Indirect speech

Indirect speech in less formal language

Whereas the formation of the reported speech in formal writing is to a certain degree standardised, the rules or conventions for the spoken language and less formal writing are much less strict. Although it is always grammatically correct to use the Konjunktiv I form in order to report what somebody has said, its use is often perceived as stilted and old fashioned. The following alternatives are p... »

Direct speech in the past

When the direct speech is in the present perfect or the simple past tense, the Konjunktiv I form of haben or sein + the past participle of the relevant verb is used: Er sagt: „Ich habe ein Taxi genommen.“ Er sagt: „Ich nahm ein Taxi.“ → Er sagt, er habe ein Taxi genommen. Petra erklärte: „Ich bin letztes Wochenende in Paris gewesen.“ Petra erklärte: „Ich war letztes Wochenende in Paris.“ → Petra e... »

Using dass with Konjunktiv I

It is also possible to use the conjunction dass for all the above examples: Madonna sagte, dass sie gern in London wohne. Sie betonten, dass sie nur gute Freunde seien. Konjunktiv I in longer passages In newspaper articles, reports, essays etc., it is not uncommon to find the Konjunktiv I verb form used throughout longer passages: Beate Schulz behauptete, sie lebe gern in einer Wohngemeinschaft. Z... »

Direct and indirect speech

There are two ways of reporting what somebody said. One way is to use the exact words of the other person. In writing, this is done by putting the original words in quotation marks (direct speech). The other way is to incorporate the original words into a sentence (indirect speech): Direct speech Sie sagte: „Ich bin glücklich.“ She said, ‘I am happy.’ Indirect speech Sie sagte, sie sei glücklich. ... »