Is the following sentence an accurate indirect speech conversion?

  • She said "if you don't leave by then, she will cut it"
  • She said if I didn't leave by then, she would cut it

Thanks in anticipation.

  • 1
    Why is the second "she" capitalized? Why is there a single quotation mark at the end? – Silenus Nov 1 '16 at 15:44
  • Apologies. That was a typo – rahul Nov 1 '16 at 15:45
  • Edited. Apart from that is it grammatically correct? – rahul Nov 1 '16 at 15:47
  • 1
    Yes, it's fine. To emphasize that its indirect speech, you could add "that": "She said THAT if I didn't leave by then, she would cut it." – Silenus Nov 1 '16 at 15:57
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Silenus Nov 1 '16 at 16:25

It's grammatically correct, but I don't think it conveys the same meaning as the direct speech version.

She said "if you don't leave by then, she will cut it"

This makes it clear that there are two women involved. Woman 1 is the person speaking (the first "she"), and woman 2 is the person who made the threat to cut something.

She said if I didn't leave by then, she would cut it

This version is grammatically correct, but now it seems like the woman speaking is also the woman threatening. That may not be the case.

  • The person reporting the speech is the person who was threatened: the 'you' of direct speech has become the 'I' of reported speech. – Alan Carmack Nov 2 '16 at 13:53
  • 1
    That's precisely why Capt WE Johns, creator of Biggles, on almost every page of dozens of novels, resorted to a format using "She, Mrs One, said if I didn't leave by then, she, Miss Two would cut it…" Well, Johns always used he but that's not the point. The point is that Johns started writing nearly 100 years ago and is almost certainly up there with Rider-Haggard as joint most-read author of adventure stories in English until Tolkien and Rowling, and has anyone ever challenged his style? – Robbie Goodwin Nov 16 '16 at 0:37

Your conversion of that sentence to reported speech is grammatically correct. However, the meaning of the sentence has become slightly distorted. In the direct speech version, it is clear that there are two different females mentioned (the one who said the speech and the one who is going to cut ‘it’) In your version of the indirect speech, it seems like there is only one female mentioned. It is implied that the female who is saying the speech is going to be the one cutting ‘it’, which is not the case.

I would also add the word ‘that’ after ‘said’ in the reported speech version so that it sounds more natural and less stilted, not that it is grammatically incorrect to forgo the ‘that’.

Personally, I would rephrase the sentence to “She said that if I didn’t leave by then, another lady is going to cut it” or if you prefer it to be put in passive voice, “She said hat if I didn’t leave by then, it is going to be cut by another lady” would also work.

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