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Complex Reported Speech

Understanding Complex Reported Speech

Reported speech is a vital aspect of communication that allows us to convey what someone else has said. It involves expressing someone else’s words, thoughts, or ideas in our own words. However, when the original statement is complex or contains multiple clauses, reporting it accurately can become a little more challenging. This is where complex reported speech comes into play.

Complex reported speech refers to the reporting of statements, questions, or commands that are intricate in structure or contain multiple clauses. It requires understanding how to accurately transform and convey the complexity of the original speech while maintaining its meaning.

How to Form Complex Reported Speech

Complex reported speech involves several changes to the original statement to accurately convey the intended meaning. Let’s take a look at the essential transformations:

Original Speech Complex Reported Speech
He said, “I will finish the project by Friday.” He said that he would finish the project by Friday.
She asked, “Will you be attending the conference?” She asked if I would be attending the conference.
They commanded, “Do not touch anything!” They commanded us not to touch anything.

In complex reported speech, you need to pay attention to pronoun changes, verb tense changes, and the use of reporting verbs.

When reporting statements, the pronouns may need to be changed to reflect the perspective of the speaker. For example, “I” in the original speech becomes “he” or “she” in reported speech.

Verb tense changes are also crucial. Generally, the tense of the verb in the reported speech changes to match the tense of the reporting verb. For example, if the reporting verb is in the past tense, the verb in the reported speech is also shifted to the past. However, some verb tenses remain the same, such as the present simple and future simple.

Reporting verbs, such as “say,” “ask,” “command,” and “suggest,” are used to introduce the reported speech. These verbs can also be modified depending on the context and the speaker’s intention.

Practice Exercises

Let’s practice some complex reported speech transformations. Rewrite the following sentences using complex reported speech and check your answers below:

  1. She said, “I have been studying French for two years.”
  2. He asked, “Can you help me with this math problem?”
  3. They said, “We will be leaving for the airport at 8 PM.”


  1. She said that she had been studying French for two years.
  2. He asked if I could help him with that math problem.
  3. They said that they would be leaving for the airport at 8 PM.

Complex reported speech allows us to accurately convey the meaning of complex statements, questions, or commands. By understanding the necessary transformations and practicing their implementation, we can communicate effectively and precisely.


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