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Reported Speech in Context

How to Use Reported Speech



In today’s lesson, you are going to put yourself in the shoes of a reporter.


There are two fictious situations you can choose from. You will need the following tools and skills in order to succeed in this task:


  • Know different types of Reporting Verbs that are used in the news.
  • Know the changes you are supposed to make in Reported Speech when you are dealing with Adverbs of Time and Place, Tenses, Modal verbs, Pronouns and Determiners




  • Be passionate about your report.
  • Be concise and only give relevant information.
  • Use different types of Reporting Verbs and avoid the repeated use of the word ‘Say‘.
  • Change tenses when necessary.
  • Vary your vocabulary.
  • Pay attention to punctuation.


How to Use Reported Speech in Context: Situation Nº 1



There has been a bank robbery in the city centre. Two million dollars were stolen. You are a reporter for a famous television station and you have been sent by your boss to cover the story. You will recount the event in a documentary.


Your job is to collect as much information as you can get. You decide to interview a witness on the crime scene to learn more about the heist. She is willing to talk but refuses to be recorded or filmed. You will have to tell her story later on.


Journalist: First of all, what is your name and what were you doing here at the time of the robbery?


Witness: My name is Jane Clark but, please, do not mention my name in your report. I am a regular and loyal customer here. I came to deposit some cash into my account when two masked women entered the bank. They were carrying what looked like guns.


Journalist: Thank you for the information. What makes you think that the robbery was done by women? This is very unusual.


Witness: You are welcome. First of all, I could tell from their voices and body structure that they were not men. On top of that, one of the women left a pair of shoes behind.


Journalist: Did someone try to stop them?


Witness: No, everything happened so quickly and everybody was in great shock. There was no time to react.


Journalist: Did you see the car that they used? Where did they go after they left this place?


Witness: Yes, I did. It was a red saloon but I don’t know the brand of the car. They drove towards the Museum of Modern Art but I have no idea where they went afterwards.


Journalist: Do you have anything else to say?


Witness: No, I don’t.


Journalist: Thank you for the interview, Miss Jane Clark.


Witness: You’re welcome.


A Month Later: Sample Report


Recently, there has been a spate of armed robberies in the city centre. No one has been caught yet but the profiles of the criminals differ a lot. It is said that a few women are involved in these crimes as well. We wanted to learn more about this trend. This what one of our journalists had to say about the subject:


Journalist: A month ago, I interviewed a woman who did not want us to reveal her identity. She told me that she was a regular and loyal customer of the Ratio Bank and was there when the 2-million dollar heist happened. She explained that she’d gone to the bank to deposit some money into her account. The young woman claimed that two women were responsible for the crime since they had feminine voices and bodies. She added that the robbers left a pair of women shoes on the crime scene. Asked if anything could have been done to prevent the incident, the witness replied that everything had happened so quickly that there had been no time to react. According to her, the robbers fled towards the Museum of Modern Art using a red saloon of an unknown brand.


Your Turn: Imagine the reports you could write for the situations below:


How to Use reported Speech in Context: Situation Nº 2


Recently, some diamonds have been found near Mount Kilimanjaro. People from all walks of life are rushing to the site in order to be part of this exciting adventure. You are a renown reporter for a big financial magazine. Your editor has asked you to interview one of the diamond chasers. This will be part of a feature.


Journalist: First of all, what is your name and what are you doing here?


Adventurer: Hello my friend. My name is Boniface Apara. What am I doing here? Well, just look around you man. I’m here for the adventure. I want to be part of this historic event.


Journalist: What is happening here?


Adventurer: You don’t know the story? There are diamonds in this place! The first one was found by a little boy when he was playing with his friends. He didn’t know what it was so he gave it to his uncle.


Journalist: What happened to the stone?


Adventurer: Ha, ha, ha. That’s another story my friend. You should find out by yourself. That’s your job. Do your research.


Journalist: Have you found something here?


Adventurer: I’m still searching but my lucky day is yet to come. It’s not easy you know. The are many people here and we are looking for the same thing. It’s a cut-throat business.


Journalist: Where is your family? Do you have a family?


Adventurer: My family is back in the village. Please don’t show my face in your paper or on television. I told her that I was coming to look for a proper job here. She doesn’t know that I’m out here, chasing dreams.


Journalist: How do you survive out here? Do you have a job?


Adventurer: I’m still using my savings. I will look for a job when the money is gone.


Journalist: When are you going back home?


Adventurer: I don’t know. Maybe as soon as I find a diamond.


Journalist: Well, thank you very much Mr. Boniface Apara.


Adventurer: You are welcome.


How to Use reported Speech in Context: Situation Nº 3


You are a journalist for a prominent newspaper and you are doing a series of articles on heroic acts. You interview a man that saved a seven-year old child from a burning house.


Journalist: First of all, what is your name and where do you live?


Interviewee: My name is Mugo and I live not far from where the incident happened.


Journalist: Do you mind telling me your surname?


Interviewee: Yes, I do.


Journalist: Alright, I understand. I guess you know why I am here. Your story has already been covered by a lot of newspapers and you must be used to answering journalists’ questions now.


Interviewee: You are partly right. It’s still daunting to go back to that incredible day. Anything could have happened.


Journalist: That’s true. So, what made you what you did? What happened?


Interviewee: Well, I think you have heard the story before but let me explain from the very beginning once again. I was on my way to work when I heard a child crying from a house. Soon, I noticed that smoke was coming out of the front windows. It’s a pity that the house burnt to the ground. It was such a beautiful building.


Journalist: So what did you do when you heard the child crying?


Interviewee: I looked around but there was no other person in the street apart from myself. It was six o’clock in the morning. I had to act quickly. I called the firefighters first. Afterwards, I rushed into the house. There was too too much smoke but I managed to reach the child.


Journalist: How? What did you do exactly?


Interviewee: I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking. I just had to do my job. It was an urge.


Journalist: Well, that’s incredible. Do you know what caused the fire? Where were the child’s parents?


Interviewee: It was an electrical problem–a short circuit probably. The child’s parents were asleep. I had to wake them up.


Journalist: Were you not afraid to go into the house?


Interviewee: No, I wasn’t. I didn’t have time to think. It’s something that I had to do and by the grace of God, the child was saved.


Journalist: Have you heard from the child recently?


Interviewee: Yes, our families regularly see each other now. We have become good friends.


Journalist: That was an amazing story to hear. Thank you for your time Mugo.


Interviewee: You are welcome.