‘I am ill’ --> ‘She said she was ill.’ - Reported Speech

A key skill in academic writing involves reporting what people said or wrote in original sources. This can involve a different word order and sometimes different tenses. Read how it works and practise with the links provided here.

This page explains in detail how you can change direct speech into indirect speech and offers examples in different tenses.


The short explanation on this page offers a handy checklist of all the elements that need to be changed and a quiz that asks you to put direct speech into an indirect form.


A quick online quiz about the word order in sentences such as "He asked me to review reported speech" (infinitives in reported speech). Choose from various options to fill the gaps.


To use reported speech effectively it is also important to know words used to introduce it. Such reporting verbs can be as simple as ‘He said that…’ or ‘Smith writes that…’, or can be more precise: ‘She concedes that …’ or ‘The study proposes that…’. Reporting verbs are also very important in academic writing, particularly in literature reviews (a link to this will be placed on our page on academic writing, currently under development).

‘Say’ and ‘tell’ may be the most basic reporting verbs, but using them correctly can be tricky – a detailed explanation can be found on this page.


This page presents a great number of verbs and the patterns in which they are used.


A quiz to practise using everyday reporting verbs is provided on the following page.


More information on reporting verbs used in academic writing can be found on our own website.


A very comprehensive list of reporting verbs, listed according to the way they are used. Sadly there are no examples, but the list can be helpful, as long as you double check the meaning of these words in a Learners' Dictionary.