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  1. #1
    indonesia's Avatar
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    Default Direct objects in reported speech.

    Good evening,

    I'm trying to work out what the direct objects are in reported speech. Am I right in thinking that the direct object in reported speech has to be a person?

    My grammar book tells me this next sentence has NO object:

    They denied stealing the car.

    It tells me that 'stealing' is a gerund, so if it's a gerund, i assume it's a noun, so why can it not be the direct object?

  2. #2
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    euncu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Direct objects in reported speech.

    ***neither a teacher nor a native-speaker***

    They denied what?
    Stealing the car.

    To me, Stealing the car acts as an object. But, I'm not sure what it is called in grammar if it is not directly called as an object.

  3. #3
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Direct objects in reported speech.

    Quote Originally Posted by indonesia View Post
    Good evening,

    I'm trying to work out what the direct objects are in reported speech. Am I right in thinking that the direct object in reported speech has to be a person?
    I don't know of any such rule.

    My grammar book tells me this next sentence has NO object:

    They denied stealing the car.

    It tells me that 'stealing' is a gerund, so if it's a gerund, i assume it's a noun, so why can it not be the direct object?
    Indeed. To me the gerund phrase "stealing the car" is the direct object of "denied", and within the gerund phrase "the car" is the direct object of "stealing".

  4. #4
    indonesia's Avatar
    indonesia is offline Member
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    Default Re: Direct objects in reported speech.

    Thank you to the 2 above posters.

    I assumed that aswell, but thought I best seek a second opinion.

    Another question now:
    Can most reporting verbs be put into 2 categories: 'to say' and 'to tell'?

    And is their a formula for deciding which category they fall into?

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Direct objects in reported speech.

    Quote Originally Posted by indonesia View Post
    Good evening,

    I'm trying to work out what the direct objects are in reported speech. Am I right in thinking that the direct object in reported speech has to be a person?
    Because it's speech, the object will normally be a person but that doesn't mean it has to be one

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