Among all the sections of PSLE English Paper 2, one of the segments a student can train and prepare for is Synthesis and Transformation. However, this is also the segment where students lose the most marks. In this post, I will be explaining Indirect Speech or Reported Speech. From my experience teaching, this is one of the hardest concepts for students in Singapore to grasp because there are many grammar rules to remember:
” I took my dinner at this restaurant yesterday,” John said.
John said that he had taken his dinner at that restaurant the previous day.
Explanation: Think of indirect speech as a third party reporting what is being said between 2 people.
Key points to remember:
1. Change in pronouns (e.g – ‘I’ is changed to ‘He’, ‘My’ is changed to ‘his’)
2. ‘Yesterday’ change to the “previous day”. ‘Tomorrow’ change to the “next day”. “The day after tomorrow” change to “the following day”. Etc.
3. ‘This’ change to ‘That’. (Like wise ‘these’ changes to ‘those’.)
4. PAST TENSE used in direct speech must be changed to PAST PERFECT TENSE ( ‘Took’ changed to “had taken”).
Most students usually get points 1,2 & 3 right. But they will get no. 4 wrong.
Somehow students have difficulties remembering that they must change past tense to past perfect tense. This requires practice and and a degree of self-awareness when writing.
One more example:
“Where did you go last week?” Tom asked me.
Tom asked me where did I go last week.
Can you spot the mistakes? No?
Correct Answer: Tom asked me where I had gone the previous week.
Most students will only point out, ” ‘Last week’ change to ‘Previous week!’ “
But they will forget about the past perfect tense “had gone”. Also, for indirect speech, make sure your sentences end with a tone that indicates a full stop, and not a question mark.
-where did I go. (wrong)
-where had I gone. (wrong)
-where I had gone. (CORRECT)
It may seem like there are too many things to remember, but Practice makes Perfect.
By Jerry Lee
English Tutor, Auntie Counsellor
Intellicat Tuition School
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