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reported speech

reported speech



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Published by anuskis
This is a grammar explanation on the use of reported speech for intermediate EFL/ESL students.
This is a grammar explanation on the use of reported speech for intermediate EFL/ESL students.

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Published by: anuskis on May 08, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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When someone says, said or has said something, we can report it either directly or indirectly. When we report it directly, we call it direct speech; if we transform whatsomeone said to report it indirectly, we call it indirect or reported speech.Direct speech:
He said, “ I’ve lost my umbrella”
Comma or colon Inverted commasIndirect or reported speech:
 He said (that) he had lost his umbrella
 No comma can only be omitted after tell and sayIntroductory verbs: say and tellThough there are many verbs used to introduce both a direct or a reported speech clause,most often used ones are say and tell. There are some differences in use between the two of them:Say
Direct:“I’ve lost my umbrella”, he/ Tom said, said Tom, he/Tom said to me
Indirect:He said that he had lost his umbrella(He said to me that he had lost his umbrella)Tell
Direct:“I’ve lost my umbrella”, he told me
He told me that he had lost his umbrellaHe told me how/about ....REPORTED SPEECHWe can either tranform statements, questions, commands, requests, or advice into reportedspeech:
 He announced, “there will be no classes tomorrow” He announced that there would be no classes next day He asked, “can we stay a bit longer today?” He asked if we could stay a bit longer that day He shouted, “Stop complaining all the time” He ordered us to stop complaining all the time He requested, “could you please open the window?” He kindly requested us to open the window He said, “you should stop smoking” He advised me to stop smoking 
In all of them, we have to make a few changes:
Changes in pronouns, adverbs and demostratives (see chart):
 He said, “I will stay here” He said that he would stay there
Changes in verbal tenses:
When the introductory verb is in the Present, Present Perfect or Future, there are noverbal changes in the reported clause:
 He says, “I will come” He says that he will come
When the introductory verb is in the past:
there are normally some tense changes in the reported clause (see chart)He said, “I will come”He said he would come
Past simple and continuous tenses sometimes remain unchanged
Past perfect simple and continuous remain unchanged
Shall becomes would
The modals should, could, would, might and ought to remain unchanged
Subjunctive after wish, ‘d rather/ sooner, it’s time remain unchanged
Conditionals 2 and 3 remain unchanged
Changes in structure:
Statements: When we report a statement, we normally use a “that clause”, butdepending on the reporting verbs used other sturctures are also possible. Verb + thatSay, complainHe complained that we weretoo manyVerb + infinitiveAgree, refuse, offer, promiseHe refused to do the worVerb + gerundAccuse of, admit, apologise forHe apologised for being lateVerb + that + subjunctivesuggestHe suggested that we shouldgoVerb + how, ...Explain, describe, showHe explained how to do it
When we report a question, we use an affirmative structure:
 He asked, “Can I come with you?” He asked if he could come with us
When we report a yes/no question, we introduce it with if or whether:
We asked whether we should stay or leave
When we report an information question, we use the question word:
She asked me what the meaning of that word was
To report a question, we use verbs such as: inquire, wonder, want to know, ... butonly ask can take an indirect object
Commands, requests and advice:
These are normally reported with an introductory verb, an object sometimes, and aninfinitive structure.Advise, ask, beg, command, InfinitiveThey advised to be quiet

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