Reported speech

دوره: گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / اپیزود 41

گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه

60 اپیزود

Reported speech

توضیح مختصر

Finn gives Neil a sandwich while Neil and Catherine take a look at the grammar of reported speech. Find out what to do with pronouns, tenses and word order when you report what someone else says. Pick up a top pronunciation tip and test what youve learnt with our quiz.

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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Catherine Hello. Welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Catherine.

Neil And me, Neil.

Catherine Neil, have a sandwich. It’s from Finn. He said you were hungry.

Neil Really?

Catherine Yes! He said… In fact, Finn said: “He’s hungry. Give him a sandwich.”

Neil Wow! That’s very kind of Finn. It’s delicious.

Catherine And in today’s programme we’re talking about reported speech.

Neil We’ll be discussing why and when we use it. And we’ll see how to form it…

Catherine We use reported speech when we want to report something that another person said. In our example, Finn originally said:

Finn He’s hungry.

Neil That’s direct speech. Catherine reported the direct speech, like this:

Catherine Finn said you were hungry.

Neil Let’s look at that more closely. We need to make some grammatical changes when we report what someone else says. First, when the speaker or listener changes, we need to change the pronouns.

Catherine That’s right. Finn used he in direct speech to talk about Neil:

Finn
He is hungry.

Neil Then Catherine told me what Finn said.

Catherine Finn said you were hungry.

Neil Second change: In reported speech we often move the tense back one step into the past. So is hungry becomes were hungry .

Catherine But we don’t have to change the verb tense in reported speech if the situation is generally true. Here’s an example. Finn, give us a sentence please:

Finn OK. I love cheese sandwiches.

Catherine Thank you, Finn. And Neil, can you report what Finn said, please?

Neil Yes. Finn said he loves cheese sandwiches.

Catherine OK. So there we don’t change loves to loved , because Finn loves cheese sandwiches and that’s a general truth.

Neil Now the third thing we need with reported speech is a reporting verb. Say and tell are the most common ones. And we usually put them in the past tense. For example: Finn said Neil was hungry.

Catherine Now let’s look at how to report questions with question words like What and Who .

Neil We’ll hear the direct speech first from Finn, then Catherine will give us the reported speech.

Finn What’s the time?

Catherine Finn asked what the time was.

Neil The reporting verb comes first, then the question word, and then the reported sentence with the tense moved back. And don’t forget to change the word order from question word order to statement word order. Another one please Finn and Catherine?

Finn Who ate the cake?

Catherine He asked who’d eaten the cake.

Neil OK, now it’s time to look at pronunciation.

Catherine Yes, pronuciation. Some past tense forms in reported speech can be difficult to hear. In the last example, the two words who and had become who’d. He asked who’d eaten the cake.

Neil So had is shortened to just a /d/ sound. Listen out for the short /d/ sound in this next example:

Finn She asked where I’d gone.

Neil So, the phrase I had becomes I’d . One more time please Finn:

Finn She asked where I’d gone.

Catherine Thank you, Finn. So watch out for contractions in reported speech.

Neil And now are you ready?

Catherine For a quiz?

Neil It’s quiz time! Finn is going to say some sentences in direct speech. As you listen, decide what the correct reported speech is. Here’s the first one.

Finn I’ve eaten my lunch.

Neil Is the reported speech a) He said he’s eating his lunch or b) He said he’d eaten his lunch?

Catherine And the answer is b) He said he’d eaten his lunch. The present perfect changes to the past perfect.

Neil OK. Next one please Finn:

Finn I go to work by bus.

Neil Is the reported speech a) Finn said he goes to work by bus or b) Finn said he’s going to work by bus?

Catherine And it’s a) Finn said he goes to work by bus.

Neil OK. And here’s the last one:

Finn Where are my glasses?

Neil Is it a) He asked where were his glasses or b) He asked where his glasses were?

Catherine And the right answer is b) He asked where his glasses were.

Neil Now, before we go, there’s just enough time for a top tip. With the reporting verb tell we say who the person is talking to, for example, Finn told me he’s going to pay for lunch today.

Catherine Wow! And when we use the reporting verb say we don’t say who the person is talking to. So this next sentence is wrong:

Neil Finn said me he was going to pay for lunch today.

Catherine Yes, that’s wrong but this one is correct:

Neil Finn said he was going to pay for lunch today.

Catherine So that’s reported speech.

Neil
There’s more about this on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for 6 Minute Grammar.

Neil and Catherine Bye.

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