Reported Speech

Lesson 7.1
Reported Speech

English teacher: This is a very important lesson.
Our English teacher said that this was a very important lesson.
The first sentence contains the actual words of the speaker. Usually this appears in quotations, like,
The English teacher said, “This is a very important lesson.”
However, when you go home and tell this to your mother, you will change some of the words.
Our English teacher said that this was a very important lesson.
This way of reporting someone else’s speech is called reported speech. There will not be any quotation marks in reported speech.

Examples:
1. My father said that he was very tired.
2. The conductor said that there was no more space in the bus.
3. The old man said that he wanted to catch the town bus.
4. My uncle said that he would come to visit us the next day.
5. My brother said that he was feeling much better.

When we change direct speeches into reported speeches we change the original words into past tense.
‘I, we, you, me, my, us, our,’ and ‘your’, are not usually seen in reported speeches. They become ‘he, she, they, his, her, him, their’ and ‘them’.
Instead of ‘today, tomorrow’ and ‘yesterday’, we use ‘that day, the next day’ and ‘the previous day’.
The following changes also occur:
Now becomes then
Here becomes there
This becomes that
These becomes those

In English, we use four different basic structures we use to express our thoughts and ideas. Each of them serve a different purpose.

Imperative sentences or command and requests, usually called the fourth type. Since they are the easiest, let’s look at them first.

Imperative sentences are used to get things done by other people. We either request or order. It is the same structure, but when we request, we insert the word ‘please’ in that sentence.
This structure is basically a question which got cut short.
Eg:
Will you come and sit here?
Will you please come and sit here?

Will you / come and sit here
Will you / please come and sit here

If you remove the first two words, they are not questions anymore and the question mark is not needed anymore.

Come and sit here.
Please come and sit here

When we report them we only have to add the word ‘to’.
He said to me, “Listen to me.”
He asked me to listen to him.
He said to me, “Please listen to me.”
He requested me to listen to him.

Exclamatory Sentences (Surprises)

We also express our surprises. Then our sentences still follow the normal sentence format, that is the operative comes just after the subject, but we start with ‘What’ or ‘How’.
What a wonderful idea it is!
How early you are!
Now, when ,you say these sentences, what is the thought in your mind?
It is a really wonderful idea.
You are very early.
So, when we report our surprises, we only have to refer to these thoughts. But use past tense.
He said, “What a wonderful idea!”
He exclaimed that the idea was really wonderful.
The word exclaims is used as a substitute for the exclamation mark which we remove.
He said , “How early you are, Sophy!”
He exclaimed that Sophy was very early.

Interrogative Sentences (Questions)
We also ask questions. Now, questions have a different structure. In questions, the operative comes before the subject.

Statement: They are coming.
Question: Are they coming?
Before we report a question, we should change the order back to that of a sentence.
Let’s try changing some questions into statement clauses.
1. Where are they going?
Where they are going
2. When will he come here?
When he will come here
3. What is the name of that movie?
What the name of that movies is
4. Which is your book
Which your book is
5. How did they manage it?
How they managed it
6. Which language does he speak?
Which language he speaks
(No full stops because they are not sentences but clauses.)

We should insert whether if there is no question word in the given sentence. (a ‘wh’ word like when or where)
Are they coming. (whether they are coming?)
He asked me, “Are they coming?”
He asked me whether they were coming.

Declarative sentences

The answers to such question or statements are reported without much change other than what is common for all kinds of sentences.

Exercise
Report these sentences:

1. Paul said, “I find this very easy.
2. Abijith said, “I want to found a charitable society.”
3. Prajna said, “There were five hours left for the train.”
4. Ananya said, “Who founded the charitable society?”
5. Elizebeth said, “Everyday my parrot lay two eggs.”
6. Usman said to Vishnu, “Where did he lie?”
7. Vivek said, “ What a wonderful idea it was!”
8. Julia said, “I have finished all my work.”
9. Jai Pavithra said, “We were not listening to the instructions.”
10. Sanjana said to Puja, “Where did my puppy go?”
11.Aditya said, “I am not going there tomorrow.”
12 Our teacher said, “I am going home.”
13.She said, “My child is sick.”
14.He said, “They are looking for me.”
15.She said, “I can’t find my shoes.”
16.They said, “We have a lot of work to finish.”
17.Seena said to her brother, “You are very smart.”
18.Sonia said to her father, “My mother is calling you.”
19.Arun said to his teacher, “I have finished my work.”
20. Tanya said to her friend, “Both my parents are abroad.”
21.Somu said to his brother,” You stay here till I come back”.
22.Seema asked her son, ”Where were you when I called you?”
23.Senan asked his teacher, ”Will you come and meet my father today or the next day?”
24.Suresh said, ”I must go and see my father.”
25.Syama said to her daughter, “Please bring me a glass of water.”
26.The commander said to him, “Come and see me in the morning.”
27.The leader said to the followers, “I met the minister yesterday and we discussed this issue in detail.”
28.My mother said, “What a wonderful idea!”
29.My father said, “How bright she is!”
30. The little girl said, “I am going to play a new game.”
31. The man said, “ We were looking for a gap in the wall to get out from this place.”
32. Manu said, “I already have enough troubles of my own.”
33. The teacher said, “The Americans speak English and the Chinese speak Chinese.”
34. My uncle said, “I have a Chinese friend who speaks Spanish.”
35. My cousin said, “There will not be any programme after today’s meeting.”
36. The old woman said, “My son came to my rescue.”
37. The constable asked the old man, “What were you doing here?”
38. My neighbour asked me, “Did you see my friend?”
39. Leela asked me, “Didn’t you see him?”
40. Tanya asked her, “Have you seen my puppy?”
41. Kavya asked her, “Do you go there often?”
42. Balu asked him, “Were you playing football?”
43. Anita asked him, “Did you see my bag?”
44. Amu said, “Let’s watch a movie.”
45. Anu asked her friend, “Is it true that you are going abroad?”
46.“When will you come and see me?” the boy asked the manager.
47.“What did you pay for this old car?” the manager asked the young man.
48.“How can I repair this violin which my father gave me?” the boy asked his friend.
49.“Do you know where your mother puts the old clothes?” the father asked the boy.
50.“Did you recognize your student when you saw him?” the man asked his friend.
51.“Does your employer pay you well?” the husband asked his wife.
52.“Why does it rain every June?” the teacher asked the students.
53.“What a wonderful idea!” the young man said.
54.“Please ask your friend to call on me when he comes this way,” he said to me.
55.“How smart that man is!” my father said.
56. “Will you help me take these books home?” the little girl said to the man.
57.Seema asked her son, “Where did you go after school?”
58.Divya said, “We must come to an agreement.”
59.Suresh said, “I must go and see my father.”
60.Syama said to her daughter, “Please bring me a glass of water.”
61.The teacher said to us, “Please go and ring the bell.”
62.The doctor said, “Kiran, please tell me how you feel.”
63.The commander said to him, “Come and see me in the morning.”
64. The inspector said, “Students, get back to your classes right now.”
65. Our teacher said, “Students, who can help me find the answer?”
66. My father said, “How will they come?”
67. She said, “Doctor, what is wrong with me?”
68. He said, “Meera, where is your notebook?”
69. She said, “Sneha, when do you go to school?”
70. They asked the officer, “Who has done this to us?”
71. Seena asked her brother, “Where were you?”
72. Sonia asked her father, “Where did you go yesterday?”
73. Arun asked his teacher, “How did I do in the test?”
74. Tanya asked her friend, “Whom did you visit there?”
75. The students asked the foreman, “How does the machine work?”
76. The old man said, “Friends, what can we do now?”
77. “When will you come and see me?” the boy asked the manager.
78. “What did you pay for this old car?” the manager asked the young man.
79. “How can I repair this violin which my father gave me?” the boy asked his friend.
80. “Do you know where your mother puts the old clothes?” the father asked the boy.
81.“Does your employer pay you well?” the husband asked his wife.
82. “Why does it rain every June?” the teacher asked the students.
83. “What a wonderful idea!” the young man said.
84. “Please ask your friend to call on me when he comes this way,” he said to me.
85. “How smart that man is!” my father said.
86. The coach said, “Boys, play cricket till it rains.”
87. Seema asked her son, “Where did you go after school?”
88. Kashyap asked Nevin, “When is our PT period today?”
89. Rahul said, “Friends, please find my note book.”
90. Christopher Robin said, “Piglet, where did Pooh go?”
91. Rani said to her sister, “Keep the stove hot till the water boils.”
92. Bambi asked the bears, “Why did you run away?”
93. I asked him, “Will you come to our house tomorrow?”
94. Senan asked his teacher, “Will you come and meet my father today?”
95. Pooh asked, “Christopher Robin, shall I find you again?”
96. Eyore said to Tigger, “Will the skullasaurus eat him up?”
97. Samyukta said, “I have to go there.”

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