Reported Speech

Nov 26 / Thanos Mengrelis
It's like playing a game of "Telephone" in grammar.
Imagine if your friend Bob whispers to you, "I am the king of the world!"
Now, unless Bob is standing on the bow of a rather large ship with arms wide open, you might want to tell someone else about his grand declaration.
But you wouldn't quote him directly because let's face it, you’re not in a blockbuster movie. Instead, you'd use reported speech, which is like telling a story about what Bob said, but with a twist.
So, you turn around and tell your other friend, "Bob said he was the king of the world." Notice something? "Am" turns into "was". Bob's present becomes your past. Tricky, right?

Reported speech is the sneaky chameleon of the English language.
It changes depending on when you're reporting it and who is doing the talking.
You have to shift tenses backward in time (most of the time), tweak possessives, and sometimes even switch up the entire spatial-temporal universe.
It’s like you’re a time traveller, but instead of a fancy machine, you've got conjunctions and pronouns.

And if you want to get really fancy, you can throw in a "that" to introduce the reported words: "Bob said that he was the king of the world."
But in the laid-back world of conversation, "that" often decides to take a day off and is implied.
So there you have it, reported speech: the art of telling someone else's tales without stepping into their shoes or, in Bob’s case, without the risk of falling off a ship into icy waters.

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