What did she say? Going down the stairs...

Many of my students mix the change of tenses of the passive with the changes needed in reported speech. We use the passive voice in English more often than we do in Spanish, normally when we do not know the subject of the sentence or when we do not want to say it or we want to emphasize the result among others.
For the passive, we use the verb to be in the tense we need and add the past participle of the verb we need. In reported speech, the tense goes "one backwards" or you can also go down one step in the stairs as you can  see above.

What is "reported speech" or "indirect style"?
We use the reported speech when we report/tell what other person has said. In order to do this, we use introductory verbs such as:
  • tell or say (for statements)
  • tell or order (for commands)
  • ask or want to know (for questions)
We also need to do some changes because the context and cotext of the sentence which was told and the one which is being retold in the present time are different. We may change:
  • subject, object and  possessive adjectives and pronouns.
  • references to time and place.
  • the tense of the verbs (as can be seen in the image above)
If you want to practise these changes and how to say what other person stated, commanded, asked or suggested, you can do exercises at Activities for ESL students or English Exercises online and English Exercises online

I hope you have a clearer idea now; however you know I will be happy to answer  your doubts if you leave a comment!!
Can you tell me when do those tenses remain unchanged as it says in the image?


  1. The exercises are very well!
    They are very useful (:

    Name: Mª José Muñoz
    Class: 4º A

    1. I'm glad you liked them MªJosé. Continue with your hard work!!!

  2. Con estos ejercicios lo entiendo mejor
    Gracias!!! :)

    1. Thank you Daniel, glad it helped!


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