FCE Grammar Revision

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Reported Speech - Part 2/3

 

This is Reported Speech, Second Part. 
Let's see what happens to Auxiliary Verbs; learn about special verbs you can use to improve your reporting; additional changes in time-clauses, and more...

The Past Perfect tenses, the Conditional tenses and the Past of Intention cannot be made more past, so these tenses do not change:

Past Perfect Simple

DIRECT SPEECH: He said, "I had gone to bed very early".
REPORTED SPEECH: He said he had gone to bed very early.

Conditional 

DIRECT SPEECH: They said, "We would like to visit Venice".
REPORTED SPEECH: They said they would like to visit Venice.

Past of Intention

DIRECT SPEECH: She said, "I was going to win".
REPORTED SPEECH: She said she was going to win.

OTHER AUXILIARY VERBS

Some auxiliary verbs have a past tense, and in these cases they go "one tense back" in reported speech. Remember that they can also be replaced by their similars with able to (in the case of "can") or have to (in the case of "must"):

DIRECT SPEECH

REPORTED SPEECH

can 

could 

may 

might 

must 

must / had to

However, other auxiliary verbs (could, would, should, might, ought to, used to and mustn't) have no past form and so they do not change. Some examples:

could

DIRECT SPEECH: He said, "I could fly because the weather was fine".
REPORTED SPEECH: He said he could fly because the weather was fine. 

ought to 

DIRECT SPEECH: They said, "We ought to pay him a better salary".
REPORTED SPEECH: They said they ought to pay him a better salary.

used to

DIRECT SPEECH: She said, "I used to live in London".
REPORTED SPEECH: She told me she used to live in London.

OMISSION OF "THAT" 

It is possible to omit the relative pronoun that after the reporting verb (he said that...; he told that...). In general, USE this relative pronoun when you are writing and OMIT it when you are speaking.

SAY / SAID vs. TELL / TOLD 

In general:

1. Use SAY when the person spoken to is not mentioned in the sentence: e.g. I said I was angry.
2. Use TELL when the person spoken to is given: e.g. I told him I was angry.

VERBS USED IN REPORTED STATEMENTS 

SAY and TELL are the most common verbs used in indirect or reported statements. But other common verbs used in the reporting clause include: agree, mention, notice, promise and think. You can also use complain (criticise), confide (admit confess), deny (contradict, refuse), grumble (complain, moan), speculate (conjecture), and warn (alert, caution). PLEASE notice that we DO NOT NORMALLY OMIT the relative that after these more formal verbs.
e.g. They agreed that we should visit them on Monday. 
e.g. He promised that he would come next day.
e.g. The murderer denied that he had killed the old man.

A number of verbs in reported speech have to have an indirect object (like tell). These include: assure, convince, inform, notify, persuade, reassure (comfort) and remind (make someone remember something):
e.g. I assured them that I wouldn't arrive late. You cannot say: "I assured that I wouldn't arrive late").
e.g. She convinced me that I could travel to Spain.
e.g. They notified us that we were fired.

Certain verbs (admit, deny, mention and report) CAN BE FOLLOWED by a that-clause or by an -ing clause:
e.g. He denied that he had taken the money  =  He denied taking the money
e.g. She mentioned that she had seen Jim  =  She mentioned seeing Jim.

 

SOME ADDITIONAL CHANGES 

Certain words which are specific to the context in which direct speech happens, also NEED TO BE CHANGED. The general rule is:

DIRECT
SPEECH

REPORTED
SPEECH

this 

that or the

these 

those or the

here 

there 

now 

then 

ago

before 

today 

that day 

this morning

that morning 

last week 

the previous week 

last month 

the previous month 

last year 

the previous year 

next week 

the following week 

next month 

the following month 

next year 

the following year 

yesterday 

the day before 

tomorrow 

the next day or
the following day

the day before yesterday 

two days before

the day after tomorrow 

in two days time or
two days later

However, in reality it may be necessary to be more specific: 
THIS 
  THE BOOK HE WAS HOLDING IN HIS HAND
e.g. He asked, "Who does this belong to?".
He asked who the book in his hand belonged to. (We don't say: "that book"; it is not very specific).

HERE 
  IN THE SITTING ROOM
e.g. She said, "My father was here". 
She said that her father had been in the sitting room. (We don't say: "there"; it is not very specific).

Reported Speech - Part 3/3

 

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