Indirect speech

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henryh

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Hi everyone,

The original question:

Who was the girl you were talking to?

How can I report it?

1. He asked who was the girl I was talking to.
2. He asked who the girl was I was talking to.
3. He asked me who I had been talking to.

Do I need to backshift the tense?

He asked who was the girl I had been talking to.

Thanks.
 

apex2000

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No 3. Using 'me' puts it into context. If 'girl' is important, then: He asked me who was the girl I had been talking to.
Then consider:
He said (asked), "Who was that girl you were talking to?"
 

RonBee

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He asked me who that girl was I had been talking to.

:)
 

engee30

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Hi everyone,

The original question:

Who was the girl you were talking to?

How can I report it?

1. He asked who was the girl I was talking to.
2. He asked who the girl was I was talking to.
3. He asked me who I had been talking to.

Do I need to backshift the tense?

He asked who was the girl I had been talking to.

Thanks.

This is how I see it.

Sandra is meeting some friends of hers. Suddenly, she asks one of them, a male:
Who is that girl? Direct speeech
She asked him who that girl was. Reported speech

A similar situation, but this time Sandra wants to know who her boyfriend is talking to. She asks one of her female friends:
Who is that girl he is talking to? Direct speech
She asked her who that girl was he was talking to. Reported speech

Just after the get-together:

Who was that girl? Direct speech
She asked him who that girl was. Reported speech

Who was that girl he was talking to? Direct speech
She asked her who that girl was he was talking to. Reported speech

Two weeks later, Sandra still wanted to know something more about the girl:

Who was that girl? Direct speech
She asked him who that girl had been. Reported speech

Who was that girl he was talking to? Direct speech
She asked her who that girl had been he had been talking to. Reported speech

The more recent the event you report on, the more likely you are to use the past simple or past continuous rather than the past perfect simple or past perfect continuous, respectively.
:cool:
 
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RonBee

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Search Results for 'direct speech' - UsingEnglish.com


Indirect Speech
Indirect Speech (also called Reported Speech) is used to communicate what someone else said, but without using the exact words. The tenses of the verbs are often changed. EG: He said that he was going to come. (The person's exact words were "I'm going to come.")


Direct Speech
Direct speech is used to give the exact words used by another speaker. The words are given between quotation marks (" ") in writing: EG: "I'm coming now," he said.
:)
 

RonBee

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Direct speech: "Who was that girl?"
Indirect speech: He asked me who that girl was.

~R
 

engee30

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Search Results for 'direct speech' - UsingEnglish.com


Indirect Speech
Indirect Speech (also called Reported Speech) is used to communicate what someone else said, but without using the exact words. The tenses of the verbs are often changed. EG: He said that he was going to come. (The person's exact words were "I'm going to come.")


Direct Speech
Direct speech is used to give the exact words used by another speaker. The words are given between quotation marks (" ") in writing: EG: "I'm coming now," he said.
:)

Oh boy, I got the names confused. :oops:
Indirect (or Reported) Speech
Direct Speech
:-|
 

apex2000

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She asked him who was that girl.
She asked her who was that girl he was talking to.
She asked him who was that girl.
She asked her who was that girl he was talking to.
She asked him who was that girl.
She asked her who was that girl he had been talking to.

When you need to indicate recent or previous events you will need to add more substance:
She asked him/her who was that girl at the meeting/he was talking to at the meeting/ at that meeting two weeks ago/ he was talking to at that meeting two weeks ago.
 

engee30

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When you need to indicate recent or previous events you will need to add more substance:
She asked him/her who was that girl at the meeting/he was talking to at the meeting/ at that meeting two weeks ago/ he was talking to at that meeting two weeks ago.

Oh, is that so? Is reported speech governed by so many factors? I didn't know that. :shock:
Shame on me! :oops:
 

apex2000

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Oh, is that so? Is reported speech governed by so many factors? I didn't know that. :shock:
Shame on me! :oops:
No, not governed. The examples are given to help you see how to fulfil your intention.
 
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