Have you ever used Reported Speech in your police job? Do you have to make reports?

In this article, we will cover some reporting verbs that we can use in Reported Speech, making our speech a bit more informative. We will begin with some revision of Reported Speech and then, in our next article, we will see what we can use instead of say and tell. Stay tuned!


As you know Reported Speech is a way to quote what someone said. It is essential in law enforcement circles – think of TESTIMONIES, CONFESSIONS or WITNESS INTERVIEWS. There are two points to consider, though: BACKSHIFT OF TENSES and CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE.

1, BACKSHIFT OF TENSES: quintessentially, this is a part, which can get tricky. Usually, there is the following useful chart to take a look at – it shows what becomes of a tense (for instance, Present Simple becomes Past Simple, Past Simple becomes Past Perfect in REPORTED SPEECH, etc.):

Present Simple – Past Simple – Past Perfect
Present Progressive – Past Progressive – Past Perfect Progressive
Present Perfect – Past Perfect
Present Perfect Progressive – Past Perfect Progressive

When it is the future we talk about, there is one thing to remember:

will – would
am/is/are going to – was/were going to

also, check out these instances:

Phrase in direct speech Equivalent in reported speech
today that day
“I saw him today“, she said. She said that she had seen him that day.
yesterday the day before
“I saw him yesterday“, she said. She said that she had seen him the day before.
The day before yesterday two days before
“I met her the day before yesterday“, he said. He said that he had met her two days before.
Tomorrow the next/following day
“I’ll see you tomorrow“, he said He said that he would see me the next day.
The day after tomorrow in two days time/ two days later
“We’ll come the day after tomorrow“, they said. They said that they would come in two days time/ two days later.
Next week/month/year the following week/month/year
“I have an appointment next week“, she said. She said that she had an appointment the following week.
Last week/month/year the previous/week/month/year
“I was on holiday last week“, he told us. He told us that he had been on holiday the previous week.
ago before
“I saw her a week ago,” he said. He said he had seen her a week before.
this (for time) that
“I’m getting a new car this week“, she said. She said she was getting a new car that week.
this/that (adjectives) the
“Do you like this shirt?” he asked He asked if I liked the shirt.
here there
He said, “I live here“. He told me he lived there.


! Mind you that in questions, we use the same word order. For example:

‘Who are you?’ – she asked me.

She asked me who I was.


Let’s say you are at a crime scene of a robbery and you are interviewing a witness. The witness says the following:

“The robber came in suddenly and shouted at us. Then he started shooting in the air. He is tall and well-built.” – the witness said.

In Reported Speech, you have to consider that it is the witness’ perspective, so this testimony will read as follows:

The witness said that the robber had come in suddenly and had shouted at us. Then he had started shooting in the air. He was tall and well-built.”

Let’s practice Reported Speech:

[h5p id=”6″]