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Direct and Indirect Speech

When using indirect or reported speech, the form changes. Usually indirect speech is introduced by the verb said as in I said, Bill said, or they said. Using the verb say in this tense, indicates that something was said in the past In these cases, the main verb in the reported sentence is put in the past. If the main verb is already in a past tense, then the tense changes to another past tense; it can almost be seen as moving even further into the past.

Verb tense changes also characterize other situations using indirect speech. Note the changes shown in the chart and see the table below for examples. With indirect speech, the use of that is optional. Direct Speech simple present He said, I go to school every day. simple past He said, I went to school every day. present perfect He said, I have gone to school every day. present progressive He said, I am going to school every day. past progressive He said, I was going to school every day. Indirect Speech simple past He said (that) he went to school every day. past perfect He said (that) he had gone to school every day. past perfect He said (that) he had gone to school every day. past progressive He said (that) he was going to school every day. perfect progressive He said (that) he had been going to school every day,

future (will) would + verb name He said, I will go to school every day. He said (that) he would go to school every day. future (going to) He said, I am going to school every day. present progressive He said (that) he is going to school every day. past progressive He said (that) he was going to school every day

Direct Speech auxiliary + verb name He said, Do you go to school every day? He said, Where do you go to school? imperative He said, Go to school every day.

Indirect Speech simple past He asked me if I went to school every day.* He asked me where I went to school. infinitive He said to go to school every day.

*Note than when a Yes/No question is being asked in direct speech, then a construction with if or whether is used. If a WH question is being asked, then use the WH to introduce the clause. Also note that with indirect speech, these are examples of embedded questions. The situation changes if instead of the common said another part of the very to say is used. In that case the verb tenses usually remain the same. Some examples of this situation are given below.

Direct Speech simple present + simple present He says, I go to school every day. present perfect + simple present He has said, I go to school every day. past progressive + simple past He was saying, I went to school every day.

Indirect Speech simple present + simple present He says (that) he goes to school every day. present perfect + simple present He has said (that) he goes to school every day. past progressive + simple past He was saying (that) he went to school every day. past progressive + past perfect He was saying (that) he had gone to school every day.

future + simple present He will say, I go to school every day.

future + simple present He will say (that) he goes to school every day.

Another situation is the one in which modal constructions are used. If the verb said is used, then the form of the modal, or another modal that has a past meaning is used.

Direct Speech can He said, I can go to school every day. may He said, I may go to school every day. might He said, I might go to school every day. must He said, I must go to school every day. have to He said, I have to go to school every day. should He said, I should go to school every day. ought to He said, I ought to go to school every day.

Indirect Speech could He said (that) he could go to school every day. might He said (that) he might go to school every day.

had to He said (that) he had to go to school every day.

should He said (that) he should go to school every day. ought to He said (that) he ought to go to school every day.

While not all of the possibilities have been listed here, there are enough to provide examples of the main rules governing the use of indirect or reported speech. For other situations, try to extrapolate from the examples here, or better still, refer to a good grammar text or reference book. Some other verbs that can be used to introduce direct speech are: ask, report, tell, announce, suggest, and inquire. They are not used interchangeably; check a grammar or usage book for further information.

Direct and Indirect Questions in English


Direct questions yes / no questions in English. 1. He likes swimming. 2. He can swim long distances. 3. He is a good swimmer. To make sentence 1 into a question, you need to add does. The does goes before he.

Does is only used if the subject is he, she or it in all other cases, use do. The verb like goes after the subject, but it doesn't have an 's' on the end. Remember: after auxiliary verbs (like do, does, have, can, etc.) the verb is in the infinitive, without 'to'. "Does he like swimming?" Not "Does he likes swimming?" or "Do he like swimming?" If the sentence is in the past tense (he liked swimming), we use the past form of 'do' or 'does', which is did. The verb 'like' is still in the infinitive without 'to'. For example, "Did he like swimming?" Not "Did he liked swimming?" To make sentence 2 into a question, you don't need to use 'does' because you already have an auxiliary verb can. So you put the can before he. "Can he swim long distances?" Not "Can swim he long distances?" or "Does he can swim long distances?" To make sentence 3 into a question, use is as the auxiliary. "Is he a good swimmer?" Not "Does he is a good swimmer?" or "Does he be a good swimmer?"
Direct questions "wh" questions

What is your name? Why do you want this job? How much do you earn? How soon can you start? When did you see the advertisement? Where do you live? Which newspaper did you see the advertisement in? Who gave you my name? After the "wh word" (what, why, how, when, etc) comes the auxiliary (do, does, did or can), then the subject (you) , then the rest of the question. Note: if 'who', 'which' or 'what' are the subject of the question, you dont need an auxiliary. For example, "What happened?" Not "What did happen?" The thing that happened is what the subject of the question. "Who saw you?" Someone saw you who was it? Compare with "Who did you see?" You saw someone who was it?)

"Which company made a profit?" A company made a profit which company was it? Compare with "Which company did you work for?" You worked for a company which one was it?
Indirect questions in English

If you want to ask a question that is quite sensitive, try using one of the indirect phrases below: Can you tell me Could you tell me I'd be interested to hear I'd like to know Would you mind telling me These questions are followed by either about, a "wh word" or if. Then you add the subject, then the sentence. You don't need an 'auxiliary', such as 'do', 'does', 'did', or 'can'. "Can you tell me what you like most about your present job?" Not "Can you tell me what do you like?" "I'd be interested to hear about your experiences." "Would you mind telling me if you have applied for a similar position before?"

Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns Used Together


Notes: 1. The written lesson is below. 2. Links to quizzes, tests, etc. are to the left.

Here are the direct object pronouns and the indirect object pronouns side by side: DO Pronouns IO Pronouns English Equivalent me me me te te you (familiar) lo, la le him, her, it, you (formal)

nos os los, las

nos os les

us you-all (familiar) them, you-all (formal)

When you have both a direct object pronoun and an indirect object pronoun in the same sentence, the indirect object pronoun comes first. Ellos me los dan. They give them to me. IO pronoun: me DO pronoun: los Ella te la vende. She sells it to you. IO pronoun: te DO pronoun: la

Whenever both pronouns begin with the letter "l" change the first pronoun to "se." le lo = se lo le la = se la le los = se los le las = se las les lo = se lo les la = se la les los = se los les las = se las

The reason for changing "le lo" to "se lo" is merely to avoid the tongue-twisting effect of two short consecutive words that begin with the letter "l". To demonstrate this, first quickly say "les las" and then quickly say "se las." See how much easier it is to say "se las?"

In negative sentences, the negative word comes directly before the first pronoun. No se lo tengo. I don't have it for you. Nunca se los compro. I never buy them for her.

Because the pronoun se can have so many meanings, it is often helpful to clarify it by using a prepositional phrase. l se lo dice. Ambiguous. He tells it to (whom?). l se lo dice a Juan. He tells it to him. (to Juan) l se lo dice a Mara. He tells it to her. (to Mara) l se lo dice a ella. He tells it to her.

In sentences with two verbs, there are two options regarding the placement of the pronouns. Place them immediately before the conjugated verb or attach them directly to the infinitive. She should explain it to me. Ella me lo debe explicar. Ella debe explicrmelo. I want to tell it to you. Te lo quiero decir. Quiero decrtelo. You need to send it to them. Se la necesitas enviar a ellos. Necesitas envirsela a ellos. Note that when attaching the pronouns to the infinitive, a written accent is also added to the final syllable of the infinitive. This preserves the sound of the infinitive.

When the pronouns are attached to the infinitive, make the sentence negative by placing the negative word directly before the conjugated verb. Ella debe explicrmelo. Ella no debe explicrmelo.

Quiero decrtelo. No quiero decrtelo. Necesitas envirsela a ellos. No necesitas envirsela a ellos.

When the pronouns come before the conjugated verb, make the sentence negative by placing the negative word directly before the pronouns. Ella me lo debe explicar. Ella no me lo debe explicar. Te lo quiero decir. No te lo quiero decir. Se la necesitas enviar a ellos. No se la necesitas enviar a ellos.

Predicates, Objects, Complements


Predicates
A predicate is the completer of a sentence. The subject names the "do-er" or "be-er" of the sentence; the predicate does the rest of the work. A simple predicate consists of only a verb, verb string, or compound verb:
y y y

The glacier melted. The glacier has been melting. The glacier melted, broke apart, and slipped into the sea.

A compound predicate consists of two (or more) such predicates connected:


y

The glacier began to slip down the mountainside and eventually crushed some of the village's outlying buildings.

A complete predicate consists of the verb and all accompanying modifiers and other words that receive the action of a transitive verb or complete its meaning. The following description of predicates comes from The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers (examples our own):
With an intransitive verb, objects and complements are included in the predicate. (The glacier is melting.) With a transitive verb, objects and object complements are said to be part of the predicate.

(The slow moving glacier wiped out an entire forest. It gave the villagers a lot of problems.) With a linking verb, the subject is connected to a subject complement. (The mayor doesn't feel good.)

A predicate adjective follows a linking verb and tells us something about the subject:
y y y

Ramonita is beautiful. His behavior has been outrageous. That garbage on the street smells bad.

A predicate nominative follows a linking verb and tells us what the subject is:
y y

Dr. Couchworthy is acting president of the university. She used to be the tallest girl on the team.

Direct and Indirect Objects


A direct object is the receiver of action within a sentence, as in "He hit the ball." Be careful to distinguish between a direct object and an object complement:
y

They named their daughter Natasha.


Click on "Mr. Morton" to read

In that sentence, "daughter" is the direct object and "Natasha" is the and hear Lynn Ahren's "The object complement, which renames or describes the direct object. Tale of Mr. Morton," and learn The indirect object identifies to or for whom or what the action of the verb is performed. The direct object and indirect object are different people or places or things. The direct objects in the sentences below are in boldface; the indirect objects are in italics.
y y y all about subjects and simple predicates (from Scholastic Rock). Schoolhouse Rock and its characters and other elements are trademarks and service marks of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. Used with permission.

The instructor gave his students A's. Grandfather left Rosalita and Raoul all his money. Jo-Bob sold me her boat.

Incidentally, the word me (and similar object-form pronouns such as him, us, them) is not always an indirect object; it will also serve, sometimes, as a direct object.
y y

Bless me/her/us! Call me/him/them if you have questions.

In English, nouns and their accompanying modifiers (articles and adjectives) do not change form when they are used as objects or indirect objects, as they do in many other languages. "The radio is on the desk" and "I borrowed the radio" contain exactly the same word form used for quite different functions. This is not true of pronouns, however, which use different forms for different

functions. (He [subject] loves his grandmother. His grandmother loves him [object].) (See, also, pronoun cases.)

Complements
Since this page is about the completers of thoughts, it is appropriate to include a brief description of complements. A complement (notice the spelling of the word) is any word or phrase that completes the sense of a subject, an object, or a verb. As you will see, the terminology describing predicates and complements can overlap and be a bit confusing. Students are probably wise to learn one set of terms, not both.
y

A subject complement follows a linking verb; it is normally an adjective or a noun that renames or defines in some way the subject. o A glacier is a huge body of ice. o Glaciers are beautiful and potentially dangerous at the same time. o This glacier is not yet fully formed. (verb form acting as an adjective, a participle)

Adjective complements are also called predicate adjectives; noun complements are also called predicate nouns or predicate nominatives. See predicates, above.
y

An object complement follows and modifies or refers to a direct object. It can be a noun or adjective or any word acting as a noun or adjective. o The convention named Dogbreath Vice President to keep him happy. (The noun "Vice President" complements the direct object "Dogbreath"; the adjective "happy" complements the object "him.") o The clown got the children too excited. (The participle "excited" complements the object "children.") A verb complement is a direct or indirect object of a verb. (See above.) o Granny left Raoul all her money. (Both "money" [the direct object] and "Raoul" [the indirect object] are said to be the verb complements of this sentence.

Direct Approach vs. Indirect Approach

[Sample Intro in Direct Approach] [Sample Intro in Indirect Approach] Direct Approach When you use the direct approach, the main idea (such as a recommendation, conclusion, or request) comes in the "top" of the document, followed by the evidence. This is a deductive argument. This approach is used when your audience will be neutral or positive about your message. In the formal report, the direct approach usually mandates that you lead off with a summary of your key findings, conclusions, and recommendations. This "up-front" arrangement is by far the most popular and convenient for business reports. It saves time and makes the rest of the report easier to follow. For those who have questions or want more information, later parts of

the report provide complete findings and supporting details. The direct approach also produces a more forceful report. You sound sure of yourself when you state your conclusions confidently at the outset. Indirect Approach In the indirect approach, the evidence is presented first, leading therefore to the main idea. This is an inductive argument. This approach is best if your audience may be displeased about or may resist what you have to say. At times, especially if you are a junior member of an organization or if you are an outsider, writing with an extremely confident stance may be regarded as arrogant. In such cases, or if your audience will be skeptical or hostile, you may want to use the indirect approach: Introduce your complete findings and discuss all supporting details before presenting your conclusions and recommendations. The indirect approach gives you a chance to prove your points and gradually overcome your audiences reservations. By deferring the conclusions and recommendations, you imply that youve weighed the evidence objectively without prejudging the facts. You also imply that youre subordinating your judgment to the audience, whose members are capable of drawing their own conclusions when they have access to all the facts. Although the indirect approach has its advantages, some readers will always be in a hurry to get to "the answer" and will flip to the recommendations immediately, thus defeating your purpose. Therefore, consider length before choosing the direct or indirect approach. In general, the longer the message, the less effective an indirect approach is likely to be. Furthermore, an indirect argument is harder to follow than a direct one. Because both direct and indirect approaches have merit, businesspeople often combine them. They reveal their conclusions and recommendations as they go along, rather than putting them first or last. As a result, the approach strategy of business reports can sometimes be hard to classify. Two Sample Introductions for Formal Reports Direct Approach (assumes audience will favor or be neutral to your recommendations) Since the companys founding 25 years ago, we have provided regular repair service for all our electric appliances. This service has been an important selling point as well as a source of pride for our employees. However, we are paying a high price for our image. Last year, we lost $500,000 on our repair business. Because of your concern over these losses, you asked me to study the pros and cons of discontinuing our repair service. With the help of John Hudson and Susan Lefkowitz, I have studied the issue for the last two weeks and have come to the conclusion that we have been embracing an expensive, impractical tradition.

By withdrawing from the electric appliance repair business, we can substantially improve our financial performance without damaging our reputation with customers. This conclusion is based on three main points that are covered in the following pages: yIt is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to make a profit in the repair business. yService is no longer an important selling point with customers. yClosing down the service operation will create few internal problems.

Indirect Approach (assumes audience will be hostile to or resistant to your recommendations, or that you are much lower in the organizational power structure than the primary reader) Since the companys founding 25 years ago, we have provided regular repair service for all our electric appliances. This service has been an important selling point as well as a source of pride for our employees. However, the repair business itself has consistently lost money. Because of your concern over these losses, you asked me to study the pros and cons of discontinuing our repair service. With the help of John Hudson and Susan Lefkowitz, I have studied the issue for the last two weeks. The following pages present my findings for your review. Three basic questions are addressed: yWhat is the extent of our losses, and what can we do to turn the business around? yWould withdrawal of this service hurt our sales of electric appliances? yWhat would be the internal repercussions of closing down the repair business?