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Last time we talked about noun clauses, groups of words that have the same uses in a sentence as a noun. In this lesson, we’re going to explore some additional ways noun clauses can be used, as well as some related concepts.

 

Quoted Speech

Quoted speech means that you are reproducing exactly what a person (or persons) said. The quoted speech is enclosed in quotation marks and attributed using a quote verb (usually “said”).

 

He said, “My sister is a student at the English Island.

My sister is a student at the English Island,” he said.

My sister,” he said, is a student at the English Island.

 

Notice that the punctuation varies slightly depending on where the quote verb is placed. When the quote verb comes before the quote, place a comma after it and frame the quoted speech with quotation marks. Put the final quotation mark outside the period at the end of the sentence. When the quoted sentence precedes the quote verb, use a comma at the end of the quoted sentence. When the quote verb interrupts the quoted speech, use a comma after the first part of the quoted speech.

 

Do not capitalize the first word after an interrupting quote verb unless you are beginning a new sentence:

 

“My sister is a student. She takes classes at the English Island in Atlanta,” he said.

“My sister is a student,” he said, “She takes classes at the English Island in Atlanta.”

 

When expressing a question or exclamation, the question mark or exclamation point effectively takes the place of a final comma or period within the quoted speech:

 

He asked, “When will you arrive?

“When will you arrive?” he asked.

“Watch out!” James said.

 

Unlike the pronoun subjects that we have used in examples so far, a noun subject often follows the quote verb when the subject and verb come in the middle or at the end of a quoted sentence:

 

“My sister is a student,” said James.

My sister,” said James, “is a student.”

 

Reported Speech

Reported speech refers to using a noun clause to paraphrase (report) what someone has said. No quotation marks are used. (Reported speech has its own lesson, so we won’t be covering it in depth here.) In reported speech, the main verb (the reporting verb) is usually in simple past tense. This is true even when the quoted speech being reported on was said in the present tense. In most cases, the verb in the noun clause takes the past form as well:

 

“I am studying English,” she said. (Quoted Speech)

She said she was studying English. (Reported Speech)

 

“I am going to study English,” she said. (Quoted Speech)

She said she was going to study English. (Reported Speech)

 

Using “–ever” Words

Whoever, whatever, whenever, wherever, and however express the idea of “any.” In the following examples, each pair of sentences has the same meaning:

 

Whoever wants to study English is welcome at the English Island.

Anyone who wants to study English is welcome at the English Island.

 

Angela always says whatever is on her mind.

Angela always says anything that is on her mind.

 

You may schedule a class whenever you wish.

You may schedule a class at any time that you wish.

 

English Island tutors can teach classes wherever you want to meet.

English Island tutors can teach classes anyplace that you want to meet.

 

There is no dress code for the convention. Attendees may dress however they please.

There is no dress code for the convention. Attendees may dress in any way that they please.

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