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Grammar 64 - Reporting Verbs 1
''"Why does the earth go around the sun?" the child persisted.' - Persisted is a reporting verb used to show curiosity, emphasis, or demand.

Grammar 64 - Reporting Verbs 1

Verbs form a vital component of the English language - they are one of the parts of speech that define it. Verbs are the action part of the basic communicating tool – the sentence. A sentence is not complete without a verb and a noun in it. Thus, the verb is one of the most important elements of the language. One of the places where verbs are useful is in reported direct or indirect speech. These are called reporting verbs and this is the first of two High English quizzes which will help you to understand their use.

We have learnt in the past various properties of verbs and the way to use them in sentences. Verbs, besides being action verbs, also indicate tense and need to be in agreement with the subject of the sentence. Reporting verbs are an important element in reported speech and they are used effectively to convey a wealth of meaning to the communication. Reporting verbs are used both in direct and indirect speech. The usefulness of reporting verbs can be seen in the following examples of indirect speech:

‘The customer SAID that the restaurant was filthy.’
‘The customer COMPLAINED that the restaurant was filthy.’
‘The customer DECLARED that the restaurant was filthy.’

Using direct speech the sentences would read like this:

'"The restaurant is filthy," the customer SAID.'
'"The restaurant is filthy," the customer COMPLAINED.'
'"The restaurant is filthy," the customer DECLARED.'

We notice that the capitalised words are the reporting verbs. We also notice that the reporting verbs themselves set the tone for the kind of message that is communicated. The first sentence is a plain statement, the second sentence has an element of complaint and in the third sentence, there is a heralding (negatively) of the quality of the restaurant.

Reporting verbs can express certain types of mood/manner. In addition, certain moods/manner can be expressed by particular reporting verbs. Thus, the same reporting verb can express different moods/manner and a mood/manner can be expressed by different reporting verbs. We note that reporting verbs are used both in direct and indirect speech. The quiz that follows helps you to understand reporting verbs.

1.
'Congress members protested that the offensive words must be expunged.'
Choose the reporting verb in the sentence.
expunged
offensive
protested
must
'Protested' is the reporting verb. The verb shows the manner or mood of the Congress members when an offensive word was used against them
2.
'Exploded' is a reporting verb usually used in reported speech. What manner/mood/purpose does it normally show?
anxious, pleasant
curious, compassionate
polite, responsible
angry, emphatic
'Exploded' is used to show anger or emphasis. For instance, '"I am going to fire you," exploded the manager on hearing the representative's sales figures for the quarter.'
3.
'Informed' is a reporting verb usually used in reported speech. What manner/mood/purpose does it normally show?
angry, emphatic
conscious of duty, responsible
worried, restless
upset, demanding
'Informed' is used to show a sense of duty or responsibility. For instance, '"I am going to the market to buy vegetables," the servant informed the master.'
4.
'The cricket coach warned his wards against missing practice and being inattentive.'
Choose the reporting verb in the sentence.
being
missing
against
warned
'Warned' is the reporting verb. The verb indicates the manner in which the coach speaks to the wards, which is to threaten
5.
'"Oh God! Mrs Peters is giving us another test," the students wailed, when they heard the teacher announce the test.'
Choose the reporting verb in the sentence.
wailed
heard
announce
giving
'Wailed' is the reporting verb. This verb reveals the students' reaction to the announcement. They show utter dislike to another test
6.
'Persisted' is a reporting verb usually used in reported speech. What manner/mood/purpose does it normally show?
worried, anxious, upset
polite, responsible, confident
curious, emphatic, demanding
anxious, angry, annoyed
'Persisted' is used to show curiosity, emphasis, or demand. For instance, '"Why does the earth go around the sun," persisted the insistent child.'
7.
'"Form two lines, form two lines'" shouted the class monitor, firmly pulling and pushing the children until two lines were formed.'
Choose the reporting verb in the sentence.
formed
pulling
pushing
shouted
'Shouted' is the reporting verb. The verb shows the impatient or irritable manner of the class monitor as she goes about forming the two lines
8.
'"Mr Chief Secretary, you must tell me what you meant when you said that my actions were suspect," insisted Manav.'
Choose the reporting verb in the sentence.
tell
insisted
said
meant
'Insisted' is the reporting verb. Here, the verb reveals the emphatic manner in which Manav seeks a response from the Chief Secretary
9.
'Cried' is a reporting verb usually used in reported speech. What manner/mood/purpose does it normally show?
worried, anxious, upset
polite, responsible, confident
emphatic, angry, annoyed
sense of duty, calmness, serenity
'Cried' is used to show worry, anxiety or disturbance. For instance,' "I have lost my passport," cried the poor passenger.'
10.
'"I used to throw out my milk when my mother was not looking," confessed Arpana, when asked about her childhood.'
Choose the reporting verb in the sentence.
confessed
looking
throw
asked
'Confessed' is the reporting verb. The verb reveals the mood of admission by Arpana when she confesses that she was not drinking her milk
Author:  V T Narendra

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