When we report someone's words we can do it in two ways.
- Direct speech with quotation marks: “I work in a school”.
- Reported speech: He said he worked in a school.
In reported speech the tenses and pronouns may be different from those in the original sentence.
The following table shows the changes in the different verb tenses:
It isn’t always necessary to change the present simple tense. If something is still true now we can use the present simple in the reported sentence:
She said “Mark lives in Paris” → She told me (that) Mark lives in Paris.
The past perfect tense does not change in reported speech:
She said “I had finished the book” → She told me (that) he had finished the book.
The past continuous usually changes to the past perfect continuous:
They said “we were playing the game” → They told me (that) they had been playing the game.