Rewrite the following in reported speech.
11 Revision exercise.
a past result," he added.
"I've broken your beer glass," he said.
"I can't abide him: he's so selfish," she said.
He said, "It's no good talking about this issue."
"We'll go with you, John," we said.
"After taking two glasses of whisky, she unbent a little," her husband said.
"I had a hunch that she would come with me," he said.
"This will create a precedent," she said.
"What I have just done will establish a precedent," I assure you.
"I was thinking of getting rid of my cottage, but I changed my mind when I realised that it will double its value in a few years," he remarked.
"When I mentioned my boss that I was very left, it was like a red rag to a bull; he's a right-wing extremist," he said.
"It's getting late," he pointed out.
"I'm of humble birth," he told me. "My girl-friend is of noble birth."
"Last year I was still at the high school, John," I said.
"It has gone ten," he remarked.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I'll be on duty then."
"I'd like to cash some traveller's cheques," he said.
"I switched on the ignition," he said. "The car wouldn't start."
"I'll have to go to Germany next summer to polish up my German," she said.
"I bought it in a DIY
shop last week," she said.
"We had never seen the sea before," they said.
"We can't come now," they said. "We are very busy."
"We have no time to lose," she said. "Time is pressing."
"I had a terrible backache last night, but I rubbed some medicinal oil that I had just bought into my back, and now the pain has worn off," she said.
"My heart was in my mouth when I received their letter," he said. "I was waiting for an answer to my application for the job."
"I took yours by mistake," I said to him.
"Have you got a tin opener?" he said.
He asked (me) if/whether I had a tin opener.
"Why are they cutting the traffic?" he wondered.
He wondered why they were cutting the traffic.
"Who broke the window?" he said.
He wanted to know who had broken the window.
are not used to introduce an indirect question. Instead, we use ask, want to know
, and so forth. Notice as well that the order of the sentence is affirmative (not interrogative), and that if
) is necessary, unless we have a wh-question
"What's wrong with you?" she said.
They said, "Have you ever been to Alaska?"
"Where did you pick up that bit of information?" he inquired.
"Have you seen my eyeliner anywhere?" she said.
"Who lives next door?" he said.
13 Revision exercise.
"What are you talking about?" they asked.
"We're talking about politics," we answered.
"The death penalty should be abolished everywhere," she said.
"What's the purpose of your stay here?" he inquired.
"When are you going to tell him?" I asked.
"My dog was run over by a lorry last night," she said.
"Can you bring me the files I need?" he asked his secretary.
"We used to live in a large house when we were in Glasgow," they said.
"When I entered the house, I found her tied up in the kitchen, so I unbound her," he said.
"They might have heard you," she said.
"Could you direct us to Piccadilly Circus?" they asked us.
"Is there a bank near here?" they said.
"Where is Park Lane?" he said.
"Is there any use my explaining everything to them?" he wondered.
"Asking my father to give you money is like trying to get blood out of a stone," she said.
"What's the use of insulting them?" he said. "It'll only make things worse."
"What happened to you the day before yesterday?" she said.
"How many hours of hard work will be needed?" he wondered.
"How many cans of beer have you bought?" he inquired.
"Twenty," she answered.
"I got cramp in my leg a moment ago," she said.
"My foot has gone to sleep," he said.
"What time is it?" he said.
"We can't do without you tomorrow, Delia," he said.
"How did you get away with the money?" he asked.
"They have been playing that horrendous music for hours on end," he said angrily. "I wish they would stop playing it."
"Please lend ME YOUR rubber," he said.
He asked me/told me to lend HIM MY rubber.
"Don't count YOUR chickens before they are hatched," she said.
She advised me/told me not to count MY chickens before they were hatched.
Imperatives are reported by using a verb + the person addressed + the infinitive. Notice that say
is not possible here, and the person addressed is necessary.
"Say five Hail Marys and two Our Fathers for your sins," the priest said to his parishioner.
"Beware of vampires," the dying man warned us.
"Cease fire," the captain ordered his men.
"Don't give up now," she said. (Omit "now".)
"Don't kill me," he pleaded. (He pleaded with her...)
15 Revision exercise.
"Bring them here at once!" she ordered me.
"I didn't sleep a wink last night," he said. "I had an awful stomach-ache the whole night."
"Don't put on the TV, please," he said. "I've got a terrible headache.
"Your shoelace has come loose, Peter," she said. "Do it up before you have an accident."
"How much milk is produced here?" he enquired.
"Don't go there all on your own," she warned him.
"Could you tell me where the post office is?" he said.
"She snuffed it last year," he said to them. "You should have come to see her as soon as you received her letter. She'd have liked to talk to you before kicking the bucket."
"I've lost the top of my pen," she said. "Have you seen it anywhere?"
"Do sit down, mother," she begged.
"Don't drink any more," he said.
"Stop eating chocolates," my mother said. "You're putting on weight."
"How long have you been in New York?" he asked them.
"My husband was knocked over by a van two days ago," she said. "Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt.
"How many people come to this place every day?" he enquired.
"Are you attending evening classes?" they asked her.
"Stop nosing around in my room, will you?" she asked him.
"I can smell of burning," he said. "Is there anything on the stove?"
"When we looked for her, she had miracoulously vanished," they said.
"Don't wash this beige blouse in hot water," he said. "It'll fade."
"It's easier said than done," she responded.
"Our car has seen better days," they said. "We haven't got enough money to buy another one. We'll have to do with it."
"Bring me some water, please," she said.
"They won't be coming tomorrow morning," he said. "Their father is terribly ill."
"Don't pry into our affairs," they said.
"Whose is this lighter?" he said.
"Would you like (me to give YOU) a lift to the airport?" she said.
She offered ME a lift to the airport.
"I'll buy YOU a drink," she said.
She invited ME for a drink/She invited ME to have a drink.
"Will YOU please stop nosing into MY affairs?" he said/"Stop nosing into MY affairs, will you?" he said.
He asked ME to stop nosing into HIS affairs.
"If I were in YOUR place, I would go on," he said.
He advised ME/encouraged ME to go on.
"What about (or How about) going to the seaside?/Why don't we go to the seaside?/Shall we go to the seaside?/Let's go to the seaside," she said.
She suggested going to the seaside/She suggested that we should go to the seaside.
"YOU should give up smoking," my doctor said.
My doctor advised ME to give up smoking.
"Remember to lock the door when YOU leave," said my mother/"Don't forget to lock the door when YOU leave," said my mother.
My mother reminded me to lock the door when I left.
"What's the time?" she said.
She asked me the time.
"Happy birthday," they said.
They wished me a happy birthday.
"YOU had better keep things quiet now," she said.
She advised ME/warned ME to keep things quiet then.
"This is not fair!" he said.
He said annoyingly that it was not fair/He expressed his annoyance/his dissatisfaction.
"What a lovely house!" she said.
She exclaimed that the house was lovely.
"Hello! How are YOU?" he said.
He greeted ME.
"Would you like..." is an expression used to offer or invite people to do or take things. Consequently, we can replace it by "offer" or "invite". "Will you" indicates a request, so it is usually reported by "ask" or "request" (very formal). In short, some expressions can be replaced with verbs or phrases that denote the same idea.
"How old are you?" she said.
"Don't forget to phone us when you arrive," his father said.
"Would you like to come to the theatre with me?" she said.
"How about going to the zoo?" he said.
"If I were you, I wouldn't take sleeping pills," he said to her.
"It's time WE got down to work," she said to him.
She said to him/told him (that) it was time THEY got down to work.
"I wish YOU were here with ME," she said to him.
She said to him/told him that she wished HE were/was there with HER.
"If only I knew where YOU are now," she added.
She added that she wished SHE knew where HE was then.
"I would rather/sooner YOU didn't study abroad," said his mother.
His mother said that she would rather/sooner HE didn't study abroad.
"He talks as if/as though he were/was the richest person on earth," she said.
She said that he talked as if/as though he were/was the richest person on earth.
Back-shift does not take place with unreal pasts, as has been seen above.
"It's time we went home," he said.
"We would rather you stayed here," they said to her.
"She behaves as if she were going to win the beauty contest," they said.
"If only I could change your mind," he said.
"I wish they hadn't closed this street," she said.
"If I got a work permit, I would go there," he said.
He said (that) if HE got a work permit, HE would go there.
"If I had a car, I would take YOU sightseeing," he said to her.
He said to her/He told her (that) if he had had a car, he would have taken her sightseeing.
The first example suggests that he could still obtain a work permit. In the second instance, it is obviuous that he did not take her sightseeing, as he did not have a car.
"If I had the money, I would lend it to you," she said to them.
"If they gave me the grant, I would lend you the money you need," she said.
"If you were put behind bars, I would wait for you," he said.
"If I didn't have such a cough, I wouldn't stay in bed," he said.
"What would you do if you were to win the lottery?" they asked her.
"She must have had a great time in Majorca," he said.
He said that she must have had a great time in Majorca.
"YOU must not come home late," she said to him.
She said to him/told him (that) HE must not/was not to come home late/She told him/ordered him not to come home late/She didn't allow him to come home late.
"YOU needn't read the first chapter," our teacher said.
Our teacher said that WE needn't read/didn't need to/didn't have to read the first chapter.
"Must/Need I finish MY supper, mummy?" asked the little child.
The little child asked his/her mother if/whether (S)HE was to finish/had to finish HIS/HER supper.
and need not
are usually reported unchanged. Still, had to
and would have to
can be used in place of must
; and did not need to
(or did not have to
), instead of need not
. This is only possible when must
and need not
can be replaced by the present forms of the past forms just mentioned in direct speech:
"WE must/will have to phone the police if she is not here by midnight," they said.
They said (that) THEY must/had to/would have to phone the police if she was not there by midnight.
"WE must/have to leave now," they said.
They said (that) THEY had to leave then.
"YOU needn't/don't need to/don't have to go there alone," they said to him.
They said to him/told him (that) HE needn't/didn't need to/didn't have to go there alone.
With must not
, we have several alternatives: to leave it unchanged, to use "was/were not to" or to use an infinitive structure, as seen above. In the interrogative, must
usually become had to
(or was/were to
). Need not have + past participle
does not change:
"YOU needn't have brought any food with YOU," they told us.
They told us/said to us (that) WE needn't have brought any food with US.
"We must retreat, as our men are falling like flies," said the sergeant.
"Must I do the shopping, mother?" she asked.
"You must not skip any classes from now on," the teacher said.
"You needn't have washed the dishes," he said. "The dishwasher could have done it."
"When your father comes, you must tell him what you have just told me," said her grandmother.
20 Revision exercise.
"Thank you very much!" he said. (Use "to thank" as an introductory verb.)
"Shall we go for a swim in the sea?" she suggested.
"Can you give me a cigarette, Paul?" she said. "I've run out."
"You needn't do all the exercises for tomorrow," she said to her pupils.
"Our morale was fading away as we were getting further ahead," they said.
"You ought to take things easy," she said to them.
"That street have been block off this afternoon," she reminded them.
"You look as if a monster had attacked you," she said.
"Have you got the time, please?" she said to a man in the street.
"I wish I could stop time," she said. "It goes by too quick."
"My husband eats like a horse and drinks like a fish," she said. "If I were you, I wouldn't invite him for dinner at that restaurant. It will cost you a fortune."
"Don't forget to meet her at the airport!" his mother said.
"I would like to find out what lies behind all this matter," she pointed out.
"He's really good-looking!" she whispered in her girlfriend's ear.
"If she asks me to marry, I will," she said. "I'm head over heels in love with him."
"Would you like a coke?" she said.
"What should I do?" he said to her. (He asked (her) for...)
"Need I do the cooking tonight, father?" she said.
He said, "Give me another chance," but I said, "I can't. It's too late now."
"You must not overeat," her doctor said, "You need to lose weight urgently."
"If I were in your shoes, I would go to university," he said to her.
"If she does not turn up soon, we must continue without her," Alan said.
"You needn't answer me today," he said. "You can do it tomorrow."
"My wife's physical beauty may have faded, but not her inner beauty," he said. "She'll always be the most beautiful person on earth."
"Don't be such a wimp," they told him.
"It's time I gave them a piece of my mind," she said.
Do not change the personal pronoun or the tense.
An abbreviation for "do-it-yourself".
See unit 4.
Occasionally, you can come across say
if the person addressed is not mentioned:
"Read Romeo and Juliet for next week," said the teacher.
The teacher said to read Romeo and Juliet for the following week.
For further details about "suggest", see unit 22, section 36
See unit 9, sections 55, 56, 57 and 59.
See unit 9, section 55.
See unit 9, section 59.
For more details, see unit 22
suggests that they left. Must
might suggest that they did not leave then.