A "quotation" is
the exact word or words that a person speaks. It's
good to understand the difference between a direct quotation,
the words you hear from someone speaking, and an indirect
quotation, which are the words that someone else uses to describe
another speaker. Confused? When you're confused it helps to look
at an example.
Direct Quotation (Direct Speech)
"I need to go to the store," said my wife.
Indirect Quotation (Indirect Speech)
My wife said that she needed to go to the store.
Notice that "said" is in the past tense, so the
verb "need" also becomes past tense.
There's something called the "sequence of tenses"
which is useful to look at now:
The Sequence of Tenses
Present Perfect Past Perfect
There are other tenses that could be
added here, but this is a good start in learning that tenses
change their form when using indirect speech. See the examples
"I am a beekeeper."
What did he say?
He said he was a beekeeper.
"I'm reading a book."
What did he say?
He said that he was reading a book.
"I was afraid of spiders when I was a little girl."
What did she say?
She said she had been afraid of spiders when she was a little
"I have been in this same spot for an hour and I haven't caught
He said that he'd
been in that same spot for an hour and
he hadn't caught anything.
(he'd been = had been)
"We enjoy making breakfast together."
They said that they enjoyed making breakfast together.
"I'll help you pick them up."
He said he would
help her pick up the apples.
"He can eat an entire watermelon," his wife said.
His wife said that he could
eat an entire watermelon.
"This radio may be over 70 years old," said the owner of the
The owner of the antique shop said that the radio might
be over 70 years old.
This is an important thing to learn! Watch this video: