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UNIT 2 Reported Speech. MEANING AND USE


1. Direct Speech is the exact words someone said: “I’ll go to London,” she said. Quotation marks (“…”) are used in Direct speech.


Reported Speech is the exact meaning of what someone said but not the exact words: She said she would go to London. Quotation marks are not used in Reported Speech.


2. The verbs most commonly used to introduce the Reported Speech are to tell and to say.


The verb tellis used to mention the hearer (the person spoke to): Sarah’s bosstold her she could leave early. Danieltells me he is ready.

The verb tell is used without an indirect object (e.g. her, me) only in the expressionstell a story, tell the truth, tell a lie, tell the time, tell you so.


The verb sayis used when one doesn’t mention the hearer: Sarah’s boss said she could leave earlier. Daniel says he is ready.

Sometimes to is used after say, especially when the words are not reported: The boss wanted to say something to Sarah. What did Matthew say to you?


3. In order to interpret what we hear or read the following verbs can be used:


Introductory verbs Direct Speech Reported Speech

  Verb + to-inf.  
  Agree “Yes, I’ll help you.” He agreed to helpme  
  Offer “Shall I open the door?” He offered to open the door.  
  Promise “Of course I’ll pay you.” He promised to pay me.  
  Refuse “No, I won’t go with you.” He refused to go with us.  
  Threaten “I’ll punish you.” He threatened to punish me.  
  Verb + sb. + to-inf.    
  Advise “You should see a lawyer.” Headvisedme to seea lawyer.  
  Ask “Could you help me?” He askedme to helphim.  
  Beg “Please, don’t hurt her.” He beggedme not to hurther.  
  Command “Stand up!” Hecommanded to standup.  
  Invite “Will you go out with me?” He invited me to go outwith him.  
Order “Leave the cat!” He ordered me to leave the cat.  
Remind “Don’t forget to ring Ann.” She reminded me to ring Ann.  
Warn “Don’t go near her.” Shewarned me not to go near her.  
Verb + gerund  
Admit “Yes, I did it.” Headmitted doing/having done it.
Accuse sb. of “You took the money.” He accused me of taking/ having taken the money.
Apologise for “I’m sorry I came so late.” Heapologised for coming/having come so late.
Boast of/about “I’m the fastest of all.” Heboasted of/about being the fastest of all.
Complain to sb. of “I have a toothache.” He complained to me of having a toothache.
Deny “I didn’t take the book.” He denied taking/having taken the book.
Insist on “You must come with us.” Heinsisted on me/my going with them.
(Say one) prefers “I’d rather do it myself.” He said he preferred doing/to do it himself.
Suggest “Let’s have a party.” He suggested having a party.
Verb + that clause
Agree “Yes, it’s a big house.” He agreed that it was a big house.
Complain “You’re always lying to me.” He complained that I was always lying to him.
Deny “I didn’t take that book.” He denied that he had taken the book.
Explain “That’s why I didn’t take it.” He explained to me why/that he hadn’t taken it.
Exclaim/ remark “What a sunny day it is.” He exclaimed/remarked that it was a sunny day.
Promise “Of course I’ll help you.” He promised that he would help me.
Suggest “You’d better see a doctor. He suggested that I (should) see a doctor.

Note: admit, advise, boast, insist, threaten, warn, remind can also be followed by a that-clause in Reported Speech.


4. Reported Speech commonly occurs in continuous paragraphs of reported language, not in unrelated sentences. To hold it together such phrases and words as she went on to say, he continued, he added that, and, as, because, but, since, while, then,etc. are used:

“I’m really tired,” she said to him. “Can you make me a cup of coffee?”

She exclaimed that she was tired and asked him to make her a cup of coffee.


We can report:

– statements

– questions

– commands, requests, suggestions, etc.



E x e r c i s e s


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 899

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