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Grammar 65 - Reporting Verbs 2
'He said to me, "Why didn't you bring the new mouth organ to the party." - Can you rewrite this sentence using indirect speech?

Grammar 65 - Reporting Verbs 2

Reporting verbs are important in reported speech, whether it is direct or indirect. There are several rules of grammar to follow when dealing with reporting verbs. But don't worry - this is the second of two High English quizzes which will familiarise you with the correct grammar to use with reporting verbs when writing reported speech.

Generally, the reporting verbs tell their own tale and set the mood in sentences. In addition, there is a change in the tense when reporting speech. When a person is speaking and another person is reporting what the person has spoken, generally present tense is changed into past tense. Look at these examples where the first sentence in direct speech is rewritten in indirect speech:

‘She said, “What did you bring for Christmas?”’
‘She asked him what he had brought for Christmas.’

This rule is not universal though! When a letter is being read or a conversation that is going on is reported, the reporting verb is in present tense. There are some other changes in direct and indirect speech. Possessive adjectives and pronouns change from first or second person to third person, as in this example:

‘She said, “I have decided to change my college”’ is changed to
‘She said that she has decided to change her college.’ However, when the speaker is reporting his own words he continues to use the first person.

Expressions of time and place also undergo change. For instance, ‘today’ in direct speech is changed to ‘that day’ in indirect speech. Other such examples include ‘yesterday-the day before; next week-the following week; here-there; these-those and come-go.’

We must note that we have to moderate these changes based on the context of the sentence. One important change is seen in interrogative sentences in direct speech. They invariably change to affirmative sentences in indirect speech. Here's an example:

‘”Is anyone there?” she asked.’
‘She enquired if anyone was there.’

The first sentence is direct speech and in indirect speech it becomes the second sentence, an affirmative sentence.

Subtle changes are also seen when reporting direct commands, requests, and advice. Here's an example:

‘”Don’t eat too fast,” the nutritionist said to me.’
‘The nutritionist warned me not to eat too fast.’

The first sentence is direct speech and the second is indirect speech. Using reporting verbs is tricky and the quiz that follows helps you to understand them better.

1.
Choose the sentence that is incorrect from the following options.
My parents could not understand where all of us are gone.
The policeman warned the children to be careful while walking on the footpath.
The parking attendant directed me to the correct parking slot.
The Chief Minister chided his minister for coming late to the meeting.
The correct sentence is 'My parents could not understand where all of us were gone.' Present tense is changed to past tense in reported speech
2.
'He said, "Can you play?" and I said, "No."'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
He asked me If I can play and I said I could not.
He asked me If I could play and I said I could not.
He asked me If I could play and I said I cannot.
He asked me If he could play and I said he could not.
When a person is speaking and another person is reporting what they have said, generally present tense is changed into past tense
3.
'Anamika said, "I have decided to give up smoking."'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
Anamika said that herself has decided to quit smoking.
Anamika said that me has decided to quit smoking.
Anamika said that I have decided to quit smoking.
Anamika said that she has decided to quit smoking.
Remember that in reported speech first or second person changes to third person
4.
Choose the sentence that is incorrect from the following options.
The autoriksha driver asked where the passenger wanted to go.
They asked me when I had reached Bangalore.
He said that he studied in the Doon School.
The teacher inquired how I am.
The correct sentence would be 'The teacher inquired how I was.' Present tense is changed to past tense in reported speech
5.
'He said, "Congratulations."'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
He congratulate me.
He congratulating me.
He congratulated me.
He congratulates me.
When a person is speaking and another person is reporting what they have said, generally present tense is changed into past tense
6.
'Manav said, "What a great movie!"'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
Manav exclaimed that it was a great movie.
Manav exclaimed that it is a great movie.
Manav exclaim that it was a great movie.
Manav exclaims that it was a great movie.
When a person is speaking and another person is reporting what they have said, generally present tense is changed into past tense. In addition, exclamatory sentences in direct speech become statements in indirect speech
7.
'We said, "We cannot wait any longer."'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
They said that we could not wait any longer
We said that we could not wait any longer
They said that they could not wait any longer
We said that they could not wait any longer
Remember that in reported speech first or second person changes to third person except when the speaker/s is/are reporting his/her/their own words
8.
'He said to me, "Why didn't you bring the new mouth organ to the party."'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
He asked me why I had not bring the new mouth organ to the party.
He asked me why I had not bringing the new mouth organ to the party.
He asked me why I had not brings the new mouth organ to the party.
He asked me why I had not brought the new mouth organ to the party.
When a person is speaking and another person is reporting what the person has spoken, generally present tense is changed into past tense. In addition, if a direct speech begins with a question word (why), the question word is repeated in indirect speech
9.
'"I went with him cycling yesterday," he said.'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
He said I went with him cycling the day before.
He said he went with him cycling yesterday.
He said he went with him cycling the day before.
He said I went with him cycling the day before.
Remember that in reported speech expressions of time and place undergo change. Here, 'yesterday' is referred to as 'the day before' in reported speech.
10.
'"We shall go on a trip to study the Gol Gumbaz," said the teacher to his students.'
Rewrite this sentence in reported speech.
The teacher informed his students that they would go on a trip to study the Gol Gumbaz.
The teacher informs his students that they would go on a trip to study the Gol Gumbaz.
The teacher informing his students that they would go on a trip to study the Gol Gumbaz.
The teacher is informing his students that they would go on a trip to study the Gol Gumbaz.
When a person is speaking and another person is reporting what the person has said, generally present tense is changed into past tense. The other options do not use the past tense
Author:  V T Narendra

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