In indirect speech (reported speech), we report the speaker’s words.
- “Why are you happy?” June asked Amahle. [arrow] June asked Amahle why she was
We remove the opening and closing inverted commas (“…”).
- Amahle said, “I am happy to see my friend Rethabile.” [arrow] Amahle said that she was happy to see her friend Rethabile.
We use that before the reported speech, unless it is a question. If it is a question, we often use if or whether. If the first word is a question word (what/who/when/where/why/how), there is no need to use that/if/whether.
- “I will find out the facts,” said Lubanzi.[arrow] Lubanzi said that he would find out the facts.
We change the verb tenses. Go back one tense (for example, is/am [arrow] was; was/were [arrow] had been; will [arrow] would).
- “My family went to the beach,” Sally said. [arrow] Sally said that her family had gone to the beach.
We change the pronouns (for example, we [arrow] they; I [arrow] she/he; you [arrow] he/she/him/her; me[arrow] him/her; us [arrow] them; mine [arrow] his/hers; ours [arrow] theirs).
- “I don’t believe you,” Bandile said to Enzokuhle. [arrow] Thando told Bandile that he didn’t believe her.
We also change: my/your [arrow] his/her; our [arrow] their.
- Grace asked Bokamoso, “Where did you find your information?” [arrow] Grace asked Bokamoso where he found his information.
We change “said to” (someone) to “told” (someone).
- “I love you,” Sandile said to Sarah. [arrow] Sandile told Sarah that he loved her.
We do not include question marks or exclamation marks in indirect speech.
- “That is terrible news!” exclaimed Rethabile. [arrow] Rethabile exclaimed that that was terrible news.
For commands, we change the verb to the infinitive (e.g. eat[arrow]to eat).
- “Get out the classroom!” the teacher ordered Thomas. [arrow] The teacher ordered Thomas to get out the classroom.
Questions that start with do/did: use “if” or “whether”.
- “Do you agree with me?” Omphile asked him. [arrow] Omphile asked him if he agreed with her.