Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech: Rules & Examples

Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech! Learn the Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech in English with useful grammar rules and example sentences.

Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech

In indirect speech, you need to be careful with personal pronouns. They need to be changed according to the situation. You need to know the context.
For example, there is possible confusion when you try to change reported speech to direct speech: 
  • She said she‘d been waiting for hours. (Is she one person or two different people?) 
  • I told them they would have to ask permission. (Are we talking about two groups of people or only one?)
Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech | GrammarPin

Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech

Rule #1

First person pronoun in direct speech (i.e. I, we) is changed according to the pronoun of reporting verb if pronoun in reporting verb is third person pronoun (i.e. he, she)

For example:

  • Direct speech: He said, “I don’t want to shock people
  • Reported speech: He said that he didn’t want to shock people.
  • Direct speech: They said, “we‘ll look after Liam.
  • Reported speech: They said that they would look after Liam.

Rule #2

First person pronoun in direct speech (i.e. I, we) is not changed if the pronoun (Subject) of reporting is also first person pronoun (i.e. I or we).

For example:

  • Direct speech: I said, “I do my homework.”
  • Reported speech: I said that I did my homework.
  • Direct speech: We said, “we buy our clothes.”
  • Reported speech: We said that we bought our clothes.

Rule #3

Second person pronoun in direct speech (i.e. you) is changed according to “object” of reporting verb.
For example:

  • Direct speech: He said to her, “you are cute.
  • Reported speech: He said to her that she was cute.
  • Direct speech: He said to me, “you are a generous person.
  • Reported speech: He said to me that I was a generous person.

Rule #4

Third person pronoun in direct speech (i.e. he, she, it) is not changed in indirect speech.
Examples:

  • Direct speech: They said, “She does not have the necessary qualifications.
  • Reported speech: They said that she did not have the necessary qualifications.
  • Direct speech: She said, “It is raining.
  • Reported speech: She said that it was raining.

Reported Speech: Useful Rules & Examples

Reported Speech in English

(Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech: Rules & Examples)

26 thoughts on “Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech: Rules & Examples”

  1. What about this sentence
    They said to me, “We look pretty” ->
    They said to me that WE looked pretty

    but according to your rules
    the reported sentence should be
    Ann said to me that THEY looked pretty
    but they said that THEY and I look pretty which means WE

    Reply
    • The direct speech for your query should be
      They said to me, ” You look pretty.”
      Reported speech – They told me that I look pretty.
      Now consider
      She asked me.” When are we going to leave ?”
      Reported – She asked me when we were going to leave. (in case listener is included in ‘we’)
      OR – She asked me when they were going to leave. ( here I am excluded)

      Reply

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