1

What is the correct reported speech for

She said to me, "When are we going to leave?"

Is it:

A) She asked me when they were going to leave.

B) She asked me when we were going to leave.

Can both answers be correct depending on the circumstances?

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  • 2
    Yes, depending on whether the speaker is among the people planning to leave. Commented May 14 at 16:21
  • 2
    Why would the person reporting her question have known more about when she and her party were going to leave than she herself knew? A) is not impossible but it is rather far-fetched as a reported version of "When are we going to leave?" Maybe the person reporting the question is Phil Keoghan.
    – TimR
    Commented May 14 at 21:31
  • @TimR :- There can be various cases where the person reporting is the decision maker. Case 1 : A couple went to a party. It is getting late but the husband is still enjoying, so the wife goes and asks him. Case 2: The husband has promised to drive his family from London to Scotland by car. So in the morning the wife asks so that she could plan. Commented Jun 9 at 10:47
  • @JamesMathai My underlying point is that questions that ask us to think of a context where a particular formulation might make reasonable sense are more word puzzles than questions about how to express a particular thing. Why would the husband be telling another person what his wife asked him? I suppose he could be talking to a marriage counselor.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 9 at 11:33
  • @TimR : In our story, the next morning his friends tell him, "Why did you leave? We had such a good time after you left." Husband: "She asked me when we were going to leave?" Commented Jun 10 at 12:01

2 Answers 2

2

She said to me, "When are we going to leave?"

A) She asked me when they were going to leave.
B) She asked me when we were going to leave.

Edit

Collins Dictionary third section, sense (1) says the pronoun we refers to

the speaker or writer and another or others, sometimes including those addressed

Hence both (A) and (B) are possible, and only context can determine it.

3
  • Why is "the speaker or writer and another or others, sometimes including those addressed" formatted as a quote? Please provide the source if it's a quote, or remove the formatting.
    – gotube
    Commented May 14 at 21:22
  • Thanks, @gotube. I have added the link. Commented May 14 at 23:23
  • @SeowjoohengSingapore : Thank you for the answer. You explained what is meant by 'we' correctly. Commented Jun 9 at 10:53
0

Special case of pronoun change in Reported speech.

As per the pronoun change rule in indirect speech - "The first person in direct speech changes as per the subject of the speech.."

But in this case I think the first person in direct speech changes as per the object (me) of the speech..

Explanation -
Reference English Grammar and Composition - Rajendra Pal Page - G138

One has to be a little careful while changing the personal pronoun we . It can be retained as we or changed to you or they depending upon the relationship of the speaker, the person(s) addressed and the person reporting the speech.

  1. Direct : He said to me, "We should have tried harder."

Indirect: He told me that we should have tried harder.

  1. Direct : He said to you, "We should have tried harder."

Indirect: He told you that you should have tried harder.

  1. Direct : He said to John, "We should have tried harder."

Indirect: He told John that they should have tried harder.

  1. Direct: The Prime Minister said, "We, the members of the ruling party should be united."

Indirect: The Prime Minister said that they, the members of the ruling party, should be united.

  1. Direct : The Prime Minister said, "We should be united to corruption tooth and nail."

Indirect: The Prime Minister said that we should be united to corruption tooth and nail.

Reference English Grammar and Composition - Rajendra Pal Page - G138

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    Commented May 15 at 20:58

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