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Reported Speech and Passive Voice
Blog de alexbar75
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//07 de Noviembre, 2010

Reported Speech and Passive Voice

por alexbar75 a las 16:48, en General



Reported Speech and Passive Voice

 

Reported Speech

 

If we report what another person has said, we usually do not use the speaker’s exact words (direct speech), but reported (indirect) speech. Therefore, you need to learn how to transform direct speech into reported speech. The structure is a little different depending on whether you want to transform a statement, question or request.

 

Statements

 

When transforming statements, check whether you have to change:

Pronouns

Present tense verbs (3rd person singular)

Place and time expressions

Tenses (backshift)

 

Type

Example

direct speech

“I speak English.”

reported speech
(no backshift)

He says that he speaks English.

reported speech
(backshift)

He said that he spoke English.

 

Questions

 

When transforming questions, check whether you have to change:

Pronouns

Present tense verbs (3rd person singular)

Place and time expressions

Tenses (backshift)

Also note that you have to:

Transform the question into an indirect question

Use the interrogative or if / whether

 

Type

Example

with interrogative

direct speech

“Why don’t you speak English?”

reported speech

He asked me why I didn’t speak English.

without interrogative

direct speech

“Do you speak English?”

reported speech

He asked me whether / if I spoke English.

 

Requests

 

When transforming questions, check whether you have to change:

Pronouns

Place and time expressions

 

Type

Example

direct speech

“Carol, speak English.“

reported speech

He told Carol to speak English.

 

Additional Information and Exceptions

 

Apart from the above mentioned basic rules, there are further aspects that you should keep in mind, for example:

Main clauses connected with and / but

Tense of the introductory clause

Reported speech for difficult tenses

Exceptions for backshift

Requests with must, should, ought to and let’s

 

 

Passive Voice

 

Use of Passive

 

Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action.

 

Example: My bike was stolen.

 

In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.

 

Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:

 

Example: A mistake was made.

 

In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).

 

Form of Passive

Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)

 

Example: A letter was written.

 

When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:

The object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence

The finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)

The subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)

 

Examples of Passive

Tense

Subject

Verb

Object

Simple Present

Active:

Rita

writes

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

is written

by Rita.

Simple Past

Active:

Rita

wrote

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

was written

by Rita.

Present Perfect

Active:

Rita

has written

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

has been written

by Rita.

Future I

Active:

Rita

will write

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

will be written

by Rita.

 

Examples of Passive

Tense

Subject

Verb

Object

Present Progressive

Active:

Rita

is writing

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

is being written

by Rita.

Past Progressive

Active:

Rita

was writing

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

was being written

by Rita.

Past Perfect

Active:

Rita

had written

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

had been written

by Rita.

Future II

Active:

Rita

will have written

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

will have been written

by Rita.

Conditional I

Active:

Rita

would write

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

would be written

by Rita.

Conditional II

Active:

Rita

would have written

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

would have been written

by Rita.

 

Passive Sentences with Two Objects

 

Rewriting an active sentence with two objects in passive voice means that one of the two objects becomes the subject, the other one remains an object. Which object to transform into a subject depends on what you want to put the focus on.

 

 

Subject

Verb

Object 1

Object 2

Active:

Rita

wrote

a letter

to me.

Passive:

A letter

was written

to me

by Rita.

Passive:

I

was written

a letter

by Rita.

.

As you can see in the examples, adding by Rita does not sound very elegant. That’s why it is usually dropped.

 

Personal and Impersonal Passive

 

Personal Passive simply means that the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. So every verb that needs an object (transitive verb) can form a personal passive.

 

Example: They build houses. – Houses are built.

 

Verbs without an object (intransitive verb) normally cannot form a personal passive sentence (as there is no object that can become the subject of the passive sentence). If you want to use an intransitive verb in passive voice, you need an impersonal construction – therefore this passive is called Impersonal Passive.

 

Example: he says – it is said

 

Impersonal Passive is not as common in English as in some other languages (e.g. German, Latin). In English, Impersonal Passive is only possible with verbs of perception (e. g. say, think, know).

 

Example: They say that women live longer than men. – It is said that women live longer than men.

 

Although Impersonal Passive is possible here, Personal Passive is more common.

 

Example: They say that women live longer than men. – Women are said to live longer than men.

 

The subject of the subordinate clause (women) goes to the beginning of the sentence; the verb of perception is put into passive voice. The rest of the sentence is added using an infinitive construction with 'to' (certain auxiliary verbs and that are dropped).

 

Sometimes the term Personal Passive is used in English lessons if the indirect object of an active sentence is to become the subject of the passive sentence.

 

Questions and negative statements


As is the case for other English conjugations, verbs in the Passive Voice form questions and negative statements using the first auxiliary.


Questions


To form a question, the first auxiliary is placed before the subject. For example:

 

Affirmative Statement

Question

You were shown the sights.

Were you shown the sights?

She is being shown the sights.

Is she being shown the sights?

He will have been shown the sights.

Will he have been shown the sights?

We should be shown the sights.

Should we be shown the sights?


Negative statements


To form a negative statement, the word not is placed after the first auxiliary. For example:

      Negative Statements


      You were not shown the sights.

      She is not being shown the sights.

      He will not have been shown the sights.

      We should not be shown the sights.

 

Negative questions


To form a negative question, the first auxiliary is placed before the subject, and the word not is placed after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not follows immediately after the auxiliary. Contractions are often used in spoken English. For example:


      Without Contractions


      Were you not shown the sights?

      Is she not being shown the sights?

      Will he not have been shown the sights?

      Should we not be shown the sights?


      With Contractions


      Weren't you shown the sights?

      Isn't she being shown the sights?

      Won't he have been shown the sights?

      Shouldn't we be shown the sights?

 

 

 

Thanks..., until next time

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publicado por MANISH, el 20.05.2011 06:45
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