Grammar | Reported Speech

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What is this episode about?

Learn the basics of reported speech in this new Grammar episode from English Plus Podcast.

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Show Notes

Disclaimer

I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.

Transcript

Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is about grammar and we will talk about reported speech. We will talk about the basics of reported speech so that you can use it in your own conversations. And now, without further ado, let’s start talking about audit speech in this new grammar episode from English plus podcast.

[00:00:28] Now, let’s say that you sold Paul yesterday and you want to tell somebody what he said. There are two ways of doing this. You can repeat Paul’s words. And that is what we call direct speech. For example, we say, Paul said, and then you have quotation marks and say, I’m feeling ill, or you can use reported speech.

[00:00:47] You can say Paul said that he was feeling ill. Now the great benefit of using reported speech is that when you are not writing. It’s easier for the listener to understand, because when you’re writing the quotation marks, we’ll explain everything. The reader will understand that this is exactly what Paul said.

[00:01:06] These are the exact words of Paul. But what if you’re talking, if you’re talking and say, Paul said, I’m feeling ill. Who are you talking about? I can see the quotation marks it’s speech, right. And here. What does that mean? Does that mean, Paul said that I am ill or that he is ill. So reported speed solves a lot of problems in speaking and saves you from a lot of confusion.

[00:01:31] So that’s why it is important to learn about reported speech. So let’s get started when we use reported speech. The main verb of the sentence is usually passed. For example, we say, Paul said that instead of Paul says that. I told her that instead of I tell her that, for example, we can say both said that he was feeling ill.

[00:01:55] I told Lisa that I didn’t have enough money. Now you can leave out that if you don’t want to use it, you can say bull said that he was feeling ill, or Paul said he was feeling ill. Both are fine. You don’t need that, but you can use it if you want. In general, the present in direct speech changes to the past in reported speech.

[00:02:18] So M is, becomes, was R becomes, were, do, or does becomes, did have, or has, becomes, had, will, would, can, would you get the picture? And for other verbs, obviously we can use the past simple, like want like, no, you can say wanted like new, et cetera. Now we will compare direct and reported speech and we can see how we can transform the verbs to be used correctly in reported speech.

[00:02:44] Now, let’s say that you met Ana and here are some of the things she said in direct speech, indirect speech. She said I’ve lost my phone. So here, if you want the report that you can say, Ana said that she had lost her phone. So here you can notice that it’s not only the verb that turned to the past. We changed the pronoun as well.

[00:03:06] Now here to make it clear, obviously we don’t keep aye. It’s Anna. So we should say she, Anna said that she had lost her phone and yes, she said I have lost my phone, but because in report his speech, we usually use the past form of present verbs. So we bought the past here and Ana said that she had lost her phone.

[00:03:29] Let’s take a look at some other examples, not in direct speech. She said, I want to buy a car. And here in reported speech, we can say, she said that she wanted to buy a car. She said in direct speech, I can’t come to the party on Friday and reported speech. She said that she couldn’t come to the party on Friday.

[00:03:52] Kent becomes couldn’t in direct speech. He said, I don’t have much free time. Now here in reported speech, we can say, she said that she didn’t have much free time in direct speech. Ana said, my parents are fine now in reported speech. She said that her parents were fine. Now, here, you can see why it is important to use reported speech in speaking, because what if we use direct speech with this one?

[00:04:19] And we go for something, like she said that my parents are fine. Or even if we say my parents were fine. Now here, the listener will assume that Anna is talking about my parents, not about her parents. So you see if there is no writing. If there is nothing you can read and see those quotation marks, it’s going to be confusing.

[00:04:41] So report’s speech is much better. Now let’s take a look at one last example. What Ana said in direct speech. She said, I’m going away for a few days. I’ll phone you when I get back. So here, if we want to make that reported speech, we can say, she said that she was going away for a few days and would phone me when she got back.

[00:05:04] So everything turned into the past. I am going became, she was going. I will phone you became, would phone me and I get back became I got back now. That’s okay about the present. If the person in direct speech uses the present, but what if the person uses past in direct speech? The past simple did saw a new et cetera can stay the same in reported speech, or you can change it to the past.

[00:05:32] Perfect. Had done had seen, had known both are fine. Now, for example, in direct speech, Paul said, I woke up feeling ill, so I didn’t go to work. Now you have two ways to report that you can keep it in the past simple, and that’s fine. You can say Paul said that he woke up feeling ill, so he didn’t go to work.

[00:05:55] Or you can use the past. Perfect. You can say Paul said that he had woken up feeling ill, so he hadn’t gone to work. Both are fine, but remember another very important thing is to change the pronouns to make it work. So you just don’t use. I, because I refer to Paul when I want to report that I need to use he, because Paul is a heat, obviously.

[00:06:20] Now let’s talk more about other cases in reported speech. We do not always change the verb in reported speech. Yes. I said at the beginning that we usually change the verb and the present becomes past the past can become past perfect if you want, or you can keep it as past simple, but we do not always change the verb in reported speech.

[00:06:40] If the situation is still the same, it is not necessary to change the verb to the past. For example, In direct speech. Paul said, my job is boring. How hearing report is we can say, Paul said that his job is boring because it is still boring. It is still the same. We can do that. We can keep the verbiage present because the situation is still the same.

[00:07:04] Another example, Helen said, I want to go to Canada next year. The situation is still the same. It is still happening next year. So we can use it in reported without changing the verb to the past. And we can say Helen told me that she wants to go to Canada next year, instead of using wanted. And now saying that we’re just saying that we can keep the verb in the present, but you can change it to the past if you want.

[00:07:30] That’s not a mistake. You can still say, Paul said that his job was boring and the meaning is exactly like the first one. And Helen told me that she wanted to go to Canada next year. That’s fine. So here, if the situation is still the same, you can still change the verb to the past, but it’s not necessary.

[00:07:48] You can keep it in the present, but pay attention to this one. To this situation. If the situation has changed or finished, you need to use a past verb. It is necessary. Let me give you an example. Paul left the room suddenly. He said, I have to go. That’s direct speech. Now here, if I want to report that Paul left the room suddenly he said that he had to go here.

[00:08:12] We can’t use have, or obviously here has, because the situation has changed. Or finished. So in this case, when the situation has changed or finished, remember you can’t keep the verb in present. You have to, you need to use a past verb. Now you need to use the past in reported speech. When what was said is different from what is really true.

[00:08:38] And that is another situation where you can’t keep the verb in present. For example, you met Rachel a few days ago. She said, Have you heard, Joe is in hospital. Remember the situation here you met Rachel a few days ago. She said direct speech here. Have you heard Joe is in hospital now, later that day you meet Joe in the street.

[00:09:02] So obviously the situation is not true or maybe it’s not true anymore. Maybe he got out of the hospital. So here, Joe, this is a surprise. Rachel said you were in hospital. Now here, because Rachel said, Joe is in hospital and the situation is different from what is really true. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe she didn’t know, or maybe she meant someone else or maybe he was actually in hospital, but he left.

[00:09:30] He got out. So here, because the situation is not true anymore. You can’t use the present. You have to use the past. Well here again, if you meet Joe like this, you can say, Joe, this is a surprise. Rachel said you were in hospital, not, you are in hospital. It’s clear that he isn’t he’s in front of you and you’re not in a hospital.

[00:09:50] Right? So now let’s move on and talk about something very important as well. When we talk about reported speed, and that is the two most common verbs that we use to report speech say and tell now, if you say who somebody is talking to you still, for example, Rachel told me that you were in hospital. Not Rachel said me, or you can say, for example, what did you tell the police?

[00:10:14] Not what did you say the police now, otherwise you say, you can say, for example, Rachel said that you were in hospital, not Rachel told that. Remember if you want to use still, you have to say who somebody is talking to tell somebody, tell me, tell the police, et cetera, but here say you can say, Rachel said that you were in hospital.

[00:10:37] Or what did you say? Not what did you tell and stop? You can say, what did you tell John? What did he tell Simon, et cetera. That’s fine. Now you can use say something to somebody that is close to the meaning of tell if you don’t want to use still, obviously you can use still for that, but you can use say something to somebody.

[00:10:55] For example, Anna said goodbye to me and left, not Anna said me goodbye. It doesn’t work this way. Or you can say, what did you say to the police? What did you say to the police? Or remember, you can still say, what did you tell the police now for imperative, we can use tell somebody to, or ask somebody to, for example, we have a direct example, like drink, plenty of water.

[00:11:20] The doctors said to me, That is indirect speech. We have quotation marks around drink, plenty of water. And then we have the doctor said to me, what if I want to report this? We can say, the doctor told me to drink plenty of water, because that is imperative. If you look at the direct speech here, it’s drink plenty of water that’s imperative or another example.

[00:11:42] Don’t work too hard. I said to Joe, You can say here in reported speech, I told Joe not to work too hard. Another example, can you help me please? Jackie said to me, that is a question or it’s not actually a question. It’s a request, but here, since it’s a request, it’s in the form of a question we can use asked me to help her.

[00:12:03] So we can say it in report speech. Jackie asked me to help her. Now you can also say somebody said not to do something or said to do something say is also used here. We can say, for example, poll said not to worry about him. The direct speech here is. Don’t worry about me. Well said, so here we can still use, say, and we say it like Paul said not to worry about him now here, before I finished, because that’s the last point of this episode.

[00:12:31] I want you to be careful when you want to use, tell someone to do something and tell someone not to do something now here, when you want to use that in negative. Put not before too. Don’t say tell someone to not drink. Okay. We don’t say the doctor told me to not drink. It doesn’t work this way. The negative form of that is the doctor told me not to drink, not comes before too.

[00:12:54] Now that being said, that’ll be everything I wanted to share with you about the report speech. I hope now you have a better understanding of report his speech, and most importantly, why it is important to learn how to form reported speech, because it will save you a lot of confusion, especially in speaking and the listeners will understand, or the people you are talking to will understand you a lot better.

[00:13:17] Now with that being said, let me remind you that you can find a lot of extra activities. The transcript of the episode on our website, English plus podcast.com. There’s a link in the description of the episode, take the link and take your English with it to the next level. And there’s also another link that will take you to our Patreon page.

[00:13:32] Go to our Patreon page, support English plus, and get our exclusive mini series. The first mini series we released was business English marketing, an eight episode mini series with a booklet you can use to practice the things you’re learning in the mini series. With that being said, I would like to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast.

[00:13:52] This is your host, Danny. I will see you next time.

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