Campus Recruitment – Verbal Ability – Reported Speech
When somebody says something to us, there are two ways of reporting it. We may quote the actual words, which is called Direct Speech.
e.g.: Rajesh said, “I am going to class now.”
Another way of reporting this would be to say what he said, in our own way without quoting his exact words. This is called Indirect or Reported Speech.
e.g.: Rajesh said that he was going to class then.
When we quote the exact words of the speaker, we place the words of the speaker within inverted commas. Further changes are also necessary when we report what a person has said in our own words. The changes that have taken place are:
- I has become ‘he’.
- The conjunction ‘that’ is used before the indirect statement.
- Present continuous tense is changed to past continuous as there is a time lapse between when it was said and when it was reported. .
- ‘Now’ has changed to ‘then’.
General rules for changing from direct speech to reported speech:
- When the reporting verb is in present tense, there is
no change of tense in the reported speech.
e.g.: The watchman says, “The gates close at 10:00 pm”.
The watchman says that the gates close at 10:00 pm This is normally used for universal truths, instructions etc.
- Apart from the above rule, there is always a change of tense whenever something is reported. The change in tense occurs as follows:
|Simple present||Simple past|
|Present continuous||Past continuous|
|Present perfect||Past perfect|
|Present perfect continuous||Past perfect continuous|
|Simple past||Simple past/ Past perfect|
|Can, may, will||Could, might, would|
- Pronouns in first and second person change to third person.
- In statements, the reported verb is usually said or told.
e.g.: He said, “I will come tomorrow”.
He said that he would come the next day
This brings us to another point. Words expressing nearness in time or places, change into words expressing distance.
|Tomorrow||The next day|
|Yesterday||The day before|
|Last night||The night before|
- Interrogatives with ‘yes’/ ‘no’ are introduced by ‘if or ‘whether’.
e.g.: Smitha asked Rani, “Are you coming tomorrow?”
Smitha asked Rani if she was coming the next day.
Smitha asked Rani whether she was coming the next day.
- Questions starting with ‘WH’ do not require a reporting verb. Since these are indirect questions, attention must be paid to the sentence structure.
e.g.: The teacher asked Arun, “Why are you late”?
The teacher asked Arun why he was late.
- In imperative sentences, the reporting verb indicates the mood of the speaker. Words like ordered, requested, pleaded, enquired, urged etc are used.
e.g.: The policeman said to the motorcyclist, “Stop!”
The policeman ordered the motorcyclist to stop.
- While reporting exclamations, greetings or wishes, some verb expressing exclamation or wish is used.
e.g.: The student told the teacher, “Good Morning”.
The student greeted the teacher.
The other common expressions for exclamations are, exclaimed, congratulated, apologized, applauded etc.