Reported Speech

Observe os diálogos abaixo. Na esquerda temos dois amigos conversando e na direita
um deles conta a conversa para outra pessoa.
Note as mudanças de tempos verbais para expressar coisas passadas.

Original Conversation

Mark: Hi Peter! How are you doing these days?
Peter: Oh, Hi Mark. I'm not doing very well, actually.
Mark: I'm sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?
Peter: As you know I've been looking for work. It’s not easy to find a job.
Mark: That's too bad. Why did you leave your last job?
Peter: Well, my boss treated me badly, and I didn't like my chances of advancing in the company.
Mark: That makes sense. A job without opportunities and a difficult boss isn't very attractive.
Peter: Exactly! So, anyway, I decided to quit and find a new job. I sent out my resume to more than twenty companies. Unfortunately, I've only had two interviews so far.
Mark: Have you tried looking online for a job?
Peter: Yes, but so many of the jobs require moving to another city.I don't want to do that.
Mark: I can understand that. How about going to some of those network groups?
Peter: I haven't tried that. What are they?
Mark: They're groups of people who are also looking for work. They help each other discover new opportunities.
Peter: That sounds great. I'll definitely try some of those.
Mark: I'm glad to hear that. So, what are you doing here at the mall?
Peter: Oh, I'm shopping for a new suit. I want to make the best impression possible at my job interviews!
Mark: There you go. That's the spirit. I'm sure things will get better for you soon.
Peter: Yes, you're probably right. I hope so!

Reported Conversation

Mark: I saw Peter today.
Susan: How's he doing?
Mark: Not too well, I'm afraid.
Susan: Why's that?
Mark: He told me had been looking for work, but hasn't found a job yet.
Susan: That surprises me. Was he fired or did he quit his last job?
Mark: He told me his boss had treated him badly. He also said he didn't like his chances of advancing in the company.
Susan: Quitting doesn't sound like a very wise decision to me.
Mark: That's true. But he's been working hard at finding a new job.
Susan: What's he done?
Mark: He said he had sent out his resumes to more than twenty companies. Unfortunately, he told me that only two had called him for an interview.
Susan: That's tough.
Mark: Tell me about it. However, I gave him some advice and I hope it helps.
Susan: What did you suggest?
Mark: I suggested joining a network group.
Susan: That's a great idea.
Mark: Yes, well, he told me he would try a few groups.
Susan: Where did you see him?
Mark: I saw him at the mall. He told me he was shopping for a new suit.
Susan: What?! Buying new clothes and no work!
Mark: No, no. He said he wanted to make the best impression possible at his job interviews.
Susan: Oh, that makes sense.

Como Funciona

Isto é chamado em Inglês de “Reported Speech”  ou “Indirect Speech”.

Em português dizemos “Discurso Indireto”¨Na verdade é muito simples, basta lembrar que quando contamos a alguém um fato ou uma conversa, estamos falando de algo que já aconteceu, e portanto os verbos devem ser usados no passado,certo?
Repare no dialogo da direita que quando Mark fala de Peter ele usa verbos no passado e quando fala com Susan os verbos estão no presente, pois ele esta falando com ela agora, certo?Então para usar o Reported Speech basta colocar verbo principal das frases no Past Tense(passado) ou, às vezes, no Past Perfect de acordo com a necessidade da situação...
Alguns verbos tem forma diferenciada no passado, como:

Present tense Past tense
Can Could
May Might
Will Would
Have Had
Be Was (sing) Were (plural)

Leia também:Verbos Irregulares e ainda para ajudar Tempos Verbais (todos)