Unit 8.2

Changes of Pronouns in Reported Speech

Syntax

When we want to report one person’s speech to another person we usually don’t use the exact words because we focus on the message rather than the exact words. That is why we transform the sentences. It is called reported speech.

While using reported speech, we change the first person pronouns according to the subject of the reporting verb.

In reported speech the original subject (or subjects) of the clause turns into the third person singular (or plural).

In particular:

  • First person pronouns (I, me, us, we, mine, our) in reported speech change into third person pronouns (she, he, it, they, him, his, her, them, their), if the reporting verb refers to third person pronouns. They do notchange if the reporting verb refers to first person pronouns;

  • Third person pronouns (she, he, it, they, him, his, her, them, their) do not change at all in reported speech.

    NOTE: If a second person pronoun (you, your, yours) is the object of the main sentence, they change into first person singular and plural (I, me, us, we, mine, our) in indirect speech;
  • She told me that she would ask a receipt next time. (I)
  • Municipal police stated that they had caught the thieves. (We)
  • Mary told me that she always wanted to live in a historic quarter. (She)

We use reported speech when we have to convey the meaning of a conversation, turning the subjects and objects of the original text, into other singular or plural pronouns.

Personal pronouns may change in the indirect sentences according to whose delivering the speech.

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