He said, she said: the importance of reported speech -vol.1

Picture this: you arrive at work on Monday morning and ask your colleagues how their weekend was. Even though you’re just trying to make polite conversation, there’s always someone who will tell you exactly what they did, in detail, and it will go something like this:

“So, I went to the beach with some friends and that guy I like, you know. I told my friend ‘I’m not sure he likes me’ and she said ‘don’t worry about that, just be natural’, so I said ‘I can’t be natural around him he’s so hot’, then he arrived and said ‘what are you girls talking about?’ and we just said ‘nothing!’ It was really awkward…” and so on and so forth.

Quite annoying, right? Well, that’s probably what you do too, especially in English (sorry to be the bearer of bad news). So how can we make the same information sound less repetitive and more  precise, without having to make the voices and faces of all the people involved? That’s what Reported Speech is for.

So why do we usually resort to Direct Speech instead of Reported Speech? Basically because its easier, and let’s admit it: we’re just a tiny bit lazy… I say that because when you use Reported Speech, you naturally change the verb tenses to depict more precisely the actions that took place; when you use direct speech (that one that sounds like a theater play), you can keep the verb tenses unchanged, which is muuuuuch easier…

I’m not going to go into the details of the rules for verb tense, places and pronoun changes, you can find a very good explanation here.

My goal with this post is to remind ourselves that it doesn’t take much to express yourself better in English.

Reported speech is especially important for pilots taking the ANAC English Test. It shows the examiner that you master verb tenses, pronouns, connectors…on my next post I will give you some examples of verbs you can use in Reported Speech in order not to keep repeating ‘he said, she said’, ok?


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