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Дом Modal Verbs in Reported Speech
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Reported Commands/Requests/Suggestions

Reported Commands / Requests / Suggestions are introduced with a special introductory verb (advise, ask, beg, suggest etc) followed by a to-infinitive, an -ing formora that-clausedepending on the introductory verb.

“Watch out,” he said to me. He told me to watch out. (command)
“Please, don’t move,” he said to me. He asked me not to move. (request)
“Let’s play chess,” he said. He suggested playing chess. (suggestion)
“You’d better see a doctor,” he said. He suggested that I (should) see a doctor. (suggestion)

Exercise236. Turn the following sentences to Reported Speech.

1. “Put out your cigarettes please!” he said to us. ...He asked us to put out our cigarettes... . 2. “Wipe your feet on the mat!” mother said. 3. “Please forgive me!” she said. 4. “Could you babysit for me tonight?” he said to me. 5. “You shouldn’t eat so much meat,” she said to me. 6. “Be here on time in future,” Tom’s boss said. 7. “Could you pass me the salt?” Barry said to her. 8. “Let’s buy some new curtains!” Sally said. 9. “You’d better go to bed early,” Henry said. 10. “Don’t be horrible to your little sister!” his father said.

Note how the following modal verbs change in Reported Speech when the reported sentence is out of date, will/shall – would, can – could /would be able to, may – might/could, shall – should / would / offer (expressing offers), must – must/had to (obligation) (*“must” remains the same when it expresses possibility or deduction), needn’t – didn’t need to / didn’t have to (present reference) / wouldn’t have to (future reference). Would, could, used to, mustn’t, should, might, ought toandhad better remain unchanged.

Direct Speech Reported Speech
He said, “I will always love you.” He said (that) he would always love me.
He said, “I can’t help you.” He said (that) he couldn’t help me.
He said, “We can come soon.” He said (that) they would be able to come soon.
He said, “It may snow.” He said (that) it might snow.
He said, “What time shall we leave?” He asked what time we would leave. (information)
He said, “Shall I buy a red one?” He asked (me) if he should buy a red one. (advice)
He said, “Shall I help you?” He offered to help me. (offer)
He said, “You must tell the truth.” He said (that) I had to tell the truth. (obligation)
He said, “She must have got lost.” He said (that) she must have got lost. (deduction)
He said, “They should try a little harder.” He said (that) they should try a little harder.
He said, “She had better pay me back.” He said (that) she had better pay him back.
He said, “You needn’t hurry.” He said (that) I didn’t have to/I didn’t need to hurry.
He said, “You needn’t come to work on Friday.” He said (that) I wouldn’t have to go to work on Friday.

Exercise237. Turn the following sentences into Reported Speech.

1. She said, “You needn’t pay until Christmas.” ...She said (that) I wouldn’t have to pay until Christmas… 2. She said, “When shall we let them know?” 3. She said, “Shall I carry your suitcase?” 4. She said, “I can’t play chess very well.” 5. She said, “We must finish the work today.” 6. She said, “You needn’t wear formal clothes.” 7. She said, “You should take more exercise.” 8. She said, “Shall I get you an aspirin?” 9. She said, “Tony must have missed his bus.” 10. She said, “We’ll go to the zoo tomorrow.” 11. She said, “I may take up skiing.” 12. She said, “What shall I buy him for his birthday?” 13. She said, “They won’t arrive on time.” 14. She said, “They needn’t be at the meeting next week.”


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