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المكتبة > دروس و ملخصات > Reported Speech

English Grammar - Reported comma

Reported Speech - Indirect Speech

    If the reporting verb (i.e. said) is in the past, the reported clause will be in a past form. This form is usually one step back into the past from the original.
For example:

  • He said the test was difficult.

  • She said she watched TV every day.

  • Jack said he came to school every day.

    If simple present, present perfect or the future is used in the reporting verb (i.e. says) the tense is retained.
For example:

  • He says the test is difficult.

  • She has said that she watches TV every day.

  • Jack will say that he comes to school every day.

    If reporting a general truth the present tense will be retained.
For example:

  • The teacher said that phrasal verbs are very important.

Changing Pronouns and Time Signifiers

    When changing from direct speech to indirect speech, it is often necessary to change the pronouns to match the subject of the sentence.
For example:

  • She said, "I want to bring my children." BECOMES She said she wanted to bring her children.

  • Jack said, "My wife went with me to the show." BECOMES Jack said his wife had gone with him to the show.

    It is also important to change time words (signifiers) when referring to present, past or future time to match the moment of speaking.
For example:

  • She said, "I want to bring my children tomorrow." BECOMES She said she wanted to bring her children the next day.

  • Jack said, "My wife went with me to the show yesterday." BECOMES Jack said his wife had gone with him to the show the day before.

1- If the sentence starts in the present, there is no backshift of tenses in Reported speech.
Example: Susan: "I work in an office." Susan says that she works in an office.

2- If the sentence starts in the past, there is often backshift of tenses in Reported speech. (see: Note)
Example: Susan: "I work in an office." Susan said that she worked in an office.

Backshift of tenses

from

to

Simple Present

Simple Past

Simple Past

Past Perfect

Present Perfect

Past Perfect

will

would

Progressive forms

am/are/is

was/were

was/were

had been

has been

had been


 

Backshift of tenses

from

to

Peter: "I work in the garden."

Peter said that he worked in the garden.

Peter: "I worked in the garden."

Peter said that he had worked in the garden.

Peter: "I have worked in the garden."

Peter: "I had worked in the garden."

Peter: "I will work in the garden."

Peter said that he would work in the garden.

Peter: "I can work in the garden."

Peter said that he could work in the garden.

Peter: "I may work in the garden."

Peter said that he might work in the garden.

Peter: "I would work in the garden."
(could, might, should, ought to)

Peter: "I would work in the garden."
(could, might, should, ought to)

Progressive forms

Peter: "I'm working in the garden."

Peter said that he was working in the garden.

Peter: "I was working in the garden."

Peter said that he had been working in the garden.

Peter: "I have been working in the garden."

Peter: "I had been working in the garden."

3- If the sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it as well.
Example:

Peter: "I worked in the garden yesterday."
Peter said that he had worked in the garden the day before.

Shifting of expressions of time

this (evening)

that (evening)

today/this day

that day

these (days)

those (days)

now

then

(a week) ago

(a week) before

last weekend

the weekend before / the previous weekend

here

there

next (week)

the following (week)

tomorrow

the next/following day

Note: In some cases the backshift of tenses is not necessary, e.g. when statements are still true.
Example:

John: "My brother is at Leipzig university."
John said that his brother was at Leipzig university. or
John said that his brother is at Leipzig university.

or

Mandy: "The sun rises in the East."
Mandy said that the sun rose in the East. or
Mandy said that the sun rises in the East.

Reported commands

    If you put a command into Reported speech there are some steps which are the same like in statements: (changing of the person, backshift of tenses, changing of expressions of time).

The form is mostly:  form of to tell + to + infinitive.

Affirmative commands

Negative commands

Father: "Do your homework."

Teacher. "Don't talk to your neighbour."

Father told me to do my homework.

The teacher told me not to talk to my neighbour.

Reported questions

    If you put a question into Reported speech there are some steps which are the same like in statements: (changing of the person, backshift of tenses, changing of expressions of time).
    In Reported speech there is no question anymore, the sentence becomes a statement.
That's why the word order is: subject - verb

1- Question without question words (yes/no questions):
Peter: "Do you play football?" - Peter asked me whether (if) I played football.

2- Question with question words:
Peter: "When do you play football?" - Peter asked me when I played football.

Indirect Questions

    When reporting questions, it is especially important to pay attention to sentence order. When reporting yes/ no questions connect the reported question using 'if'. When reporting questions using question words (why, where, when, etc.) use the question word.
For example:

  • She asked, "Do you want to come with me?" BECOMES She asked me if I wanted to come with her.

  • Dave asked, "Where did you go last weekend?" BECOMES Dave asked me where I had gone the previous weekend.

  • He asked, "Why are you studying English?" BECOMES She asked me why I was studying English.

    The following chart includes sentences changed from quoted speech to reported speech using a past form. Note Simple past, present perfect, and past perfect all change to past perfect in the reported form.

He said, "I live in Paris."

He said he lived in Paris.

He said, "I am cooking dinner."

He said he was cooking dinner.

He said, "I have visited London twice."

He said he had visited London twice.

He said, "I went to New York last week."

He said he had gone to New York the week before.

He said, "I had already eaten."

He said he had already eaten.

He said, "I am going to find a new job."

He said he was going to find a new job.

He said, "I will give Jack a call."

He said he would give Jack a call.

 

- THE END -


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