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What is reported speech?

Reported speech is when you tell somebody else what you or a person said before.

Distinction must be made between direct speech and reported speech.

Direct speech vs Reported speech:

Direct speechReported speech
She says:" she likes tuna fish."She says that she likes tuna fish.
She said: "I’m visiting Paris next weekend"She said that she was visiting Paris the following weekend.

Different types of sentences

When you use reported speech, you either report:

  • Statements
  • questions
  • requests / commands
  • other types

I. Reporting Statements

When transforming statements, check whether you have to change:

  • pronouns
  • tense
  • place and time expression

1-Pronouns

In reported speech, you often have to change the pronoun depending on who says what.

Example:

She says, “My dad likes roast chicken.” – She says that her dad likes roast chicken.

2-Tenses

  • If the sentence starts in the present, there is no backshift of tenses in Reported speech.
  • If the sentence starts in the past, there is often backshift of tenses in Reported speech.
 Direct speechReported speech
(no backshift)“I write poems.”He says that he writes poems.
(backshift)“I write poems.”
He said that he wrote poems.

No backshift

Do not change the tense if the introductory clause is in a present tense (e. g. He says). Note, however, that you might have to change the form of the present tense verb (3rd person singular).

Example:
He says, “I write poems.” – He says that he writes English.

Backshift

You must change the tense if the introductory clause is in a past tense (e. g. He said).

Example:
He said, “I am happy.” – He said that he was happy.

Examples of the main changes in tense:

Direct SpeechReported Speech
Simple Present
He said: "I am happy"
Simple Past
He said that he was happy
Present Progressive
He said: "I’m looking for my keys"
Past Progressive
He said that he was looking for his keys

3-Pronouns, place and time expressions

Place and time expressions change if the context of the reported statement (ie the location and/or the period of time) is different from that of the direct speech.

In the following tables, you will find ways of transforming personal pronouns, place and time expressions into reported speech.

 

Changes in Personal Pronouns: 
 

Ihe, she
youhe, she, they
wethey
theythey
he, shehe, she, I

Changes in Possessive Pronouns: 
 

myhis, her, my
yourhis, her, my
his, herhis, her
theirtheir
our,their

Changes in Places: 
 

herethere
thisthat
thesethose

here, there

at the George Hotel, at school

Changes in Time: 
 

last year, last month, last weekthe year/month/week before
yesterday,

the day before yesterday

the day before, 

two days before

todaythat day, yesterday, the day before
tomorrowthe next day
the day after tomorrowin two days
next week/month/yearthe following week/month/year
on Mondayon Monday, 11th December
this morning / afternoon / evening/nightthat morning / afternoon / evening/ night
last week, month, yearthe previous week, month, year
three days, weeks, months, ...years agothree days, weeks, months, .....years before


Examples of the main changes in tense:

Direct SpeechReported Speech
Simple Present
He said: "I am happy"
Simple Past
He said that he was happy
Present Progressive
He said: "I’m looking for my keys"
Past Progressive
He said that he was looking for his keys
12/03/2012 22:56 miprimerzarzablog #. ENGLISH

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