REPORTED OR INDIRECT SPEECH 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 what someone said to report it indirectly, we call it indirect or reported speech. Direct speech: He said, “ I’ve lost my umbrella”

Comma or colon Indirect or reported speech:

Inverted commas

He said (that) he had lost his umbrella

No comma

can only be omitted after tell and say

Introductory verbs: say and tell Though 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 Indirect:

He told me that he had lost his umbrella He told me how/about .... REPORTED SPEECH We can either tranform statements, questions, commands, requests, or advice into reported speech: 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 no verbal 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”, but depending on the reporting verbs used other sturctures are also possible. Say, complain He complained that we were too many Agree, refuse, offer, promise He refused to do the work Accuse of, admit, apologise for He apologised for being late suggest He suggested that we should go Explain, describe, show He explained how to do it

Verb + that Verb + infinitive Verb + gerund Verb + that + subjunctive Verb + how, ... Questions: -

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, ... but only ask can take an indirect object


Commands, requests and advice: These are normally reported with an introductory verb, an object sometimes, and an infinitive structure. Infinitive They advised to be quiet

Advise, ask, beg, command,

encourage, forbid, implore, invite, order, recommend, remind, request, tell, urge, want, ...

Not + infinitive Object + infinitive Object + not + infinitive

They forbade to step on the grass He asked me to go He begged me not to leave


Sometimes a gerund or a subjunctive is used: He suggested that we should go This implied our comitting to the plan


Exclamations: Sentences or exclamations such as: “Uf”, he said “We have reached the summit!” can be reported with sentences such as: He gave an exclamation of relief He exclaimed that they had arrived. He said that they had arrived with an exclamation of relief

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