If you see a car crash and you tell a friend
about it you will use direct speech.
If that friend tells someone else, they will use reported speech to report your words.
Here is an example of direct speech:
|"I was walking home from school at four o'clock and I'd just crossed Highwood Road when I heard a big bang. I turned round and saw a car smashed into the side of a bus. It looked as if the car hadn't stopped at the traffic lights."|
Notice how direct speech needs "speech marks" around all the words actually spoken.
Here is an example of reported speech:
|She was walking home from school at four o'clock and she'd just crossed Highwood Road when she heard a big bang. She turned round and saw a car smashed into the side of a bus. She said that it looked as if the car hadn't stopped at the traffic lights.|
Notice how "I" has changed to "she".
Notice also that the second example uses the phrase "she said that". This phrase is often a useful way of thinking about reported speech.
Change the following piece into reported speech
by starting each sentence with "she said that ..."
Don't forget to change "I" into "she".
| "I ran across
to the car, which was on the other side of the road, and looked at the
driver. He was white and shivering but he didn't seem seriously hurt.
I recognised him as Mr Marshall who owns the garage next to school."
In this example the tense remains the same in both direct and reported speech: "I ran" becomes "she said that she ran."
In the next example the speaker is using the present tense.
|"I feel faint and cold but I don't think I've hurt anything. My seat belt saved me."|
When this is reported the tense must change:
|He said that he felt faint and cold but he didn't think he had hurt anything. He said his seat belt had saved him.|
Notice how the tense has changed in each case: from "feel" to "felt", from "don't" to "didn't", from "saved" to "had saved."
* Now write an eye-witness account of your
It should be something you have seen yourself. Don't forget the punctuation marks. You might use alternative words to said such as:
claimed, protested, insisted, snapped, retorted, urged, sobbed, revealed
* Swap with a friend and rewrite your friend's description in reported speech.
* Look through a daily newspaper and underline examples of reported and direct speech. Rewrite some of the pieces in the opposite form of speech.
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