A.1 Read and enjoy the following article.
The Road to English
(Adapted from an article by Arishban Bagchi (Hindu college)
[The Hindustan Times, 4 October 1996]
1. The great question, after you have failed to put yourself in an engineering or medical college in contemporary Indian society, is whether you'll ever find a job.
2. "Oh! He showed such promise during his early days," says the sister of the neighbour of your aunt in Timbuctoo. "Now look at my Bittoo," she goes on. "In spite of being so brilliant and all, he could only barely manage a grade A+ at MIT, and then he only just managed a well- paid job. How difficult getting jobs must be."
3. The next line reads, "I wonder how your son will find a job, being a nonengineer, and that too in India."
4. Your father's friend, a prosperous doctor, decides to come visiting. Quite predictably, his first question on seeing you is the inevitable, "Why in heaven's name did you not qualify in the pre-medical test?' Followed by the equally inevitable, "Now what are you going to do?"
5. He raves on about his nephew who has just gone to the UK for his FRCS, and his daughter who has just completed her MBBS from AIIMS with top results, and what exciting prospects they have.
6. Your father into whose eyes you haven't dared to look for quite some time, speaks up. "I have lost all hope for him. However, educating him is my duty and I won't shirk from it."
7. Someone speaks up. "Let him go to college to study Physics or Chemistry." Everyone sits in silence. You cannot help feeling a little proud. At length, someone plucks up the courage: "It's quite impossible to educate him any further. Youngsters these days never seem to listen to what we have to say."
8. "I will study English Literature," you say, dropping a bombshell, fearless of the consequences. Amazingly, it works. The crowd hurries to disperse. You are so relieved to see their backs that you don't care. Thankfully, your parents voice no objection, remembering, perhaps, that you did manage to score highly in English in your Board exams.
9. So you finally take English literature as your subject of study.
A.2 Work in pairs and list the speakers in the passage you have just read.
i. Arishban Bagchi - Writer
ii. Writer's Father
iii. Father's friend - a doctor
iv Sister of the neighbour of writer's aunt
v. 'Someone' known to the writer.
Still working in pairs, answer the following.
1. Did anyone actually say (or write) "Oh! He showed such promise during his early days?" (Yes/No) How can you tell?
Ans. Yes, sister of the neighbour of your aunt in Timbuctoo said the quoted text.
2. Is "Now look at my Bittoo", said by the same person as the extract in 1 above? (Yes/ No) How do you know?
Ans. Yes. Words are said in quotes (inverted commas) shows that she goes on telling this.
3. In paragraph 4, who says "Now what are you going to do?" What words help you to know?
Ans. Your father's friend, a prosperous doctor
4. i) In paragraph 5, who is the speaker?
Discuss and work out what must have been his exact words. Then write them below.
Ans. He asked an inevitable question with surprise why I had not qualified in the pre-medical test. Then he asked what was I going to do.
ii) Underline the verb which tells you how the person must have said this.
Ans. "raves"- talks with pride.
5. How many of the nine paragraphs in the passage are reporting what someone has said?
Ans. One. (Para 7 has references to 'someone'). If you consider Para 1 and 3 are reported by someone, then the total is three.
6. How many paragraphs include the exact words of the various speakers (direct speech)?
Ans. Six ( Para 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8)
7. How many paragraphs have reported them 'indirectly' (indirect speech)?
8. What is your conclusion about how writers report what someone says or has said in a newspaper article such as this?
Ans. It is a mix of direct and indirect speech.
B. Reporting Verbs
B.1 A reporting verb is used in both direct and indirect (reported) speech. The reporting verb usually adds to the meaning of each sentence, for instance, it may show the speaker's MOOD (e.g. agreed), PURPOSE (e.g. asked), MANNER OF SPEAKER (e.g. shouted).
An example is: The tourist complained that the hotel was hot and noisy.
In this sentence, the reporting word 'complained' shows that the tourist was clearly unhappy about the arrangements.
Now work in groups of four. Read the following sentences carefully, and circle the reporting verbs. Then discuss and write the ways in which each reporting verb adds to the meaning of its arrangement.
1. "When I was in school, I used to skip a few classes, especially Moral Science because of the bookish manner in which it was treated," confessed the retired IAS Officer.
Ans. The reporting word "confessed" shows that retired IAS Officer was feeling guilty (or acted as shirker) for skipping Moral Science classes when in school.
2. Saurav's friends protested that he should have been included in the school badminton team, on the basis of his fine performance in the inter-house matches.
Ans. The reporting word "protested" shows that Saurav's friends were unhappy at the exclusion of Saurav from the team.
3. "Make a circle, make a circle!" Mira shouted, firmly pulling and pushing the children till a kind of vague circle was formed.
Ans. The verb reporting verb "shouted" shows Mira's problem in dealing with the children.
4. The music teacher warned the children against getting carried away and getting out of tune.
Ans. The verb reporting verb "warned" contains a mild threat for the unruly children.
5. "Father, you must tell me what you meant exactly when you said that I was the same as every other teenager," Varun insisted.
Ans. The verb reporting verb "insisted" shows how much Varun is hurt by his father's remarks.
6. "Oh God! She is coming again," the children whispered to each other when they saw Mrs Sharma striding towards their classroom for the third time that day.
Ans. The verb reporting verb "whispering" conveys children's disliking of Mrs. Sharma.
B.2 Look at the following example.
The exact words of the Prime Minister: "I shall lead this great country on the path of peace and prosperity. Not only that, but I assure you that I will lower taxes and do everything in my power to reduce inflation."
[Situation: A newsreader reports the words of the Prime Minister on the radio.]
"The new prime Minister said that he would lead the country on the path of peace and prosperity. He also promised to lower taxes and reduce inflation."
Working in pairs, note the changes the newsreader made while reporting the PM's speech.
Fill in the table below.
|Reporting Verbs Used||Change in Other words|
|1.||I → a) b)|
|Reporting Verbs Used||Change in Other words|
|1. said||I → a) that b) he would|
|2. promised||Shall → promised to lower.|
Now do the same with this situation. The following is a conversation that took place between Neeta and Shobhna (in the presence of Shobhna's mother) last week.
Neeta: Can I borrow Rs. 25? I have lost all my money on the bus this morning.
Shobhna: But you asked me for a loan last week as well, you haven't repaid that yet. Sorry, But I can't lend you any more.
Imagine it is now next week. Shobhna's mother talks about it to her husband in her own words.
"Neeta came in last week and asked Shobhna if she could borrow twenty-five rupees. She explained she had lost all her money on the bus that morning. Shobhna remindedNeeta that she had asked her for a loan the previous week as well, and still hadn't repaid it. So she decided she couldn't lend Neeta any more."
|Reporting verb used||Changes in other words||Any other changes|
|1. came||last week.||.|
|2. asked||I → she||'if' is added to mark question being asked|
|3. explained||have lost → had lost||my → her, this morning → that morning|
|4. reminded||you → she||last week → previous week,|
haven't → hadn't
|5. decided||I → she||can't lend → couldn't lend, you → Neeta|
Read the exact words of Mrs Bhattacharya, a resident of Park Street, Kolkata.
"Where do the two of you live? You shouldn't make such a noise in the street. If you do it again, I'll have to complain to the police. So, be careful."
Now think of a situation in which Mrs Bhattacharya has to report what she said to somebody but not exactly as she has said above (eg. to a neighbour.)
Situation: Mrs Bhattacharya complaining to Mr. Nath, President of Resident Welfare Association.
Now report Mrs Bhattacharya's words. Remember: You can decide whether to use direct or indirect speech forms. ____
Mrs Bhattacharya, "Mr. Nath, I need your attention about the miscreant boys in the street."
Mr. Nath, "What happened?".
Mrs Bhattacharya, "Two teenaged boys make a lot of noise every afternoon. I do not know where they live. Once or twice I have given them a warning. It seems there is no effect on them."
Mr. Nath, "Do not worry. I'll call our security officer to care of this. If the boys live in our colony, we'll call their parents. If they are outsiders and if necessary, we'll call the police to deal with them."
Work with your partner. Read the following. Decide on a likely situation in which what was said has been repeated. Then use your imagination and recreate the original ("direct") speech.
Everyone at the hospital looked after me very well. As soon as I arrived, a nurse asked me how I felt. Then she asked me where I lived and whether she could contact my parents. I explained that you were out today so she couldn't contact you. After that, she asked me how that accident had happened and I said I didn't know.
Direct speech (in dialogue form)
Situation: Patient talking to nurse once he arrives at the hospital.
Direct speech (in dialogue form)
Nurse: "How do you feel? Where do you live? Can I contact your parents?"
Patient: "You were out. My mother couldn't talk to you."
Nurse: "How did this accident occur?"
Patient: "I don't know."
C. Practicing Reported Speech
C.1 Statements: Rewrite the following in reported speech:
a) Sheela to Rashmi: "You can come and stay at my place if you're ever in Delhi".
b) Anand to Renu: "I don't know what Gayathri is doing these days. She hasn't visited us for ages".
c) Teacher to Students: "We shall go on a field trip to study water pollution".
a) Sheela told Rashmi that she could come and stay at her place she ever came to Delhi.
Sheela told Rashmi that she could come and stay at her place whenever she was in Delhi.
b) Anand told Renu that he did not know what Gayathri was doing those days. He further told that she hadn't visited them for ages.
c) The teacher informed the students that they would go on a field trip to study water pollution.
C.2 Questions in indirect speech.
Rewrite the following in indirect speech:
a) He said, "Who has moved into the neighbouring house?"
Answer: He asked who had moved into the neighbouring house.
b) He said, "What have you bought for Deepawali?"
Answer: He asked what I had bought for Deepawali.
c) He said to me, "Why didn't you wear your new dress for the party?"
Answer: He asked my why I had not wear new dress for the party.
d) "Is anyone there?" he asked.
Answer: He asked if anyone was there.
e) "Shall I wait for the doctor or come again tomorrow?" she asked the receptionist.
Answer: She asked the receptionist whether she should wait for the doctor or come again next day.
Points to Remember
C.3 Commands, requests and advice in indirect speech:
Rewrite the following in indirect speech:
a) The General said," Move the tanks to the battlefield immediately."
Answer: The General ordered to move the tanks to the battlefield immediately.
Answer: The General ordered the tanks to be moved to the battlefield immediately. (The second sentence is less appropriate since it appears General ordered the tanks.)
b) "Don't drive too fast", the instructor said to me.
Answer: The instructor warned me not to drive too fast.
c) "If I were you, I'd buy that property immediately", the agent said to Anwar.
Answer: The agent told Anwar if he was Anwar he would buy that property at once.
d) "Why don't you change into something more comfortable?" he said to his guest.
Answer: He asked his guest why he didn't change into something more comfortable.
e) "Go on, taste it", said the cook to the guest.
Answer: The cook requested the guest to go on and taste it.
C.6 Change the following into indirect speech. Change tense and time expressions only when necessary. You may use a variety of reporting verbs from the box below.
|complain, confide , apologise , explain , invite , assure , regret plead, scold insist , remind , warn|
1. "Human nature changes," sighed the old man.
Answer: The old man regretted that human nature changes.
(Note: General truths are written in simple present tense)
2. "We'll win the match next week." said Vasu optimistically.
Answer: Vasu assures to win the match next week.
(reporting just after he said it)
3. "I saw him with Akanksha yesterday," she whispered.
Answer: She confided that she saw him with Akanksha previous day/(day before).
4. "Sanjay, I'm sorry we didn't visit you in Bombay last week," Arun said
Answer: Arun apologised to Sanjay for not visiting him in Bombay previous week.
Arun apologised to Sanjay because he hadn't visited him in Bombay previous week.
5. "This rice tastes awful," he muttered.
Answer: He complained that rice tasted awful.
6. "Would you like to come to the party with us tomorrow, Gopa?" Sushila asked.
Answer: Sushila invited Gopa to come to the party with them the next day.
Sushila invited Gopa whether she would like to come to the party with them the next day.
(reporting later in the week.)
7. "Please, Ma, please," they begged. "We'll play on the veranda and porch. We
won't take a step off the veranda."
Answer: They pleaded their mother to play on the verandah and porch. They promised they would not take a step off the veranda.
(reporting immediately after)
8. "Don't be a fool," Raghu said roughly, pushing him aside. Even Mira said, "Stop howling, Ravi. If you want to play, you can stand at the end of the line," and she put him there very firmly.
Answer: Raghu scolded him and asked him not to be a fool. Even Mira warned her to stop howling. She insisted him firmly to stand at the end of the line if he wanted to play.
C.7 Correct the errors in the following sentences. Write out the correct sentence in the space provided.
1. The nurse enquired how I am.
The nurse enquired how I was.
2. He said he live in Connaught Circus.
He said that he lived in Connaught Circus.
3. They asked when I have arrived.
They asked when I had arrived.
4. The taxi driver asked where I want to go.
The taxi driver asked where I wanted to go.
5. I warn Sanjay to be careful while crossing the road.
I warned Sanjay to be careful while crossing the road.
6. Rohit couldn't understand where all the children are gone.
Rohit couldn't understand where all the children had gone.
C.8 You said that…
Look at the horoscope page from a newspaper. Find your zodiac sign. Imagine that you have come to the end of the week and nothing has happened, according to the horoscope. Write a letter of complaint to Madam Kiran. Report what Madam Kiran said would happen and then describe what actually happened. You may wish to write something similar to the letter in the example below.
Dear Madam Kiran,
I am writing to complain about your horoscope prediction for Virgo last week.
Firstly, you said that my relationships would be successful. In fact, I had terrible squabbles with my mother and with no fewer than three different friends. You assured me that there would be a new admirer in my life who would make me feel confident about my future. Well, I have a new admirer
but he is making my life a misery for me. You mentioned that I would enjoy my health and there would be the high possibility of a short and enjoyable trip. Since Monday I had caught flu and had to stay at home quarantined. You said that Mercury moved up in my chart that ruled education and I would enjoy learning more. Well, the mercury did rise up but in my thermometer. I had fever for last two days and because of this, I could noHindustan Times- March 28, 2011t apply for admission in Delhi University for higher studies. The only learning I have is to never trust this pseudoscience call "astrology".
Almost all of your predictions turn reciprocal to me.
D. Reported Speech - Summary
D.1 Read the following extract from Oliver Twist, a novel by Charles Dickens.
"Where is my little brother?" cried Nancy, when she reached the police station.
"There are no little boys here, madam," answered an officer.
"Where is he, then?" she persisted and began describing what Oliver looked like
The officer informed her that he had been driven to the home of a gentleman in Pentonville. When Fagin heard the news, he exploded, "The boy must be found, even if we have to kidnap him."
|i.||cried||i.||worried, anxious, upset, tearful|
|ii.||answered||ii.||unconcerned, unhelpful, indifferent|
|iii.||persisted||iii.||stressed, said firmly|
|iv.||informed||iv.||dutiful, providing details|
|v.||exploded||v.||angry, furious, commanding|
D.3. Read the following excerpt from a newspaper report.
Tiger numbers up, but habitat a worry
New Delhi: India's tiger population has gone up. On Monday, environment minister JAIRAM RAMESH will announce an increase of over 100 tigers across the country at a three-day international conference of experts on tigers. But can India keep this rising numbers intact? According to the government's own study on tiger reserves, India cannot hold more than 1000 to 1200 tigers, with its forests having witnessed a degradation in the last two decades. "Where is the habitat to keep so many tigers safe?" asked Vivek Menon, chief executive officer of the Wildlife Trust of India. "Constant habitat destruction and illegal mining is causing wildlife stress," said Dharmendra Kandhal, a wildlife biologist.
Hindustan Times- March 28, 2011
Where do you find sentences in direct speech in the above excerpt?
Ans. Following are the two sentences use direct speech.
Why has the reporter used the exact words of Mr. Menon and Mr. Kandhal?
Ans. The reporter wants to put emphasis on the speakers.
Change the sentences in direct speech to indirect speech and then read the excerpt. Does if sound better or worse? Why?