This blog has been designed to share interesting materials with my secondary EFL students (14-17) but you are welcome if you also find it useful to improve your English.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Reported Speech

  • Tenses change from present to past (if we are talking about what somebody said in the past):
    • am 15.”  He said he was 15.
    • We have a problem.” They said they had a problem.
    • can swim.”  She said that she could swim.
    • She comes by bus.”  He said that she came by bus.
    • Your sister doesn’t like pizza.”  She said that my sister didn’t like pizza.
    • You are looking through the window.”  He said that I was looking through the window.
    • They will probably fail.”  She said that they would probably fail.
    • My mother saw a mouse.”  She said that her mother had seen a mouse.
  • Personal pronouns change (if somebody is telling
    what somebody else has said before):
    • I am 15.”  He said he was 15.
    • My mother saw a mouse.”  She said that her mother had seen a mouse.
    • We saw you at the cinema.”  They said that they had seen me at the cinema.
  • Place and time complements have to be adapted to the new context:
    • He came here.” ⇨ They said that he had gone there. 
    • It’s raining today”  Jake said that it was raining then / yesterday.
    • I saw you last week.” ⇨ She said that she had seen me the week before.

  • Tell and say are common reporting verbs. (Tell is used before an indirect object.):
    • She said that she liked pizza.
    • My mother told me to go with her.
    • Everyone said that the lesson was very difficult.
    • He told his friends about my illness.

  • Other verbs can be used: know, promise, insist, warn...
  • That can be omitted after say:
    • She said that she liked pizza. She said she liked pizza.
    • They knew that he liked her. They knew she liked her.

  • Typical reporting verbs are: ask, wonder, want to know.
    • He wanted to know the opening times of the museum.
    • She wondered how old my mother was.
  • Subject always comes before the verb:
    • She asked me how old I was.
  • If the question is answered with yes or no, if should be introduced before the indirect question:
    • My sister asked if you wanted to come with us.
    • I wondered if she was watching the programme on TV.
  • If the questions cannot be answered with yes or no, and usually begins with how / when / what / where  / who / how old... you keep this element in the reported speech and don't add if:
    • He asked me "What is your name? " ⇒ He asked me what my name was.
    • My mother asked me: "What time did you arrive?" ⇒ My mother asked me what time I had arrived.
    • Gina asked: "When will you come tomorrow?" ⇒ Gina asked when I would come / go the following day.
  • We use ask / tell + object + (not) + to + infinitive to say what people want(ed) us to do:
  • Please, open the window.” ⇨ She asked us to open the window.
  • Tidy your room.” ⇨ My father told me to tidy my room.
  • Don’t smoke here.” ⇨ My aunt asked me not to smoke in her car.

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