Grammar Revision: Reported Speech
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One of the trickier aspects of English grammar for our students is reported speech. Reported speech is a structure which is used quite commonly in natural English but can be a little complicated to get your head around and use fluently and accurately.
Before you teach your students, make sure you know and understand the rules behind using reported speech, so you can explain it simply and clearly.
We use reported speech when we want to relay what other people have said. In other words, we want to report people’s comments.
Reported speech makes use of certain reporting verbs, usually say and tell. When we use reporting verbs, the verb in the direct statement is backshifted – it is transformed into a tense in the past.
To illustrate this, see how the verb tense changes according to the following table:
|Tense||Direct speech||Reported speech|
|Present simple||“I am tired.”||He said he was tired.|
|Present continuous||“I am having lunch.”||He said he was having lunch.|
|Past simple||“I went out last night.”||She said she had gone out that night.|
|Past continuous||“I was doing my homework.”||She said she had been doing her homework.|
|Present perfect||“I have been to New York.”||They said they had been to New York.|
|Will||“I will be there.”||They said they would be there.|
|can||“I can cook.”||He said he could cook.|
|must||“I must work tonight.”||She said she had to work that night.|
The above examples all show the use of the verb say. When we use tell we need to include an object ie he told me (that) he was tired.
Note also that though this is the rule, it is not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes the situation can dictate that the tense does not backshift and stays the same. For example, if a person is talking about something which is known to be still true, the tense can stay the same. The same applies if the reporting is taking place very soon after the direct speech takes place.
Because of the backshift, any reference to times, places or demonstratives may need to be changed as well. So I’m meeting Sarah tonight to see this movie becomes He was meeting Sarah that night to see that movie.
For reported questions, the backshift still takes place but there is an added element of difficulty added to designate that it’s a question.
For wh-questions, the word order of the question needs to be converted into that of a positive statement. If the question uses the verb to be, the verb is kept but if the verb is not the verb to be and uses the auxiliary do we need to take it out.
“Where is the bank?” à He asked (me) where the bank was.
“What time does the bank open?” à He asked me what time the bank opens.
For yes/no questions, we need to add in if or whether:
“Do you like coffee?” à She asked (me) if/whether I liked coffee.
As you can see, though reported speech may seem like a simple structure to use, there are a lot of aspects which need to be considered to use it correctly. However, if you explain it clearly and logically to your students, show them how to form the structure step-by-step and allow them plenty of opportunities to practise, they will soon get the hang of it.
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- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.