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Copy of Direct vs Reported Speech part 1

  • English

  • Spanish

Today's goal is: 

  • To learn about the direct and reported speech

Listen to Week 14 Day 5 Track 1

Madre: Hija, ¿quién llamó?

Darling, who called?

Ana: Era el tío Antonio.

It was uncle Antonio.

Madre: ¿Y qué dijo?

And what did he say?

Ana: Él dijo que la fiesta era en su casa, en vez de en casa de Lilian.

He said that the party was going to be at his house, instead of at Lilian’s.

Madre: ¿Dijo por qué?

Did he say why?

Ana: No, pero dijo que podíamos llegar después de las 9.

No, but he said we could get there after 9.

Madre: ¿Dijo si teníamos que llevar algo?

Did he say if we had to bring something?

Ana: Sí, mencionó que debíamos llevar la ensalada de gallina.

Yes, he mentioned we had to bring the chicken salad.

Madre: Ah, eso es bastante sencillo ¿Me ayudas a prepararla?

Oh, that’s really easy. Can you help me with it?

Ana: Dale, yo te ayudo. ¿Qué necesitas que haga?

Sure, I’ll help you. What do you need me to do?

Listen to Week 14 Day 5 Track 2

Estilo directo e indirecto – direct and reported speech

  • English

  • Spanish

When we want to repeat what someone said in a previous interaction, we can decide to either use direct or indirect speech. 

With direct speech, we repeat literally what someone else said. It is common to see this type of speech in books as dialogue, or in articles as quotes.

Here are some examples:

  • Mi madre dijo: “Estoy muy orgullosa de ti”. - (My mom said: “I’m really proud of you”)
  • El presidente señaló: “Estamos tomando las medidas necesarias para combatir la corrupción”. - (The president noted: “We’re taking the appropriate measures to fight corruption.”)
  • El oficial de policía afirmó: “Hemos capturado a los responsables del robo armado del día de ayer”. - (The police officer stated: “We have captured those in charge of yesterday’s armed robbery.")
  • Pedro y Amanda dicen: “Nos vamos a casar”. - (Pedro and Amanda say: “We’re going to get married.”)

In Spanish, this is perhaps the easiest of the two forms of speech since we don’t have to make many changes. The fragment we’re quoting goes inside quotation marks and is preceded by a colon “:”, and a verb of speech, such as decir, señalar, afirmar, comentar, añadir, and explicar (say, note, state, comment, add, explain). 

Reported speech is more common in conversations that direct speech. We repeat what someone else said but in our own words, without quotation marks or any other punctuation. The fragment we have decided to quote is preceded by the conjunction “que” and a verb of speech, such as decir, señalar, afirmar, comentar, añadir, and explicar.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Listen to Week 14 Day 5 Track 3

  • English

  • Spanish

  • Carlos me dijo que él estaba enfermo. - (Carlos told me that he was sick.)
  • Ana dice que ella viaja a Perú en el otoño. - (Ana says that she’s traveling to Peru in the fall.)
  • Lucía mencionó que su papá era abogado. - (Lucía mentioned that her dad was a lawyer.)
  • Rubén explicó que su carro se accidentó.(Rubén explained that his car broke down.)

As you can see in the examples above, we need to make certain changes when using the reported speech. If the message we’re reporting is in the simple present tense, we may choose to change it to simple past or keep it in simple present.

Speaking Practice Exercise 

  • English

  • Spanish

  • Luis dice: “Yo vivo aquí” = Luis dice que él vive aquí. / Luis dijo que él vivía ahí.
  • Sara dice: “Te amo” = Sara dice que ella me ama. / Sara dijo que ella me amaba.
  • Carmen y Ana dicen: “Nosotras nos conocemos” = Carmen y Ana dicen que ellas se conocen. / Carmen y Ana dijeron que ellas se conocían.
  • Mi hermano dice: “Me encanta esta película” = Mi hermano dice que le encanta esta película. / Mi hermano dijo que le encantaba esa película.
  • Diego dice: “Mi hermano se va hoy” = Diego dice que su hermano se va hoy. / Diego dijo que su hermano se iba ayer.

Other logical changes may be the subjects and objects. In the first example, Yo becomes Él when we report it, and in the second example, Te changes to Me. In the third example, nos changes to se. And in the fourth example, esta (this) becomes esa (that).

Verbs like vivo and amo, change to vive and ama in presente de indicativo (simple present), or vivía and amaba in preterito imperfecto (past). 

The place we’re referring to may need to be changed as well, especially when we use words for reference, such as aquí and acá (here), and when we use simple past.

The time reference may need to be changed as well, depending on when we are reporting the message. Words like hoy may need to change to ayer, anoche, el lunes pasado, etc.

All of these changes might be confusing at first, but it gets easier with some practice.

Listen to Week 14 Day 5 Track 4




Today we covered the estilo directo e indirecto (direct and reported speech). Remember that with direct speech we repeat something someone else said literally, and when using reported speech we tend to change certain things, such as the tense, subjects and objects, and expressions for time or place.

Sharpen Your Knowledge with Exercises

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4

Exercise 5