We make changes in time, places, determiners, etc when reporting the direct speech. 

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
now then
today that day
tonight that night
last night the previous night, the night before
yesterday the previous day, the day before
tomorrow the next day, the day after
next week the following week
here there
this/these that/those
this (determiner) the



Modal verbs in indirect speech. 

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
will would
can could
may might
shall should
must must
ought to ought to
used to used to




  • "I will be a vegetarian from next year."
  • She said (that) she would be a vegetarian from next year.
  • "I can swim like a fish."
  • He said he (that) could swim like a fish.
  • "We may start a new religion."  
  • They said they might start a new religion.
  • "I shall be judged only by God."
  • My grandfather said he should be judged only by God.
  • "You must behave yourself."
  • The teacher told me I must behave myself.
  • "You ought to stop talking to yourself."
  • My mother said I ought to stop talking to myself.
  • "I used to have many girlfriends even after his marriage."  
  • My father confessed that he used to have many girlfriends even after his marriage.



If the past form of modal verbs wouldcouldmight, and should is used in the direct speech, we do not change them in the indirect speech.


  • Annie said, "I would hate to miss the puppet show tonight."
  • Annie said she would hate to miss the puppet show that night.
  • Joe said, "We could go for a drive after lunch tomorrow."
  • Joe suggested that they could go for a drive after lunch the next day.
  • Jennifer said to me, "Might I ask you to do me a favour this weekend?"
  • Jennifer asked if I might do her a favour that weekend.
  • Bob said, "You should be ashamed of yourselves for what you did last night."
  • Bob said that they should be ashamed of themselves for what they did the night before.