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Indirect speech is very frequently used in reporting, dialogues, conversations, etc.
Note the following examples:
(a) Dr. Sen : I am your friend’s physician.
Moni and Ruby: We are your neighbours.
|Report: Dr. Sen told Moni and Ruby that he (Dr. Sen) was their friend’s physician. Moni and Ruby pointed out that they were his (Dr. Sen’s) neighbours.
Note the changes in pronouns. Use your common sense to change the pronouns.
Tenses of reported and reporting verbs also change depending on the time of reporting.
Look at the following examples:
(b) Gargi: I am sorry. I am late today.
Teacher: That is all right. But don’t be late again.
(i) Immediately afterwards:
|Gargi apologises for being late. The teacher tells her not to worry, advising her not to be late again.
As the dialogue was reported immediately afterwards the tenses of the dialogue are retained while writing the report.
(ii) After a few days:
|Gargi apologised for being late. The teacher told her not to worry and advised her not to be late again.
As the dialogue was reported at a later date, past tense is used in reporting.
(c) Raju : Kanu, where are you going?
Kanu: I am going to meet Apu and his family.
Raju: Don’t be late. We shall have to attend a party in the evening.
|Report: Raju asked Kanu where he was going. Kanu replied that he was going to meet Apu and his family, Raju advised him not to be late as they would have to attend a party in the evening.
(d) Irine: Is it very cold today, Marie?
Marie: Yes, you must put on warm clothes. It is snowing outside.
Irine: Is it ? Well, I didn’t know it.
|Report: Irine asked Marie if it was very cold that day. Marie replied that it was, and advised Irine to put on warm clothes. It was snowing outside. Irine asked if it was so and then added that she had not known it.
Dialogues and conversations may be converted into reports in many ways. But the converted reports must contain the main points of the dialogues or conversations. Study the following example.
Subir: Hello! Could I speak to Tushar?
Sunil: I am afraid he is out. Can I take the message?
Subir: Oh, well, this is Subir here. I was wondering if Tushar will be free this afternoon. I am going to the book exhibition. I’d like him to come with me if he is free. When will he be back?
Here is Sunil’s reported speech. He reports to Tushar about the telephone call from Subir when Tushar comes back:
|“When you were out, Subir telephoned. He wanted to know if you would be free this afternoon. He is going to the book exhibition. He would like you to go with him if you were free. He wanted to know when you would be back.”
NOTE: (i) Sunil is reporting to Tushar that very day though some time later : hence the corresponding past forms of verbs are used in the actual conversation. Only one verb form ‘is going’ is in the present form indicating futurity (because Subir is going to the exhibition that very day). (ii) The use of the pronouns he (Subir), you (Tushar) and I (Sunil). (iii) Not every sentence from the beginning to the end has been reported-it’s not necessary. It’s the message which is important.
Worked Out Examples
Convert into reported speech:
1. “What are you doing here?” he cried in a gruff voice.
2. “Perhaps you have left it in the garden,” my aunt would suggest.
3. He said, “Your brother has written me a letter.”
4. “Wrap yourself up and don’t go out in the rain, he said.
5. The stranger said to the policeman, ”Where is the bus-stop?”
6. The teacher said, “Everest is the highest peak in the world.”
7. ”Let us have a picnic on Sunday,” they said.
8. The girl said to me, ”Please remember me.”
9. The teacher said to me, ”Can you do the sum ?”
10. Amal said, “Let me come in.”
11. “Have I lost anything today?” he asked.
12. He said, “I go to bed late at night.
13. “How shall I go there?” she said.
14. “Don’t be late tomorrow”, he said to the boys.
15. He said, “I have seen the boy. Do you know his name?”
16. (i) Pradip said to me, “Are you going away today?”
(ii) The teacher said to the boys, ”Do not make a noise.”
(iii) He said, “Alas! I am undone!”
17. (i) “What’s the subject this year?” he asked.
(ii) “Don’t disturb me, please,” said the lawyer to his assistant.
18. (i) “How happy we were there!” they said to each other.
(ii) My mother said to my sister, “Would you sing for our visitors ?”
(iii) ”Oh”, said Napoleon, we can refuse nothing to him.”
(iv) The boy said. “I saw this old man long ago.”
19. (i) “How I would like to see him!” he used to say.
(ii) “Who hath dared to wound thee? cried the Giant.
20. “I cannot understand why the spring is so late in coming”, said the Selfish Giant. “I hope there will be a change in the weather.”
21. “It is yesterday’s paper!” he would shout, throwing it down upon the table.
22. Ram said, ”I shall go to the club today. Can you also join me?”
23. He said to me, “When will you go home? I shall send my son with you.
24. But, Isaac,” said one of them you have forgotten one thing that belongs to a mill. What is that?” asked Isaac.
Answers of Worked Out Examples
1. He cried in a gruff voice and asked what they were doing there.
2. My aunt would suggest that perhaps I had left it in the garden.
3. He said that my brother had written him a letter.
4. He advised me to wrap myself up and not to go out in the rain.
5. The stranger asked the policeman where the bus stop was.
6. The teacher said that Everest is the highest peak in the world.
7. They proposed or suggested that they should have a picnic on Sunday.
8. The girl requested me to remember her.
9. The teacher asked me if I could do the sum.
10. Amal requested that he might be allowed to come in.
11. He asked if (or, whether) he had lost anything that day.
12. He said that he goes to bed late at night.
13. She asked how she would go there.
14. He told the boys not to be late the next day.
15. He said that he had seen the boy and asked (or, enquired of) me if I knew his name.
16. (i) Pradip asked me if I was going away that day.
(ii) The teacher told the boys not to make a noise.
(iii) He cried out in sorrow that he was undone.
17. (i) He asked what the subject was that year.
(ii) The lawyer requested his assistant not to disturb him.
18. (i) They said to each other that they had been very happy there.
(ii) My mother asked (or, enquired of) my sister if (or, whether) she would sing for our visitors.
(iii) Napoleon agreed that they could refuse nothing to him.
(iv) The boy said that he had seen that old man long before.
19. (i) He used to say that he would have liked to see him very much.
(ii) The Giant cried out and asked who had dared to wound him.
20. The Selfish Giant said that he could not understand why the spring was so late in coming and hoped there would be a change in the weather.
21. He would shout and say that it was the previous day’s paper, throwing it down upon the table.
22. Ram said that he would go to the club that day and asked me if I could also join him.
23. He asked me when I would go home and said that he would send his son with me.
24. One of them told Isaac that the latter had forgotten one thing that belonged to a mill. Isaac enquired what that was.
Examples on Reporting Conversations with Answers
Report the following conversations:
1. “What’s your name?” Rabi asked me.
“My name is Chandan”, I said.
|Report: Rabi asked me my name (or, Rabi asked me what my name was). I said that my name was Chandan.
2. Dulal: I am busy. Come in the evening.
Khokan: I am sorry, I can’t come again. I’m leaving for Delhi tonight.
|Report: Dulal said that he was busy and asked Khokan to come in the evening. Khokan regretted that he could not come again, as he was leaving for Delhi that night.
3. Children, go to bed; it is bed-time,” said Mrs Bose.
“Mother, can we be late for half an hour today?” said the children.
|Report: Mrs Bose ordered the children to go to bed as it was bed-time. But the children asked her if they could be late for half an hour that day.
4. Rebeca: Could you give me some money?
Henry: Oh yes. How much?
You are Henry; report the dialogue.
|Ans. Rebeca wanted some money and I readily agreed, asking her how much she wanted.
5. Who are you’? said the Swallow. ‘I am the happy Prince’, answered the statue. “Why are you weeping then’ ? asked the Swallow; ‘You have quite drenched me?’
|Report: The swallow asked the statue who he was. The statue replied that he was the Happy Prince. The Swallow then asked why he was weeping, and said that he (the statue) had quite drenched him.
6. Davy: You have a trade at present, Mr Faraday ?
Faraday: Yes, sir, I am a book-binder.
Davy: And you desire to change?
Faraday: Yes, sir, I am anxious to do so.
|Report: Davy asked Faraday if he had a trade at that time. Faraday replied politely that he had and he was a book-binder. Davy then asked if he desired to change his trade. Faraday said that he was anxious to do so. Davy wanted to know the reason for that.
7. ‘But where is your little companion’? said the Giant, ‘the boy I put into the tree’
‘We don’t know’, answered the children. ‘He has gone away.”
‘You must tell him to be sure and come tomorrow’, said the Giant.
|Report: The Giant asked the children where their little companion, the boy he had put into the tree, was. The children answered that they did not know; he had gone away. The Giant said that they must tell him to be sure and come the day after.
8. Dr. Vine: Are you trying to teach me my business? Take your coat off at once.
Lester: I won’t.
Dr. Vine: Oh, yes, you will. Take your coat off when I tell you. I know my business best, and I’ve no time to waste.
|Report: Dr. Vine enquired of Lester if he was trying to teach him his business. He then ordered him to take his coat off at once. Lester replied that he would not. Dr. Vine asserted that he would have to. He again ordered him to take his coat off. He knew his business best, and he had no time to waste.
9. Teacher: Why are you late again today?
Student: I missed the bus, sir.
Teacher: Yesterday it was traffic jam, today you missed the bus. You always have some excuse. I don’t believe you.
Student: Please believe me, sir.
|Report: The teacher asked the student why he was late again that day. The student replied politely that he had missed the bus. The teacher said that the previous day it had been traffic jam, that day he had missed the bus. He always had some excuse and so he did not believe him. The student begged the teacher to believe him.
10. Policeman: Why are you driving on the right side of the road?
Visitor: Do you want me to drive on the wrong side?
Policeman: You are driving on the wrong side.
Visitor: But you said I was driving on the right side.
Policeman: That is right. You’re on the right and that’s wrong.
|Report: The Policeman asked the visitor why he was driving on the right side of the road. The visitor enquired if he (Policeman) wanted him to drive on the wrong side. The Policeman told that he was driving on the wrong side. The visitor had been driving on the right pointed out that he (Policeman) had said that side. The Policeman confirmed that to be right; the visitor was on the right and that was wrong.