Reported Speech in Past

You will learn how to retell something a previous speaker has said.


Reported Speech in Past

Languages in Malaysia

"Frontispiece of Jawi edition of Malay Annals", Unknown author and date, Wikimedia commons

Instructions: Read the text. Look at the words in bold.

A Malaysian friend of mine told me the official and national language of Malaysia is Malaysian, a standardised form of the Malay language. The terminology as per government policy is Bahasa Malaysia (literally “Malaysian language”), but legislation continues to refer to the official language as Bahasa Melayu (literally “Malay language”). The National Language Act 1967 specifies the Latin (Rumi) script as the official script of the national language, but does not prohibit the use of the taditional Jawi script.

Malaysia. Retrieved and adapted May, 2016 from

Getting started: Malaysian literature

Instructions: Read the text and do the activity suggested.

Malaysia has a strong oral tradition that has existed since before the arrival of writing, and continues today. Each of the Malay Sultanates created their own literary tradition, influenced by pre-existing oral stories and by stories that came with Islam. The first Malay literature was in the Arabic script. The earliest known Malay writing is on the Terengganu stone, made in 1303. Chinese and Indian literature became common as the numbers of speakers increased in Malaysia, and locally produced works based in languages from those areas began to be produced in the 19th century. English has also become a common literary language. in 1971, the government took the step of defining the literature of different languages. Literature written in Malay was called “national literature”, literature in other bumiputera languages was called “regional literature”, while literature in other languages was called “sectional literature”.

Malaysia. Retrieved and adapted, February 2019, from:

Instructions: Match the two halves of the sentences.

written in chinese increased in 19th centuryin 1971 that literature written in Malay was national literature oral tradition has existed in Malaysia since before the arrival of writing

1. Malaysian historians said _______________.

2. Specialists said malaysian texts _______________.

3. Malaysian government said _______________.

Let’s study Reported Speech sentences in Past.

Instructions: Read about Reported Speech sentences in Past.

Remember that we use Reported Speech sentences to retell something someone else say.

If the reporting verb is in the past tense, then we usually change the tenses in the reported speech:


Direct speech: I go to Kuching with all my family.

Indirect speech. She said (that) she went to Kuching with all her family.

Look how the following verb patterns changes into the past tense:

TenseDirect SpeechReported Speech
Present SimpleI am in Kota Kinabalu.She said he was in Kota Kinabalu. (Simple Past)
Present ContinuousI am reading a book about Malacca City.He said he was reading a book about Malacca City. (Past Continuous)
Past SimpleI went to Petaling Jaya.He said he had gone to Petaling Jaya. (Past Perfect)
Past ContinuousI was listening some news about Penang Island.She said she had been listening some news about Penang Island. (Past Perfect Continuous)


Many other languages

Instructions: Match the sentences to the Reported Speech sentences.

a) She said the native tribes of East Malaysia had their own languages.

b) He said Peninsular Malaysia contained speakers of 41 of the 137 languages.

c) He told me many other languages were used in Malaysia.

d) She told me Native languages were related to, but easily distinguishable from, Malay.

e) She said there were speakers of 137 living languages.

  1. Many other languages are used in Malaysia. ()
  2. There are speakers of 137 living languages. ()
  3. Peninsular Malaysia contains speakers of 41 of the 137 languages. ()
  4. The native tribes of East Malaysia have their own languages. ()
  5. Native languages are related to, but easily distinguishable from, Malay. ()
done Check


He said, She said

Instructions: Write the correct form of the verbs in parenthesis.

  1. He said Iban (be) the main tribal language in Sarawak.
  2. She said Dusunic and Kadazan languages (be) spoken by the natives in Sabah.
  3. He said Chinese Malaysians predominantly (speak) Chinese dialects from the southern provinces of China.
  4. She said the more common Chinese varieties in the country (be) Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainanese, and Fuzhou. 
  5. He said Tamil  (be) used predominantly by Tamils.
done Check


Monetary policy

Instructions: Choose the best option.

  1. They said/ told Tamils were a majority of Malaysian Indians.
  2. He said/ told other South Asian languages were also widely spoken in Malaysia.
  3. She said/ told me Thai was widely speak as well.
  4. They said/ told  a small number of Malaysians have Caucasian ancestry.
  5. She said/ told a few Malaysians spoke creole languages.
done Check