19 votes
Accepted

Convert to indirect speech: ‘Rajeev said, “But, dad, didn't you promise me a new laptop?”’

In the direct speech But, dad, didn't you promise me a new laptop? the verb didn't you is inverted. This is normal when one is asking a question: "Didn't you...?" "Have you...?" ...
  • 1,996
15 votes

Why is "here" changed into "there" when converting this sentence into direct speech?

The words "here" and "there" reflect the perspective of the speaker. For the example with reported speech, Jack told me that he would be here at seven. In this example, the ...
15 votes

Convert to indirect speech: ‘Rajeev said, “But, dad, didn't you promise me a new laptop?”’

Your answer is not correct, nor is the answer provided in the textbook. You cannot remind somebody if or whether. You remind them that or of something. You can ask them if/whether So while there are ...
  • 25.4k
12 votes

What tense of the word sing completes the sentence below appropriately?

This is complicated because it depends how you interpret heard. In the examples below, each line shows what the original speaker said -> how it was reported. It could be hear meaning listen to ...
  • 57.3k
10 votes

Does "is" turn into "was" or "were" in indirect speech?

It is not the change to indirect speech which dictates the change in verb form; rather it is the use of the verb could to describe the possibility of an outcome contrary to what occurred, and the ...
10 votes
Accepted

"In whose symbolic shadow we stand today"

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. "In whose symbolic shadow we stand today" is a subordinate clause and ...
  • 22.7k
9 votes

Using "scold" in reported speech

You can certainly use past tense X scolded Y to report what X did to Y. But scold doesn't work the same as, for example, tell, inform, convince, all of which can be followed by a subordinate clause ...
8 votes

The teacher told us that ice {floats/floated} on water

Many native speakers, when reporting indirectly what someone has said, will cast the verb in the past without really thinking about it, as second-nature: She told us ice floated on water. That is ...
7 votes

Should I be using 'is' or 'was' in reported speech?

With "reported speech" the important thing is to explain the information, not the words, to your listener. The information need to be true and make sense to your listener now. In the ...
7 votes

Indirect speech: is "has been" acceptable in “…the matter has been taken up with Saudi authorities”?

Yes, has been is grammatically correct, even in indirect speech in the past tense. Indeed, the tense (has been vs. had been) indicates an important distinction! Has been implies that what the speaker ...
  • 27.2k
7 votes

Changing the verb for indirect quote/reported speech expressing habitual actions

In reported speech, the tense of the verbs in the reported speech is normally backshifted. I am ready He said he was ready There are, however, exceptions. If the original statement is a general ...
  • 57.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Indirect speech - past tense

You're talking about backshifting, which is common in indirect speech, but not required. For events that happened in the past and are complete, it makes more sense to backshift. My sister said ...
  • 87.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Houston, we have a problem: 'Has' or 'had'?

Both are correct. Very often, we refer in the present tense to statements made in the past, to suggest that the conversation is still in progress—that the idea is still relevant, still worth ...
  • 27.2k
6 votes
Accepted

BBC News Sentence: Isn't it an indirect speech? If yes, where is 'that'?

Omitting that in this sort of context is quite ordinary, and acceptable in all registers. In these sentences that acts as a subordinator (some grammarians call it a complementizer): it tells the ...
6 votes
Accepted

Confusion about "Backshift" of Verbs in Indirect Speech (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Your concern seems to be this: "Why doesn't the author backshift the verbs in reports of Jem's simple past statements to the past perfect?" I think the best answer is simply that we don't always do ...
6 votes
Accepted

Imperative in reported speech

Mom said, "Don't trust strangers". When you change an imperative sentence from direct to indirect (reported) speech, you don't change the tense in the reported speech; you keep the present tense. ...
  • 26.8k
6 votes

Should "the belief that the world was round" be "the belief that the world is round" in this sentence?

With a timeless property like that, your version (with is) is possible; but it is not usual. The habit in English of converting the tense of reported speech in the past ("He believed 'It is round'" =...
  • 70.1k
6 votes

Changing the verb for indirect quote/reported speech expressing habitual actions

I agree that options 2 and 3 are correct if they still pray every day and that only option 3 is correct if they no longer pray every day. But the question as given is select the one which best ...
6 votes

Difference Had been Twins and Were Twins

a) I asked if he and my father had been twins. = I asked, "Were he and my father twins?" b) I asked if he and my father were twins. = I asked, "Are he and my father twins?" Therefore, If he ...
5 votes

Is it gramatically correct to say 'She said that she hadn't got any money?

It's more British English than American: "As though she hadn't got enough V. P. of her own! " BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley http://www.huxley.net/bnw/thirteen.html Theoretically, 'haven't got' ...
5 votes

Is it gramatically correct to say 'She said that she hadn't got any money?

A good rule of thumb is to remember that have got can be used to mean have1. 1(Though it's very likely that haven't got any money in the example should mean "doesn't have any money", the alternate ...
  • 26.9k
5 votes
Accepted

Reported Speech

Use "I'll tell my friends that I have started learning computers." (In other words, no need to change the tense because the reporting verb is for the future time.) Reported speech is also known as ...
  • 26.9k
5 votes
Accepted

Question related to past tense of the verb

She said she would help me when she finished her work. Compare: I will help you when I finish my work. That is what she really said.It is called "direct speech". The sentence you are interested ...
  • 7,055
5 votes
Accepted

How to convert advice to reported speech?

Let's suppose Alice said "You should only connect to people you know well", and Bob has to decide how to tell other people about this later. Bob needs to choose between saying... 1: Alice said that ...
4 votes
Accepted

Reported speech if sentence starts with let

I wished my friend good morning and proposed that we should go for a picnic that day. Did you intend for you and your friend to go for a picnic? I + anyone else = we. In this sentence, you are ...
  • 36.2k
4 votes
Accepted

Change in narration/speech

In this case there is no need to 'backshift' tomorrow because the report and the original occur on the same day: tomorrow is the 'next day' with respect to both. If you said 'the next day' you would ...
4 votes

Why does this sentence use the word "could" twice?

I'm sure this is a mistake. There can't be two predicates of this kind in one clause. Speaking about the correct version, I think it should be: He asked.... how they could recognize... This is a ...
  • 53
4 votes

Does placing a statement in quotes, invalidate the need to backshift?

I saw that ‘two men are walking towards me’. That is incorrect. It's wrong for more than one reason You would not say: John said to Kate that “I am hungry”. So we should remove the word 'that'. I ...

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