Basic English Grammar Rules Of Narration

English Language section is difficult because it comprises most of the questions from grammar. One of the most important topic from grammar is Narration and today we will be discussing everything related to it.

English Language  is an important section from exam point of view  and if you are a banking aspirants then you must be knowing the importance of this section. A good students  can easily fetch some very good marks if he/she can attempts this section carefully and with accuracy. Especially the Grammar topic is very important and students often get confused in this because of the formulas but with practice you can ace them all.  In this article, we will be covering one of the most important topic of English grammar that is Narration.

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What Is Narration?

When we express someone’s words in our own words, it is called – “Indirect Speech” and when we express someone’s words as it is, it is called – “Direct Speech“.

Example: They said, “We will be partying tonight.” (Direct Speech)

They said that they would be partying that night. (Indirect Speech)

Some of the rules for changing “Direct Speech” into “Indirect Speech” are:

  1. Reporting verb is changed according to the form and sense of the sentence.
  2. Inverted commas are removed in the indirect-speech.
  3. Connective word is used in the beginning of the reported speech.
  4. Verb of the reported speech is changed according to the form and sense of the sentence.
  5. Persons & Helping Verbs of the reported speech are changed.

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Rules of change of Pronouns

Nominative Possessive Objective Reflexive
I My Me Myself
We Our Us Ourselves
You Yours You Yourself
He His Him Himself
She Her Her Herself
They Their Them Themselves

Pronouns are changed as per the  SON rule where SON refers to:

  • stands for Subject 
  • stands for Object   
  • stands for No change.
  1. Here, First person changes to subject of Reporting Verb
  2. Second person changes to Object of Reporting Verb
  3. There is no change if it is a Third person.

Rule No 1.
1st Person of pronoun of Reported speech is changed according to the Subject of Reporting verb of the sentence.

Direct: He says, “I am in ninth class.”
Indirect: He says that she is in ninth class.

Rule No 2.
2nd Person of pronoun of Reported speech is changed according to Object of Reporting verb in the sentence.

Direct: He says to me, “you have done your work”
Indirect: He tells me that I have done my work.

Rule No 3.
3rd Person of Pronoun of Reported speech is not changed.

Direct: She says, “He does not work hard”
Indirect: She says that he does not work hard.

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Rules of change of verb or Tense

Rule No.1

When reporting verb is given in Present or Future tense then there will be no change in the verb or tense of Reported speech in the sentence.

Direct: The teacher says, “Ram performs on the stage”
Indirect: The teacher says that Ram performs on the stage.

Direct: The teacher is saying, “Ram performs on the stage”
Indirect: The teacher is saying that Ram performs on the stage.

Rule No.2

When the reporting verb is given in Past tense then the tense of the verb of Reported Speech will change into corresponding Past tense.

Direct: The teacher said, “I am suffering from cancer.”
Indirect: The teacher said that she was suffering from cancer.

Changes from past form in an indirect speech from the verb in Reported speech.

  1. Simple present changes to Simple Past
  2. Present Continuous changes to Past Continuous
  3. Present Perfect changes to Past Perfect
  4. Present Perfect Continuous changes to Past Perfect Continuous
  5. Simple Past changes to Past Perfect
  6. Past Continuous changes to Past Perfect Continuous
  7. In Future Tense will/Shall changes to would
  8. Can changes to Could
  9. May changes to Might

Exceptional cases of Rule 2

Exception 1: 

When the Reporting speech has Universal Truth or Habitual fact then there is no change in the Tense. 

Direct: Our teacher said, “The Mars is round”
Indirect: Our teacher said that the mars is round.( Universal Truth)

Exception 2:
When the reporting speech has Past Historical Fact then there is no change in the Tense.

Exception 3:
When the Reporting speech has two actions to be happening at a time when there is no change in the Tense.

Direct: He said “My sister was making lunch when I was studying”
Indirect: He said that his sister was making lunch when she was studying.

Exception 4:
When Reporting speech has some Imagined Condition then there is no change in the Tense.

Direct: He said, “If I were rich, I would help him.”
Indirect: He said that if he were rich he would help him.

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Some other  changes that take place when we change Direct Speech to Indirect Speech.

Here Changes to There
Now Changes to Then
This Changes to That
These Changes to Those
Today Changes to That day
To-night Changes to That night
Yesterday Changes to The previous day
Last night Changes to The previous night
Last week Changes to The previous week
Tomorrow Changes to The next day
Next Week Changes to The following week
Ago Changes to Before
Thus Changes to so
Hence Changes to Thence
Hither Changes to Thither
Come Changes to Go

Note:-In an  indirect speech we talk about such incidents that have happened  after the time of reporting and  had happened away from the place of reporting therefore the words that show nearness has to be replaced by the words that show distance.

Exception in these changes

1.Come is changed to go if there is some word given after come that shows nearness.

2. When  thishere and now points to such a thing, place or time that is in front of the speaker then no change takes place in Indirect Narration.

 Rules for Change in Narration of different type of sentences

Assertive Sentences

Rule 1

  • When there is no object in the subject after Reporting verb there it should not be changed. 
  • When there is some object in a sentence after Reporting verb then say is changed to tell, says to tells and said to told.
  • As per the context said to can be replaced by replied, informed, stated, added, remarked, asserted, assured, pleaded, reminded, reported or complained etc. 

Rule 2

  • We put conjunction that in place of “  ”.
  • We generally Change the pronouns of the Reported speech as enlisted earlier.

Examples –

Direct: He said to me, “I shall sleep now”
Indirect: He told me that he would play then.

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Interrogative Sentences

Rule 1

  • When an interrogative sentence is meant to ask questions, then reporting verb said/said to is changed to asked.
  • We change Said to  into enquired or demanded

Rule 2

  • When a question is formed with the help of any of the helping verbs like is/are/am, was/were, has/have, do/does, will/would etc then “ __” are to be replaced by if or whether
  • When the question is formed with the help of words starting with “Wh”  like who, whose, what, whom, when etc (also known as W family) or How then to replace “___” no conjunction is used.

Rule 3

  • In such sentences question form of the sentence is removed and full-stop is put at the end of the sentence.
  • The Helping verb is /are/am, was/were etc should be put after the subject in a  sentence.
  • When the interrogative sentence is expressing positive feeling then do/does of the Direct speech is removed while converting it into Indirect speech in a sentence.
  • When the interrogative sentence is expressing negative feeling then do/does of the Direct speech is changed into did while converting it into Indirect speech in a sentence.

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