Level 3 Unit 3 Lesson07: What Did He Say?

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Use reported speech to refer to what someone else said, asked, etc.

If there is an expression of time or place in the sentence, we may change it, depending on the situation.

‘Backshift’ refers to the changes we make to the original verbs in reported (indirect) speech because time has passed between the moment of speaking and the time of the report. For example, the present (is) becomes the past (was), the future (will) becomes would. The tenses ‘shift’ or ‘move back’ in time. Modal verbs, such as can or should, do not ‘shift back’ in time or change in reported speech. Study the following examples: