In indirect speech (reported speech), we report the speaker’s words.

“Why are you happy?” June asked Amahle. —> June asked Amahle why she was

We remove the opening and closing inverted commas (“…”).

Amahle said, “I am happy to see my friend Rethabile.” —> Amahle said that she was happy to see her friend Rethabile.

We use that before the reported speech, unless it is a question. If it is a question, we often use if or whether. If the first word is a question word (what/who/when/where/why/how), there is no need to use that/if/whether.

“I will find out the facts,” said Lubanzi. —> Lubanzi said that he would find out the facts.

We change the verb tenses. Go back one tense (for example, is/am —> was; was/were —> had been; will —> would).

“My family went to the beach,” Sally said. —> Sally said that her family had gone to the beach.

We change the pronouns (for example, we —> they; I —> she/he; you —> he/she/him/her; me —> him/her; us —> them; mine —> his/hers; ours —> theirs).

I don’t believe you,” Bandile said to Enzokuhle. —> Thando told Bandile that he didn’t believe her.

We also change: my/your —> his/her; our —> their.

Grace asked Bokamoso, “Where did you find your information?” —> Grace asked Bokamoso where he found his information.

We change “said to” (someone) to “told” (someone).

“I love you,” Sandile said to Sarah. —> Sandile told Sarah that he loved her.

We do not include question marks or exclamation marks in indirect speech.

“That is terrible news!” exclaimed Rethabile. —> Rethabile exclaimed that that was terrible news.

For commands, we change the verb to the infinitive (e.g. eat —> to eat).

“Get out the classroom!” the teacher ordered Thomas. —> The teacher ordered Thomas to get out the classroom.

Questions that start with do/did: use “if” or “whether”.

Do you agree with me?” Omphile asked him. —> Omphile asked him if he agreed with her.