Grammar: Reported Speech

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In English grammar, reported speech is a common way to convey what someone else said, without quoting their exact words. This method is consistently used in both British and American English. Here's a guide to understanding and using reported speech:

What is Reported Speech?: Reported speech, also known as indirect speech, involves relaying what someone said without using their exact words. It often requires changes in verb tense, pronouns, and time expressions.

Changes in Verb Tenses:

When shifting from direct to reported speech, the tense usually changes to one further back in time. For example, present simple changes to past simple ("She says, 'I am happy'" becomes "She said she was happy").

Modal verbs also change in reported speech, such as 'will' to 'would', 'can' to 'could'.

Adjusting Pronouns and Time Expressions:

Pronouns change according to the context of the report. For instance, "I" in direct speech may become "he" or "she" in reported speech.

Time expressions often change too, such as 'today' to 'that day', 'tomorrow' to 'the next day'.

Reporting Questions:

When reporting questions, the sentence structure changes to a statement and the tense is adjusted accordingly. For example, "Where are you going?" becomes "He asked where I was going."

Reporting Commands and Requests:

Commands, requests, and advice are typically reported with a 'to' infinitive. For example, "Please close the door" can be reported as "She asked me to close the door."

No Quotation Marks in Reported Speech:

Unlike direct speech, reported speech does not use quotation marks.

Importance in Everyday Communication:

Reported speech is crucial for recounting conversations, relaying messages, and telling stories.

Understanding reported speech is vital for effectively communicating information that was previously stated by someone else. It's a key component of both spoken and written English, especially in journalism, storytelling, and everyday conversation.