English Basics

Indirect Speech for Modals

Indirect Speech for Modals

Indirect Speech for Modals, e.g. MUST, MAY, CAN, MIGHT, etc

For converting direct speech into indirect speech, Present Modals (e.g. Must, Can, May) are changed into Past Modals (i.e. Could, Might, Had to). Read the following examples:

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
CAN changes into COULD
He said, “I can sing a song”. He said that he could sing a song.
She said, “I can write a poem”. She said that she could write a poem.
David said, “I can play a Guitar”. David said that he could play a Guitar.
MAY changes into MIGHT
She said, “I may go to Paris”. She said that she might go to Paris.
He said, “I may call a Doctor” She said that she might go to Paris.
They said, “We may buy a car” They said that might buy a car.
MUST changes into HAD TO
He said, “I must study this book”. He said that he had to study this book.
They said, “We must finish the work in time”. They said that they had to finish the work in time.
She said, “I must eat a healthy diet”. She said that she had to eat a healthy diet”.

Indirect Speech for Modals, e.g. MIGHT, SHOULD, WOULD, COULD, OUGHT TO

These Modals are not changed and remain same in indirect speech. Read the following examples.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
He said, “I should start a Job”. He said that he should start a Job.
She said, “I should not waste my time”. She said that she should not waste her time.
They said, “We should help the poor”. They said that we should help the poor.
She said, “I might eat a cake”. She said that she might eat a cake.
They said, “We might go to a Cinema”. They said that they might go to a Cinema.
He said, “I might attend the meeting”. He said that he might attend the meeting.
David said, “I could buy a Camera”. David said that he could buy a Camera.
He said, “I could play Football”. He said that he could play Football.
She said, “I could cook some food”. She said that she could cook some food.
She said, “I would wait for my son”. She said that she would wait for her son.
He said, “I would decorate the walls” He said that he would decorate the walls.
They said, “We would watch a movie They said that they would watch a movie.
David said, “I ought to avoid unhealthy diets”. David said that he ought to avoid unhealthy diets.
He said, “I ought to start a business”. He said that he ought to start a business.
She said, “I ought not to waste my time”. She said that she ought not to waste her time.

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