Thursday, September 8, 2011

GR - Reported Speech part 1

Alright, everyone. We're starting a GrammarReminder series on how to report what someone said or wrote. This is called reported speech or indirect speech. Using this grammar point correctly in your writing and speaking shows that your English is at an advanced level. So let's practice!

First, make sure you have a good grasp of the verb tenses because we have to shift them when we report what someone said. Next, be aware of the pronouns, which need to be changed when you're talking about someone. Third, you may also have to modify time references depending on when you're reporting the speech.

Perhaps the part that you have to think about most when you report someone's speech is the change in the verb tense. Basically, we shift the tense back because we are talking about what someone said in the past.  In other words, if someone says something in the present tense, when we report what this person said, we change the verb to the past tense--btw, if you use "say" instead of "said", there is no need to shift verb tenses.

Here are the rules for shifting verb tenses from Quoted Speech to Reported Speech:

Quoted Speech       ----->     Reported Speech
present tense         ----->     past tense
past tense              ----->     past perfect tense
present perfect      ----->     past perfect tense
past perfect           ----->     (no change)
will                        ----->     would
can                       ----->     could
may                       ----->     might
imperative              ----->     infinitive

Stay tuned for examples in future posts. For now, why not sign up to get email updates from the small blog. Scroll down and enter your email address on the right margin and get our lessons automatically in your mailbox!

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