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Grammar / Literary Approach

When statements, questions, commands and requests are reported, the original tense moves back one step in time. The rule is as follows:



Expressions of time and place may also change.




  • Paula said "I went to Bilbao last week with my brother. I had a great time".
  • Reported Speech: Paula said that she had been to Bilbao the week before with her brother and that she had had a great time.



Sentences in reported speech are often longer than the original and may combine joining words like: and, but, so because, etc.

Some reporting verbs have special constructions

  • To tell someone to do something
  • To order someone to do something
  • To beg someone to do something
  • To advise someone to do something, etc




A. Which verb can be used to report the direct speech in the sentences below?

Tell / Ask / Order / Invite / Remind / Warn / Beg / Refuse / Advise / Offer


  • I said to Ruth, "There is a party on Friday in Kapital"
  • I told Ruth there was a party on Friday in Kapital

1)"Meet me there at eleven o´clock if you want to pay half price". I told Ruth .
2)"I think you should wear a dress" .
3)"Would you mind paying for me?" I don´t have any money! .
4)"You must be home by 4 o´clock in the morning" .
Corregir   Ver Solución   Limpiar



Literary Approach




Dinner with Trimalchio by Petronius (Satyricon)


Now that the guests were all in their places, the hors d'oeurves were served, and very sumptious they were.... ....But I was speaking of hors d'oeurves. On a large tray stood a donkey made of rare Corinthian bronze; on the donkeys back were two panniers, one holding green olives, the other, black. Flanking the donkey were two side dishes, both engraved with Trimalchio's name and the weight of the silver, while in dishes shaped to resemble little bridges there were dormice, all dipped in honey and rolled in poppyseed. Nearby, on a silver grill, piping hot, lay small sausages, while beneath the grill black damsons and red pomegranates had been sliced up and arranged so as give the effect of flames playing over charcoal....

We meanwhile, were still occupied with the hors d'ouevres when a tray was carried in and set down before us. On it lay a basket and in it a hen, carved from wood, with wings outspread as though sitting on her eggs. Then two slaves came forward and, to a loud flourish from the orchestra, began rummaging in the straw and pulling out peahen's eggs which they divided among the guests. Trimalchio gave the whole performance his closest attention. "Friends," he said, "I ordered peahen eggs to be set under that hen, but I'm half afraid they may have hatched already. Still, lets see if we can suck them." We were handed spoons-weighing at least half a pound apiece- and cracked open the eggs, which turned out to be backed from rich pastry.

To tell the truth, I had almost tossed my share away, thinking the eggs were already addled. But I heard one of the guests, obviously a veteran of these dinners, say, "I wonder what little surprise we've got in here." So I cracked the shell with my hand and found inside a fine fat oriole, nicely seasoned with pepper....

Two curly haired Ethopian slaves followed him as he swept, both carrying little skin bottles like the circus attendants who sprinkle the arema with perfume, and poured wine over our hands. No one was offered water....

Glass jars carefully sealed and coated were now brought in. Each bore this lable:

Genuine falernian wine
Guaranteed one hundred years old
Bottled in the consulship of optimius

Petronius Abiter
Consul during the reign of Nero



  • What kind of a person is Trimalchio?
  • What is spectacular about the dinner?
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