QUOTED AND REPORTED SPEECH

QUOTED AND REPORTED SPEECH

(Direct and Indirect Speech)

Quoted  and  reported  speech,  also  referred  to  as  direct  and  indirect speech,  are  used frequently,  both  in  writing  and  in  everyday  speech. Journalists use  quoted  speech  in their  articles,  and  everyone  uses  the odd  quote  when  relating  an  interesting  story. Reported  speech  can  be found  in  business  writing,  journalistic  writing,  and  again,  in everyday speech.
  • Direct Speech / Quoted Speech

Shows a person’s exact words. Quotation marks (“….”) are a sign that the words are the EXACT words that a person used.

For example:
Maria asked, “Where are you going?”
John replied, “I’m going home.”
  • Indirect Speech / Reported Speech
Puts the speaker’s words or ideas into a sentence without quotation marks. Noun clauses are usually used. (In reported speech, the reader does not assume that the words are the speaker’s exact words; often, they are a paraphrase of the speaker’s words.
For example:
Maria asked John where he was going.
John said he was going home.
Note:
Use of the word “that” is optional in reported speech. Both of the following sentences are correct:
The boy said that he was lost.
The boy said he was lost.
VERB TENSE IN REPORTED SPEECH
Tense change

As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right):

Direct speech Indirect speech
Present simple
She said, “It’s cold.”
Past simple
She said it was cold.
Present continuous
She said, “I’m teaching English online.”
Past continuous
She said she was teaching English online.
Present perfect simple
She said, “I’ve been on the web since 1999.”
Past perfect simple
She said she had been on the web since 1999.
Present perfect continuous
She said, “I’ve been teaching English for seven years.”
Past perfect continuous
She said she had been teaching English for seven years.
Past simple
She said, “I taught online yesterday.”
Past perfect
She said she had taught online yesterday.
Past continuous
She said, “I was teaching earlier.”
Past perfect continuous
She said she had been teaching earlier.
Past perfect
She said, “The lesson had already started when he arrived.”
Past perfect
NO CHANGE – She said the lesson had already started when he arrived.
Past perfect continuous
She said, “I’d already been teaching for five minutes.”
Past perfect continuous
NO CHANGE – She said she’d already been teaching for five minutes.

Many modal verb forms also change:

Direct speech Indirect speech
will
She said, “I’ll teach English online tomorrow.”
would
She said she would teach English online tomorrow.
can
She said, “I can teach English online.”
could
She said she could teach English online.
must
She said, “I must have a computer to teach English online.”
had to
She said she had to have a computer to teach English online.
shall
She said, “What shall we learn today?”
should
She asked what we should learn today.
may
She said, “May I open a new browser?”
might
She asked if she might open a new browser.
QUESTIONS IN REPORTED SPEECH

 

Word order: The word order in a reported question is the same as in a statement. The subject comes before the verb.
Question: Are you ready?
Statement: I am ready
Question in reported speech: She wanted to know if I was ready.
Punctuation: If the sentence is a statement, end it with a period (.) even if it contains a reported question.
Statement containing a reported question:
She asked me what I thought of the book.
Question containing a reported question:
Did she ask what you thought of the book?
YES/NO QUESTIONS
To change a yes/no question to a noun clause in reported speech, introduce the noun clause with if or whether. Whether or not may also be used.
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INFORMATION QUESTIONS
To change an information question to a noun clause in reported speech, begin the noun clause with the question word, and remember to use sentence word order.
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