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.