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103. The basic template for reported speech (1)

103. The basic template for reported speech (1)

Reported speech is certainly not easy (see Columns 86 and 87). It seems to require a large amount of effort and mental processing in order to even make a simple sentence in reported speech.

The fact is that the learner has to juggle many items at the same time.

One way of practising and checking the accuracy and one's reported speech sentences is to follow a template. Here is the basic template of reported speech:
PERSON + COMMUNICATING VERB + PERSON + JOINING WORD + PERSON + VERB (TENSE)

We can put this template into words by saying:
A sentence in reported speech has a subject (a person) who uses a verb of communication in order to tell something to another person; and the clause that is in reported speech starts with a joining word, and is then followed by a person and another verb; the tense of this final verb is often changed according to the rules of reported speech.

Here are some example sentences based on this template:
1) John: "I am tired."
> John told me that he was tired.
> John mentioned to me that he was tired
2) Mary: "You should go to bed earlier."
> Mary said to me that I should go to bed earlier.
> Mary told me to go to bed earlier.
5) Meg: "Do it like this."
> Meg advised me how to do it.
> Meg advised me that I should do it like this.
> Meg suggested to me how I should do it.
> Meg suggested to me that I should do it like this.
3) Peter: "Do it."
> Peter ordered me to do it.
> Peter said to me that I had to do it.
4) Chris: "Go there."
> Chris told me to go there.
> Chris told me where to go.

It is easier to see how this template works if we arrange some of the above sentences like this:


PERSON + COMMUNIC. VERB + PERSON + JOINING WORD + PERSON + VB.(TNS)

John

mentioned

to me

that

he

was tired

Meg

advised

me

how

to do it

Meg

advised

me

how

I

should do it

Chris

told

me

to go there

Chris

told

me

where

to go



Of course, this template does not fit every case; in some of the above examples there are empty spaces in the template. And also, as readers are well aware, there can be optional omissions in the template:
John told (me) (that) he was tired.

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