[Grammar] reported speech

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angelene001

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I would like to ask what happens with "this, that" before nouns when I change a sentence into reported speech.

"I don't understand how to do this maths problem," she said to me.

I've read that I should change "this cake" into "the cake".
So:

She told me that she didn't understand how to do the maths problem.

And one more question. Is it correct to use "she said to me" in reported speech?
She said to me that she was ill the day before.
 

Grumpy

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You are correct in both cases.

You could also use "she told me", instead of "she said to me"; and you could also say "had been ill", instead of "was ill".
 

angelene001

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Thank you.

What about reporting this sentence after some time but having "this maths problem" in front of somebody's eyes?
She told me that she didn't understand how to do this maths problem.
And I can see "this maths problem" when I'm saying this.

In such situations we don't change "this cake" into "the cake", right?
If I can physically point to something, I can use "this X" in reported speech.

There is no possibility to change "this cake" into "that cake" in reported speech.
We do this only with time words like "day", "month".
this month -> that month

Can you confime if I'm right?
 

Grumpy

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Thank you.

What about reporting this sentence after some time but having "this maths problem" in front of somebody's eyes?
She told me that she didn't understand how to do this maths problem.
And I can see "this maths problem" when I'm saying this. That would be fine.

In such situations we don't change "this cake" into "the cake", right? That's correct.
If I can physically point to something, I can use "this X" in reported speech. Yes, but see below.

There is no possibility to change "this cake" into "that cake" in reported speech. It all depends on the circumstances. If the cake is right in front of you, then you might say "She told me that she had baked this cake". However, suppose the cake in question is on the other side of the room; then you might point to it, and say "She told me that she had baked that cake"
We do this only with time words like "day", "month".
this month -> that month

Can you confime [confirm] if I'm right?

As you can see from the above, context and circumstances make all the difference.
 

angelene001

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If the instruction to a standard grammar exercise says "Change into reported speech" and there's only a sentence and no additional information, should I assume that it is being reported after some time, from a different place?

"I don't understand how to do this maths problem," she said to me.

The answer in the key to the book says:
She said to me she didn't understand how to do that maths problem.
 

5jj

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If the instruction to a standard grammar exercise says "Change into reported speech" and there's only a sentence and no additional information, should I assume that it is being reported after some time, from a different place?
That's probably what the writer wants.

Writers of such exercises seem to feel that there is always only one acceptable answer to a question. It's about time they realised that this is frequently not the case, especially when they give so little real context.
 

angelene001

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You are correct in both cases.

You could also use "she told me", instead of "she said to me"; and you could also say "had been ill", instead of "was ill".

Once I was told that it is better not to use "said to me" in reported speech. Is "said to me" as natural as "told me" in reported speech?
 

angelene001

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One more question:
Which should be first "by my father" or "yesterday"?
A new car was bought by my father yesterday.
or
A new car was bought yesterday by my father.

Are both versions equally correct and natural?
 

5jj

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Once I was told that it is better not to use "said to me" in reported speech. Is "said to me" as natural as "told me" in reported speech?
'Told me' is normally more natural than 'said to me' with reported speech, but there are no firm rules.
 

5jj

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One more question:
Which should be first "by my father" or "yesterday"?
A new car was bought by my father yesterday.
or
A new car was bought yesterday by my father.

Are both versions equally correct and natural?
Neither of them is natural. 99% of native speakers would use the active 'My father bought a new car yesterday', in my opinion.
 

angelene001

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Neither of them is natural. 99% of native speakers would use the active 'My father bought a new car yesterday', in my opinion.

But if I have to write such a sentence just for practising passive voice, is there a rule which says which comes first?

I've just noticed that my question is about passive voice. I'm sorry for writing it under the topic about reported speech.
 

Rover_KE

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One more question:
Which should be first "by my father" or "yesterday"?
A new car was bought by my father yesterday.
or
A new car was bought yesterday by my father.

Are both versions equally correct and natural?

They are equally correct and equally unnatural.

There are no rules about it.

Rover
 

angelene001

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They are equally correct and equally unnatural.

There are no rules about it.

Rover

Unfortunately, most things we are forced to learn and practise are unnatural.
 

emsr2d2

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Unfortunately, most things we are forced to learn and practise are unnatural.

That is very unfortunate. Perhaps you could show your teacher/tutor this forum and the multiple comments by native speakers regarding the pointless over-teaching of the passive voice.
 
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