PSLE English | Sentence Synthesis: Direct and Indirect Speech - Reporting a Question

With the examinations approaching, I am hoping to churn out a few more tips to aid in the children's revision. In the previous post, I had looked at Direct and Indirect Speech questions which are in statement form ("I am very hungry," said Jeff.). Today, we will wrap up sentence synthesis questions in this area by dwelling into the reporting of direct questions. (e.g. "Where did the boy go?" asked Maria)

The Basics: Changing a question to a statement

When we report a statement, we mentioned that we need to take note of the TPTP (Tenses, Pronouns, Time and Place). The same goes for reporting a question. However, the main difference in reporting a question is the need to change the structure of the question into a statement

The first thing you need to do is to understand the difference between a statement (ends with a full stop or an exclamation mark) and a question.

The structure of a statement is usually: Subject + Verb

E.g. She (S) is (V) coming. 

The structure of a question is usually: Verb + Subject

E.g. Is (V) she (S) coming?

Hence, when you report a question into a statement, a switch needs to be made from a question to a statement

V + S (“Is she…”)  —>  S + V (“She is/was…” depending on the Tenses of the question.)

Exception - Missing Subject

If a subject is missing, there is no V + S to switch to S + V. 

The reported speech will still sound like a question.

5W1H type of questions 

For 5W1H type of questions, the "Who...", "What...", "Where...", "Why...", "When...", "How..." etc. needs to be kept in the answer. Instead of adding "if" or "whether", we begin our transformation with the W word. 

Where is (V) she (S)? —> Where she (S) was (V)…

Do/ Does/ Did type of questions

For questions that contain "do", "does" or "did", we usually will omit them during the transformation. They are responsible for telling us the tenses but not necessary in the answers.

The above are the main types of questions and what to take note of when reporting a question. As mentioned earlier, the rules to change TPTP remains the same every time we change direct speech to indirect speech. However, as the structure of questions is essentially different from that of a statement, some children do find it harder to make changes for the tenses as it just seemed less obvious to them in a question form.

Below is a table on the change in tenses when applied to the reporting of questions. Hopefully, it will give you some clarity on how the changes take place!

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As always, having practice to accompany what is learnt is vital to reinforcing the knowledge! Thus, make sure that you practise some questions to apply what you have learnt (: 

I will be putting up a new post next week, possibly a vocabulary list on words that every pupil should know in order to have a good chance in understanding and answering the questions in Visual Text Comprehension. Look out for it! (:


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