Posts Tagged ‘Adverbs’

Rules for the Change of Adverbs in Indirect Speech

December 9th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL, Improve English

Besides the changes in the tenses and the pronouns, words expressing nearness in direct speech are changed into words expressing distance in indirect speech. The rules are as follows:

This will change into that.
These will change into those.
Here will change into there.
Now/just will change into then.
Today will change into that day.
Yesterday will change into the previous day or the day before.
Last night will change into the previous night or the night before.
Tomorrow will change into the next day.
Ago will change into before.
The next day/week/year will change into the following day/week/year.
Hence will change into thence.
Thus will change into so or in that way.

Direct: He said, ‘I am too weak to work now.’
Indirect: He said that he was too weak to work then.
Direct: She said, ‘I will leave for New York tomorrow.’
Indirect: She said that she would leave for New York the next day.
Direct: He said, ‘I visited them yesterday.’
Indirect: He said that he had visited them the previous day.
Direct: She said, ‘I liked this bag.’
Indirect: She said that she liked that bag.
Direct: I said, ‘I am leaving tomorrow.’
Indirect: She said that she was leaving the next day.
Direct: She said, ‘These mangoes are rotten.’
Indirect: She said that those mangoes were rotten.
Direct: He said, ‘These are our dogs.’
Indirect: He said that those were their dogs.


Adverbs of time or place do not normally change if the reporting verb is in the present or future tense.

Direct: She says, ‘My husband will come now.’
Indirect: She says that her husband will come now.
Direct: She will say, ‘I have to leave now.’
Indirect: She will say that she has to leave now.

If the adverbs now, this, here etc., refer to objects present at the time of reporting the speech, or to the place in which the reporter is at the time of the speech, they are not changed into then, that, there etc.

John said to me, ‘I have no time to talk to you now.’
John told me that he had no time to talk to me now. (Here the report is made immediately.)
Alice said, ‘This is my basket.’
Alice said that this was her basket. (Here the basket is right before us.)
He said, ‘I will speak here.’
He said that he would speak here. (Here the report is made on the same spot.)