Direct and indirect speech: Rules for the change of adverbs

Words showing nearness in direct speech are normally changed into words showing distance in indirect speech. The most common changes are given below.

Now/just changes to then
Come sometimes changes to go
Today changes to that day/the same day
Tomorrow changes to the next day/the following day
Yesterday changes to the day before/the previous day
Next week/month/year changes to the following week/month/year
Last week/month/year changes to the previous week/month/year
Ago changes to before
This sometimes changes to that
Here changes to there

Examples are:

  • He said, „I won’t answer your question now.“
  • He said that he wouldn’t answer my question then.
  • He told her, „I want to leave for Delhi tonight.
  • He told her that he wanted to leave for Delhi that night.
  • He said, „I will come tomorrow.
  • He said that he would come the next day.
  • She said, „I will see you here tomorrow.“
  • She said that she would see me there the next day.
  • „I have an appointment next week,“ she said.
  • She said that she had an appointment the following week.
  • „I was on holiday last week,“ he told us.
  • He told us that he had been on holiday the previous week.
  • „John called 10 minutes ago,“ she told me.
  • She told me that John had called 10 minutes before.
  • „Do you like this shirt?“ she asked.
  • She asked if I liked that shirt.

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