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Hello,

When writing up an email, should we use direct speech or indirectly speech.

For example:

I contacted Mary advising her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. Mary told me as soon as the money hits the account, she will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel. Now, I need to relay this back to my manager. So do I use direct or indirect speech.

so, here is my email

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Boss,

I just contacted Mary advising  her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She told me as soon as she received it, she would email me.

Or do I say - using direct speech

She told me as soon as she receives it, she will email me.

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Hi, Cristi,

@Cristi posted:

Hello,

When writing up an email, should we use direct speech or indirectly speech.

For example:

I contacted Mary advising her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. Mary told me as soon as the money hits the account, she will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel. Now, I need to relay this back to my manager. So do I use direct or indirect speech.

so, here is my email

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Boss,

I just contacted Mary advising  her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She told me as soon as she received it, she would email me.

Or do I say - using direct speech

She told me as soon as she receives it, she will email me.

If you intend to send this e-mail immediately after Mary's response, I see that no time backshift is needed. However, if you intend to send this e-mail some time later or after a few hours from her response, time backshift is preferred. In your case, I prefer your first form of writing, with no time backshift, because you have used 'just' before 'contacted'. I prefer this form:

"I have just contacted Mary advising her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She said that as soon as the money hits the account, she will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel."

Last edited by ahmed_btm

Hello,

But isn't that the rule is if we use direct speech = we need to quote exactly what the person says which requires the use of a quotation (") and if we apply the quotation in the context of an email, isn't that so weird? so the email will look like this.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Bob,

have just contacted Mary advising her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She said that "as soon as the money hits the bank account, she will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel".

@Cristi posted:

Hello,

But isn't that the rule is if we use direct speech = we need to quote exactly what the person says which requires the use of a quotation (") and if we apply the quotation in the context of an email, isn't that so weird? so the email will look like this.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Bob,

have just contacted Mary advising her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She said that "as soon as the money hits the bank account, she will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel".

Hi, Cristi,

I don't understand why you are using quotation marks after 'she said that...' This is reported speech and there shouldn't be any inverted commas (quotation marks). Not changing the time frame of her speech (hits / will provide) shows that she hasn't provided you with the receipts or sent you the parcel yet.

Hello Ahmed,

I think I know what you meant. Because I rephrased what she said so the quotation marks aren't required. I would have to use quotations marks if I quote exactly what she said, e.g. She said that "as soon as the money hits the bank account, I will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel".

Questions:

1. Please confirm if I have now understood correctly.

2.  how many days and/hours should we wait to better use the indirect speech ("backshift"), instead of direct speech.

3. Does reported speech encompassed of both direct speech and indirect speech?

Hi, Cristi,

@Cristi posted:

Hello Ahmed,

I think I know what you meant. Because I rephrased what she said so the quotation marks aren't required. I would have to use quotations marks if I quote exactly what she said, e.g. She said that "as soon as the money hits the bank account, I will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel".

Questions:

1. Please confirm if I have now understood correctly.

2.  how many days and/hours should we wait to better use the indirect speech ("backshift"), instead of direct speech.

3. Does reported speech encompassed of both direct speech and indirect speech?

I think you have missed my point there. I did use the indirect speech in my reply above. I didn' say any thing about using the direct speech. Let's take it step by step.

@ahmed_btm posted

"I have just contacted Mary advising her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She said that as soon as the money hits the account, she will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel."

This is part of first reply. Here, I am using reported speech. I used the quotation marks here just to highlight (attract more attention to) this part.

@Cristi posted:

Hello Ahmed,

I think I know what you meant. Because I rephrased what she said so the quotation marks aren't required. I would have to use quotations marks if I quote exactly what she said

That's grammatically correct. I would just add one thing: If you want to send your manager her original reply to you, you can simply say:

- I am sending you a copy of her reply:

@Cristi posted:

e.g. She said that "as soon as the money hits the bank account, I will provide me the receipts and send me the parcel".

'She said that as soon as... ' is an indirect speech. You can't use quotation marks here and you have to change the pronouns. Changing the time frame is up to you. If you want to confirm that nothing has happened ever since, no change is needed. However, if you did send her her money, but she sent you nothing, you would need to use 'time backshift'.

@Cristi posted:


I just contacted Mary advising  her that I have made the payment to the company's bank account. She told me as soon as she received it, she would email me.



Hi, Cristi—I don't mean to interrupt the dialogue you are having with Ahmed. I would, however, like to direct your attention to his using "that" after "told me." "That" is often an expendable word in subordinate clauses, but it is not expendable in your sentence, in which the "that"-clause itself contains a subordinate clause (the one introduced by "as soon as"). Without "that," your sentence does not mean what you want it to mean. Your sentence means that, right after she received the payment, she told you she would email you.

Last edited by David, Moderator
@ahmed_btm posted:

Hi, Cristi,

I think you have missed my point there. I did use the indirect speech in my reply above. I didn' say any thing about using the direct speech. Let's take it step by step.

This is part of first reply. Here, I am using reported speech. I used the quotation marks here just to highlight (attract more attention to) this part.

That's grammatically correct. I would just add one thing: If you want to send your manager her original reply to you, you can simply say:

- I am sending you a copy of her reply:

'She said that as soon as... ' is an indirect speech. You can't use quotation marks here and you have to change the pronouns. Changing the time frame is up to you. If you want to confirm that nothing has happened ever since, no change is needed. However, if you did send her her money, but she sent you nothing, you would need to use 'time backshift'.

Hi Ahmed,



My understanding is summarised as follows, please correct me if I have understood incorrectly as I am now more confused.

Direct speech is encompassed of two (see A and B)

A. Each set of direct quotes receives its own set of quotation marks.

e.g. Paul said, “I would rather go to the city on Friday night because they are having a great play in the park.” [Direct quotes without rephrasing]

B. When you are rephrasing a quoted passage, do not use quotation marks. This is called “reported speech”.

e.g. Paul said that he would rather go to the city on Friday night because they are having a great play in the park. [rephrasing] This is called reported speech.

Indirect speech

Applying the above example, it becomes:

e.g., Paul said that he would have rather gone to the city on Friday night because they were having a great play in the park.

Last edited by Cristi

Hi, Cristi,

@Cristi posted:

Hi Ahmed,



My understanding is summarised as follows, please correct me if I have understood incorrectly as I am now more confused.

Direct speech is encompassed of two (see A and B)

A. Each set of direct quotes receives its own set of quotation marks.

e.g. Paul said, “I would rather go to the city on Friday night because they are having a great play in the park.” [Direct quotes without rephrasing]

That's right.

@Cristi posted:

B. When you are rephrasing a quoted passage, do not use quotation marks. This is called “reported speech”.

e.g. Paul said that he would rather go to the city on Friday night because they are having a great play in the park. [rephrasing] This is called reported speech.

This is called reported speech or indirect speech. Both mean the same thing. Whether you called it reported or indirect speech, you have to apply the same rules. I mean you have to change the pronouns, but you don't have to change the tenses unless it is necessary.

@Cristi posted:

Indirect speech

Applying the above example, it becomes:

e.g., Paul said that he would have rather gone to the city on Friday night because they were having a great play in the park.

No. Using the term 'indirect speech' doesn't mean that it is a must to use time bachshift. Again, we change the tenses when it is necessary. In your example above, I would keep 'would rather go' without any change and you can use either 'are having' or 'were having'. 'Are' can be used because it shows that the play isn't performed yet. 'Were' can be used because 'said' is in the past simple and dominates the following verbs.

Last edited by ahmed_btm

Hi Ahmed, thanks so much!

1. when you say pronoun, do you mean the subject (he, she, it, I, you, we, they)? so change the subject.

2. After the reporting verb, the sentence after, is that called relative clause?

e.g. He told me that he was so tempted by the delicious food at last night party.

Question:

a. This is an indirect speech and it has been back shifted, assuming he told me whilst he was at the party. Backshift in this case is needed as it was last night so it's no longer current. Am I right?

b. "she was so tempted by the delicious food at last night party", is this a relative pronoun/clause in grammar?

Please shed me some light.

Hi, Cristi,

@Cristi posted:

Hi Ahmed, thanks so much!

1. when you say pronoun, do you mean the subject (he, she, it, I, you, we, they)? so change the subject.

Not only the subject pronouns, but the object, possessive and reflexive pronouns as well.

@Cristi posted:

2. After the reporting verb, the sentence after, is that called relative clause?

e.g. He told me that he was so tempted by the delicious food at last night party.

No, 'that' is not a relative clause here.

@Cristi posted:

Question:

a. This is an indirect speech and it has been back shifted, assuming he told me whilst he was at the party. Backshift in this case is needed as it was last night so it's no longer current. Am I right?

Yes, you are right.

@Cristi posted:

b. "she was so tempted by the delicious food at last night party", is this a relative pronoun/clause in grammar?

Please shed me some light.

No, isn't. It is simply a simple sentence containing one subject and one verb. There are no relative pronouns here.

If you use the search button above,  you can find a lot of information about relative pronouns and how they are used.

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