FCE Grammar Revision

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Reported Speech - Part 1/3

 

When we want to say what someone said we can either put his/her words between inverted commas (e.g. He said, "You are mad") or we can express the idea in Reported Speech (e.g. He said that I was mad).

Direct Speech is common in novels, in plays (theatrical pieces) and when giving quotes (repetition of famous phrases). However Indirect Speech is more normal in live conversation, in reports and academic work. Moreoever you need to know how to use Indirect Speech if you are going to do an exam in English.

The conversion from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech (or Reported Speech) is particularly appropiate for transformation exercises, such as those in FCE (Cambridge First Certificate), Paper Three

Underneath you will find a CONVERSION TABLE (from Direct Speech to Reported Speech and viceversa) which we hope you find useful and practical.

INDIRECT STATEMENTS

Occasionally the reporting verb (e.g. he says, he tells me, etc.) is in the present. In this case, pronouns will change in Indirect Speech, but the tenses in the reported clause stay the same:

DIRECT SPEECH: He says, "I will do it".
REPORTED SPEECH: He says that he will do it.

However, it is much more common that the reporting verb is in the past (she said, she told me, etc.). In this case the tenses in the reported clause have to change. The changes of tense are governed by what we call the "ONE-TENSE-BACK" RULE. This simply says that the tense of the verb has to go one tense further into the past, as this Conversion Table shows:

 

DIRECT SPEECH

REPORTED SPEECH

Present Simple 

Past Simple 

She said, "I am happy".
He said: "I work everyday".

She said that she was happy.
He said that he worked everyday.

Present Progressive (Continuous) 

Past Progressive (Continuous) 

You said, "They are swimming".

You said that they were swimming.

Present Perfect Simple 

Past Perfect Simple 

He said, "I have bought a car".

He said that he had bought a car.

Past Simple 

Past Perfect Simple 

He said, "I bought a hamster".

He said that he had bought a hamster.

Past Progressive (Continuous) 

Past Perfect Progressive (Continuous) 

You said, "I was working".

You said that you had been working.

Future of Intention ("going to") 

Past of Intention ("going to") 

She said, "I am going to win".

She said that she was going to win.

Future Simple 

Conditional 

They said, "We will lose".

They said that they would lose.

Future Perfect

Perfect Conditional

She said, "I will have bought it by Friday".

She said that she would have bought it by Friday.

Future Progressive (Continuous) 

Progressive (Continuous) Conditional 

She said, "I will be having tea at 8 pm".

She said that she would be having tea at 8 pm. 

Present Perfect Progressive (Continuous)

Past Perfect Progressive (Continuous)

She said, "I have been painting the ceiling".

She said that she had been painting the ceiling.

Reported Speech - Part 2/3

 

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