person who had introduced her to him.

He said, “I may consider this now.”
He told that he might consider that then.

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