Reporting speech - an introduction
Welcome back Marcos!
I’m sorry to hear that you have had to work hard over the Easter holiday (and VERY sorry about the photo of my Mum’s cake!!!) but happy that your report is finished and you can relax a bit.
Thanks for the information about the variety of ways of celebrating Easter in Brazil. There is some interesting information about other religious festivals in the comments too.
In this post, I’m going to make some basic points about the reporting of direct and indirect speech in writing. Apologies if there is nothing new for you; I’ll go into more detail in future posts. I will also give the answers to the red sky at night multi-word verb gap fill task, as well as answering a couple of questions asked by the blog readers.
In this section, I’ll use our Easter Day conversation about the cake (see my previous post for a complete script of the conversation) to create examples of direct and indirect speech. OK, the way that we report our own or other peoples’ speech in writing can be either direct (when we recreate the exact words the original speaker used, including the same pronouns and verb forms) or indirect (when we don’t try to recreate the exact words spoken, and use different pronouns and verb forms as a way of showing the relationship between now and the original moment of speaking).
Direct speech: Rachel pointed to the marzipan balls on the Easter cake and asked, “What are these things for?”
Indirect speech: Rachel pointed to the marzipan balls on the Easter cake and asked what they represented.
In direct speech, there are two clauses; the reporting clause (Rachel….asked,) and the reported clause (“What are these things for?”). The reported clause is separated from the reporting clause by a comma (usually) and speech marks (either single or double inverted commas).
In indirect speech, there is a reporting clause (Rachel…..asked) and a reported clause which is more fully integrated as the object of the reporting verb and which is usually not separated by punctuation.
I’ll come back to some of these points in future posts to add more detail and give some more examples…
Well done to the blog readers who answered the MWV gap fill task (including Ana Paula, Cheikh Vall, Adek, Toni, Daria and Hyoshil). Cheikh Vall, you were the only person to get all the answers correct, so extra well done to you! The MWV that provided the most problems was make out, which in this context means distinguish, discern or see (with difficulty).
Here is the complete text:
I don’t know if the camera will pick this up, but you might be able to make out some spots of red in the sky. A traditional saying in English is, “red sky at night, shepherd’s delight”, which means that we can look forward to nice weather tomorrow when the sunset is reddish in colour. The saying continues, “red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”, which means that we are going to have to put up with rain. I suppose that shepherds need to look out for bad weather because they can’t let their sheep out to graze if it might pour down. I’ll try and pick out the reddest part of the clouds (pause…) we don’t get this a lot, but it’s…
Have you tried using online visual dictionaries/thesauri? Here’s a good one (you should be able to see make out as an example – but beware, make out also means kiss passionately and there are some taboo, in some situations, words in this visual definition!).
Visuwords – make out
More on reporting speech later….
Don’t work too hard Marcos!
Comments on the comments:
James (from Taiwan): Celsius and Centigrade are two names for the same temperature scale (which was invented by Anders Celsius).
Hyoshil (from the UK): Thanks for remembering that my Dad was exploring our family history! He’s still doing it and has got back to the early 1700’s, and found relatives in Canada and Australia. A few generations of his father’s family made wheels, while on his mother’s side there were several generations of printers.
This map only has limited coverage, but you can see how often your surname (family name) occurs in certain countries – try it!
World Names Profiler
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