Reported Speech Reading Comprehension Activity

Guess Who I Bumped Into?

Above view of people walking along a sidewalk.

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Reported speech or "reported discourse" is when an individual verbally recalls information from something they heard or read. It can be either directly quoted or indirectly conveyed and is an important aspect of communication. Using reported speech in conversations shows listening skills and allows an individual to relate to others.

Read this short excerpt about a funny incident in the park. Once you have finished, answer the reading comprehension questions and complete the reported speech activity.

Guess Who I Bumped Into?

Tim wandered along the path thinking aloud, "If I continue this diet I should lose twenty pounds by the end of..." when BOOM! he bumped into another city dweller out for a day's walk in the park.

"I'm terribly sorry," he apologized, "I was so caught up in my thoughts, I didn't see you!" he managed to stammer.

Smiling, Sheila responded, "It's OK. Nothing's broken... No really, I wasn't watching my step either."

Suddenly they both stopped making excuses and stared at each other.

"Don't I know you from somewhere?" inquired Tim while Sheila exclaimed, "You're Tim, Jack's brother, aren't you?!"

They both began to laugh as they had met each other the week before at a party that Jack had given.

Still laughing, Tim suggested, "Why don't we have a cup a coffee and donut?" to which Sheila replied, "I thought you wanted to continue your diet!" They both were still laughing by the time they reached the Swimming Donut cafe.​

Comprehension Questions

Why did Tim bump into Sheila?

  1. He was on a diet.
  2. He wasn't paying attention.
  3. He was writing his thoughts down.

Where do they live?

  1. In the park
  2. In the countryside
  3. In the city

Whose fault was the incident?

  1. Tim's
  2. Sheila's
  3. It's not clear.

Where did they first meet?

  1. In the park
  2. At the Swimming Donut
  3. At Tim's Brother's house

Why was Tim's suggestion funny?

  1. He was supposedly on a diet.
  2. The name of the cafe was strange.
  3. They were on a walk and there were no donuts in the park.

Later that day Sheila reported the story to her friend Mike. Fill in the blanks with reported (indirect) speech using the text above. Check your answers on the following page.

As he was walking down the path Tim said if he ____ ____ diet he ____ lose twenty pounds. We bumped into each other. He apologized saying he ____ terribly sorry. I told him it ____ OK, that nothing ____ broken. Tim said he ____ so caught up in ____ thoughts that he ____ ____. He seemed embarrassed, so I added that I ____ my step either. At that moment we recognized each other! He asked me if he ____ ____ from somewhere. I then remembered that he was Jack's brother. We both had a good laugh and then he invited me to have a cup of coffee and a donut. We had a great time together.

Answers: Reading Comprehension Questions

Answers are highlighted in bold.

Why did Tim bump into Sheila?

  1. He was on a diet.
  2. He wasn't paying attention.
  3. He was writing his thoughts down.

Where do they live?

  1. In the park
  2. In the countryside
  3. In the city

Whose fault was the incident?

  1. Tim's
  2. Sheila's
  3. It's not clear.

Where did they first meet?

  1. In the park
  2. At the Swimming Donut
  3. At Tim's Brother's house

Why was Tim's suggestion funny?

  1. He was supposedly on a diet.
  2. The name of the cafe was strange.
  3. They were on a walk and there were no donuts in the park.

Answers: Reported Speech

As he was walking down the path Tim said if he continued his diet he should lose twenty pounds. We bumped into each other. He apologized saying he was terribly sorry. I told him it was OK, that nothing had (was) broken. Tim said he had been so caught up in his thoughts that he hadn't seen me. He seemed embarrassed, so I added that I hadn't been watching my step either. At that moment we recognized each other! He asked me if he knew me from somewhere. I then remembered that he was Jack's brother. We both had a good laugh and then he invited me to have a cup of coffee and a donut. We had a great time together.