Mastering Reported Speech in English for the TOEIC


Reported speech, also known as indirect speech, is an important aspect of English grammar that is often tested in language proficiency exams like the TOEIC. Understanding and using reported speech correctly can greatly enhance your communication skills and help you excel in the TOEIC exam.

What is Reported Speech?

Reported speech is used to convey someone else’s words or thoughts, without using their exact words. It involves changing the verb tense, pronouns, and other elements to reflect the speaker’s original statement.

Rules of Reported Speech

Rules of Reported Speech

To master reported speech, it is essential to understand the following rules:

  • Change of verb tense: When reporting someone’s words, the verb tense usually changes. For example, ‘I am going to the store’ becomes ‘He said he was going to the store’.
  • Pronoun changes: Pronouns also change when reporting speech. For instance, ‘She said, ‘I love this song” becomes ‘She said that she loved that song’.
  • Time and place references: Time and place references may also change in reported speech. ‘They said, ‘We are meeting at the park tomorrow” can be reported as ‘They said they were meeting at the park the next day’.
  • Reporting verbs: Reporting verbs like ‘say’, ‘tell’, ‘ask’, etc., are used to introduce reported speech. These verbs are often followed by a reporting clause, which contains the reported words.

Examples of Reported Speech

To further illustrate these rules, here are a few examples of reported speech:

  • Direct speech: ‘I will call you later.’
  • Reported speech: He said that he would call me later.
  • Direct speech: ‘Can you help me with this?’
  • Reported speech: She asked if I could help her with that.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you understand the rules of reported speech, it’s essential to practice using them. Here are a few exercises you can try:

  1. Change the following direct speech into reported speech:
    • ‘I have been working on this project.’
    • ‘We are going to the party tonight.’
    • ‘He said, ‘I don’t like seafood.”’
  2. Rewrite the following sentences using reported speech:
    • ‘She said, ‘I am going to the cinema tomorrow.”’
    • ‘They asked, ‘Can you play the guitar?”
    • ‘He told me, ‘Don’t forget to bring your passport.”’

Remember to pay attention to verb tense changes, pronoun changes, and reporting verb usage while doing these exercises.


Mastering reported speech is crucial for success in the TOEIC exam and overall English language proficiency. By understanding and applying the rules of reported speech correctly, you can effectively convey someone else’s words or thoughts in a grammatically accurate manner.

Keep practicing reported speech exercises, and soon you’ll become a master at using this important aspect of English grammar!

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