There are two ways of reporting what somebodysays; direct speech indirect (or reported) speech.
February 25th March 4th Direct speech I’m going home • She said, “I’m going home”. Reported speech • She said (that) she was going home.
DIRECT “In text SPEECH we put speech The words inIn direct the speech marks orspeech we use marks must invertedthe speaker’s commas be separatedown words. around from the rest the words of the spoken” sentence by a comma.
•take away the quotation markse.g ‘Some students are talking,’ said the teacher. The teacher said (that) some students were talking.• change the tensee.g ‘I am very happy today,’ said Susanna. Susanna said (that) she was very happy that day.
•Word order in questions, request,commands, … Mum says, “Why aren’t you at school?”Mum wants to know why you aren’t at school.• PronounsShe said, “I don’t want to go”She said that she didn’t want to go”• Other words: adverbs Peter said, “I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow”.Peter said (that) he was seeing the doctor the followingday.
Changes: verb tensesDirect speech Reported speech Present simple Past simple ‘I like peaches’. He said he liked peaches. Present continuous Past continuous ‘Is it raining?’ He asked if it was raining. Past simple Past simple / Past Perfect ‘I didn’t recognize you’. She explained that she hadn’t recognized /didn’t recognize me. Past continuous Past continuous or past perfect continuous ‘I was joking about the price.’ He said he was joking (Or: had been joking) about the price.
More changes: verb tensesDirect speech Reported speech•Past perfect Past perfect‘I hadn’t seen her before that day.’ You said you hadn’t seen her before that day.• shall / will should / would‘We’ll be late.’ I told him we’d be late.• can, may could, might‘I can swim.’ She thought she could swim.• must must or had to‘I must go.’ He said he must / had to go.
Changes in pronouns:• I/you he/she•We/you They•Me/you him/her• Us/you them•My/your his/her• our/your their•Mine/yours theirse.g ‘I am very happy today,’ said Susanna. Susanna said (that) she was very happy that day.
Changes in adverbs:• here there•now then, at the time•today that day• yesterday the day before / the previous day• tomorrow the next / following day• this week that week• last week the week before, the previous week• an hour ago an hour before / earlier
Say or tell Tell + indirect object Daniel told me (that) he was ready. Say The indirect object is not mentioned Daniel said (that) he was ready. Ask, want to know, wonder‘What’s the problem?’ he said.He wanted to know / asked (me) / wondered what the problem was.
When we turn affirmative or negativestatements in direct speech into reportedspeech, we must take away the invertedcommas and make any necessary changes inverb tenses, pronouns and adverbs. Verbtense changes are not necessary if thereporting verb is not in a past tense.
SOME EXAMPLES OF REPORTED STATEMENTS‘ I work in an office,’ John says.John says that he works in an office.‘We are very happy here’ say My parents.My parents say that they are very happy there.‘You can speak English very well,’ my teacher will say.My teacher will say that I can speak English very well.‘you can’t dance very well,” she is telling me.She is telling me that I can’t dance very well.
‘Andrew is working,’ Jessica said. Jessica said (that) Andrew was working. ‘I’ve fixed the shelves,’ John told Susan.John told Susan (that) he had fixed the shelves. ‘My money had run out,’ said Daniel. Daniel said his money had run out. ‘You can sit over here,’ the steward said. The steward said we could sit over there. .
When we report a question, we have to:•Take away the question mark and write a final full stop.•Change the order of words.•Change the verb tense•Change the pronouns•Change the adverbs if necessary.e.g. ‘How many people are there in your family?’ Tonyasked Ray Tony asked Ray how many people there were in hisfamily.
Two kinds of questions1. Yes / No questions ‘Are you leaving?’ he said. aux s vHe wanted to know if / whether I was leaving. s aux v
2. Wh-questions ‘Where is the President staying?’ the reporter said. Wh-word aux s vThe reporter asked where the President was staying. Wh-word s aux v
SOME EXAMPLES OF REPORTED QUESTIONS•‘Is John at home?’•‘Does David go to the cinema often?’ she wanted to know•‘Does it rain a lot in London?’ he said•‘Why did you go out last night?’ my mother said•‘Who was that beautiful woman?’ asked my wife•‘What are you going to do at the weekend?’•‘Have you studied reported speech before?’•‘Will you come with me next week?’ he asked