Reported Speech: The Grammar Gameshow Episode 25

Reported Speech: The Grammar Gameshow Episode 25

Hello, and welcome to today’s Grammar Gameshow! I’m your host, Will! And If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You know, I can’t stand bad grammar. And of course, let’s not forget Leslie, our all-knowing voice in the sky. Hello, everyone! Tonight, we’re going to ask you three questions about… Reported speech! That he-said, she-said grammar that’s useful for gossip, rumour, hearsay and conjecture! OK! Now, let’s meet our contestants! Hello, all. My name is Bill! And contestant number two? Hello, schnookums! I’m Nana Will! Nana Will! What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you since… but that was such a long t… I came to see how you’re getting on, poppet. Your mum tells me you’re doing so well. Are you wearing clean underwear? Nana! Not cool! Willikins! Answer your nana right now! Yes, Nana! Clean-ish underwear, Nana. Very good. Aren’t you going to introduce me to your little friend? Nana Will this is Bill. Bill this is Nana Will. Leslie, Nana Will. Nana Will, Leslie. Hello, Nana Will. Hello, Nana Will. Can I get on now? Yes, of course dear. Who’s stopping you? OK. Let’s get going and don’t forget you can play along at home too. Our first round is a straight-up questions round. What are the three most commonly used verbs in reported speech grammar? Say, tell and ask. Correct! Tell me one verb pattern for say, tell and ask. Say something to someone. Tell someone something. Ask someone if or whether or question word. Correct! Final question in this round. Give me an example of say and tell. No. I’ll take this one, if you don’t mind, dearie. I remember when you were just a little sprite, and we went to the zoo, and we saw an ostrich for the first time. And do you know what he said? He said it was a big chicken! He told me it was a big chicken! Nana! Really? Just answering the question, pumpkin. Leslie? Well done! Reported speech is used to inform the listener what was said by someone on a different occasion. The three most common reported speech verbs are say, tell and ask. Say is commonly used without a personal pronoun – Will said it was a big chicken – while tell must be followed by one. Will told Nana Will it was a big chicken. Finally, ask is used in reported questions. Ask can be followed by a pronoun and then if or whether for a yes/no question, or a question word for a question word question. Good work, Bill. Have Fifteen points for you. And, er, twenty points for Nana Will. On to round two. Answer this. What usually happens when to the tense of a sentence when it changes from direct speech to reported speech? It usually gets rolled back one tense! Correct! Well done. Let’s have a practice, shall we? I’ll tell you the sentence, and you give me the reported speech version. Ready? I love my Nana. He said he loved his Nana. Correct! Who’s been playing with my question cards? It’s a mystery dear. Keep reading. I wanted to be an elephant when I was a child. He told me he had wanted to be an elephant when he was a child. Correct! I will always listen to Nana Will. He said he would always listen to Nana Will. Correct! Well, answer this one then! One of those sentences does not need to have its tense changed in reported speech. Which one is it, and why? It’s the first one. He said he loves his Nana. This is because the situation hasn’t changed from when it was said. It is still true. Correct! Now, don’t test me young man, or I’ll give you a smack on the botty bot-bot. Leslie! That’s absolutely right. When changing speech from direct to reported, remember that the tense of the direct speech should be rolled back one step towards the past. For example, present becomes past, and past becomes past perfect. However, there are one or two exceptions. Firstly, some tenses and verb types don’t change, such as the past perfect, and verbs like would and could. Secondly, if something which was said is still true at the time of reporting, no tense change is necessary. This is also true if the reporting verb say or tell is in the present tense. Well done, you get 11.2 poi… Oh, Will! Before I forget, I brought you some milk. Nana Will! You’re not supposed to come ou… Drink up, dear! Nana knows best! Well done! Let’s move on to our final round. Along with these tense changes… Oh, she’s gone to sleep! OK, everyone let’s…right. Along with these tense changes, certain subjective words must also change when converted to reported speech. Have a look at these sentences, and tell me which words need to change. He said “I’m here now.” Yes, Bill? He said he was there then. Cor… Correct! I said “I got this last Tuesday.” Yes, Bill? You said you had got that the Tuesday before. Cor… Correct!! They said “We’ll be there next year.” Yes, Bill? They said they would be there the year after. Correct! Leslie? Great stuff! In speech, certain words such as pronouns, place and time words will be relative to that context. Later, when these are transferred into reported speech, they may need to change, so be careful! And that brings us to the end of today’s Grammar Gameshow. Let’s count out the points… And the winner is… Bill! Yay! Woo! Well done! Here’s what you won! Young man. Blood is thicker than water. I’ve combed your hair. I’ve taken you to school. I’ve even changed your nappy. So, don’t tell me I lost. Nana! You’re awake. How wonderful. And the winner is Nana! Well done! Here’s what she’s won! It’s a nice cup of tea! We’ll see you again next week, where you can play for another prize. And Bill… sorry old pal. I can’t play anymore. Nana’s orders. Whoops! I must have pushed the wrong button! Unleash the ravages of time. Will! Did you just… to your Nana! Oh, don’t worry. She’s tough as old boots, that one. She’ll be fine. It’s the animals that I feel sorry for. It looks like we’ll need another contestant. Thanks for joining us. Say goodbye, Leslie. Nagaatti, Leslie See you next time.

About the author


  1. I just love it ! ..We can keep the same tense or change it to the past perfect if the tense of the direct sentence is the past simple .I 've read this somewhere .Would you confirm or correct me ?

  2. Thank you for this video, nice and amusing lesson…..but to say the truth not easy for me… I tryed the quiz but I was wrong 0/3. I'll study better and practice more. Bye for now and have a lovely Easter break !! ( I'm your elderly Italian student ) !

  3. This episode is exactly what I need the most now. Thank you for this very creative and educational program

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *