Hello friends, I am confused over a sentence that I came across in one of the papers.
What would be the Indirect Speech for- I said,"I like to eat chips".
Dear Supriti Chauhan,
The Indirect speech of " I said" I like to eat chips' is : I said that I liked to eat chips. (that can be omited)
Can you expalin the rule behind the change in the sentence because I still feel there's something amiss here in the conversion (going by the fact that the "I" in the sentence still likes to eat chips i.e he/she hasn't stopped liking chips). My confusion is over:
Shouldn't "I" be replaced by a gender pronoun?
And shouldn't "like" remain "like"(present tense) instead of "liked"?
I think you're asking the right questions!
Indeed if the fact is still true at the moment of speaking then the tense won't change. The same would happen if the words are reported shortly after they have been uttered, or if they refer to sth which is regarded as a general truth. The change in tense is called the backshift.
Apart from this backshift you also have changes in pronouns and deictics (today, here, this...), but again it depends on when the words are reported and who is reporting.
In "I said "I like to eat chips"" you can have:
"I said I like chips" : e.g. I'm repeating what I've just said to my hard-of-hearing grandfather!
"I said I liked chips": e.g. I'm reporting my own words, for instance while telling a story.
Now if someone else is reporting "your" words then you have "s/he said s/he likes chips" or "s/he said s/he liked chips" depending on the same situation as in "I said..."
So you have the grammar rules which Ss are supposed to show mastery of in exercises, esp. in exams, and you have real-life situations in which the speaker decides on what should be changed depending on the situation and on style, as you also have free direct speech.
Hope this helps
Dear Claire C, Thanks a lot! You've been a great help! Set all my confusion away!
Claire's answer covers it really well. I just wanted to add a little helpful note, something to bear in mind when dealing with indirect speech:
- Generally, English expresses reported speech with a "backshift of tenses". BUT You don't need to backshift if a) the reporting verb (says) is in the present tense or b) the reported statement is still or always true.
Thanks for the valuable input!
Indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), doesn't use quotation marks to enclose what the person said and it doesn't have to be word for word.
When reporting speech the tense usually changes. This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too.
She said, "I have been cooking."
She said (that) she had been cooking.
He said, "I am going to go shopping."
He said (that) he was going to go shopping.
Yes, there's usually a backshift.
I enjoy teaching reported imperatives... (much easier!)
John: Go outside.
He said to go outside.
Sue: Don't be late
She said not to be late.
What is the question tag of the sentence.
Everyone has their tea,...................?
I would say:
Everyone has their tea, don't they?
Everyone has their tea, haven't they? Any other options?