Narration (Part -1) - English Grammar Teaching Notes | EduRev

English Grammar

Teaching : Narration (Part -1) - English Grammar Teaching Notes | EduRev

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A Reported Speech is the speech of a person as narrated by himself (Direct), or by someone else (Indirect).

In Direct speech we quote the very actual words of the speaker without change, while in Indirect speech, we give his words in the third person, with a reporting verb of saying or thinking, exactly following the sequence of tenses.

A Present of Future tense in the Reporting Verb may be followed by any tense in the Reported Speech.

Direct : John says, "I did not go and I will not go."
Indirect : John says that he did not go and he will not go.

Change of Tense

A Past Tense in the Reporting Verb is generally followed by a Past Tense in the Reported Verb, with corresponding changes in adjective and adverbs.

Can Changes into could
May Changes into might
Shall Changes into should
Is Changes into was
Will Changes into would
Are Changes into were
Has Changes into had
Have Changes into had
Has been Changes into had been
Have been Changes into had been
Last night Changes into the previous night
This Changes into that
These Changes into those
Thus Changes into so
Now Changes into then
Ago Changes into before
Here Changes into there
Hither Changes into thither
Hence Changes into thence
Today Changes into that day
Tomorrow Changes into next day
Yesterday Changes into the previous day


Direct : John said, "I cannot do it now".

Indirect : John said that he could not do it then.

Direct :  Jones said, "I shall go hame tomorrow".

Indirect : Jones said that he should go home next day.

Direct : Meena said, "This is the book I lost".

Indirect : Meena said that this was the book he had lost.

Direct : "I came home last night," said he.

Indirect : He said that he had come home the previous night.

Direct : "Twelve years ago" said Rahul, "I came to this world".

Indirect : Rahul said that he had come to that world twelve years before.

The Past Indefinite and Past Continuous tense in the Reported Speech are converted into Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous tenses respectively, if the Reporting Verb is in the Past tense.

Direct : The man said, "The work was done".

Indirect : The man said that the work had been done.

Direct : Frank said, "The train reached at six".

Indirect : Frank said that the train had reached at six.

Direct : George said, "The boy was doing his work".

Indirect : George said the boy had been doing his work.

Direct : Tom said, "The man died yesterday".

Indirect : Tom said that the man had died the previous day.

If the Reported Speech states some general, universal or habitual truth, the Present Tense used there is not changed into the corresponding past form.

Direct : The teacher said, "Ice floats in water".

Indirect : The teacher said that ice floats in water.

Direct : Father said, "Man is the only animal that cooks his food".

Indirect : Father said that man is the only animal that cooks his food.

Direct : "Man is mortal," he said.

Indirect : He said that man is mortal.

Direct : Madam said, "The earth revolves round the Sun".

Indirect : Madam said that the earth revolves round the Sun.

Direct : My mother said, "The Sun gives us light".

Indirect : My mother said that the Sun gives us light.

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