Indirect speech – explained simply in 5 steps

When exactly do you use the indirect speech and how do I actually form it?

Learn in just 5 steps, How to use the indirect speech and so Reproduce statements can. With the help of this overview, you will be able to do it in no time at all.

Expecting you:
1. an understandable definition (with examples)
2. the correct usage
3. the formation of past tense
4. as you convert direct speech
5. everything you need for the German lessons need to know

Let’s start directly!

indirect speech – examples and definition

Indirect speech - explained simply in 5 steps

In indirect speech the Verb in the form of the Subjunctive I used.
With this you report about something, what someone else said.
So you give a utterance in the sense again. To do this, you adjust the person as well as the place and time to your perspective.


Direct speech: He said: "I have a small car"
Indirect speech: He said he had a small car.

Direct speech: she said, "My sister is new here in town"
Indirect speech: She said her sister was new in town.

The subjunctive – this is how it is used

Indirect speech - explained simply in 5 steps

So you use the subjunctive when you want to reproduce an utterance without simply repeating it verbatim. You need no quotation marks.

There are three steps to follow when converting direct speech into indirect speech ▼

  • the verb form must be adapted
  • the pronoun must be changed?
  • place and time references may also need to be adjusted
    → this is because you are speaking from a different perspective than the person who said the actual sentence.

To Subjunctive I to form, you now simply add to the Present tense add the appropriate subjunctive ending.

This table shows you the subjunctive endings:

Subjunctive 1/conjunctive endings

If the subjunctive I and the indicative (i.e. the real form) agree, use the subjunctive II instead.

Indirect speech - explained simply in 5 steps

To form it, you now append the past tense of the verb the appropriate subjunctive ending to.

If in the stem a a, o or a u you change the vowel into an umlaut.
→ exceptions: shall and want


direct speech: He says: "I will come to visit tomorrow evening"
indirect speech: He says he will visit tomorrow evening.

Form the past tense – this is how you proceed

For indirect speech there is only a Past tense.

This is how you form them: subjunctive I of have or its + the participle

In the plural, you use the perfect tense with verbs that have have form, the subjunctive II of have.

Convert Direct Speech

This overview shows you once again different types of sentences direct speech and how to convert them:

Convert direct speech

indirect speech in German lessons

Indirect speech - explained simply in 5 steps

If you want to express something someone else has said in written, elevated language in German lessons (or in any other situation), then you use the subjunctive mood.

This has two advantages:
1. Are you using the Indicative, then you automatically convey that you are at the agree with the original statement and you believe.

2. The subjunctive therefore represents the neutral form dar. In this way, you indicate that you are using the just repeating a statement.

→ For example, in Newspaper articles always the subjunctive is used to render the indirect speech.

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