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Reported speech 3

Previous: Reported Speech 2

When people are speaking they often use relative times. These times only have meaning when they are compared to a particular fixed time. For example, if we use words like tomorrow or yesterday they only have meaning if we know what day it is today.

This is important in reported speech because we often report what somebody said days or weeks after the person spoke to us. If we report these relative times exactly as they were spoken the information will be wrong.

Agnieszka on Monday: „Jutro jadę na wakacje.” – jutro is Tuesday

Piotr on Tuesday: Agnieszka powiedziała, że jutro jedzie na wakacje. – jutro is now Wednesday so the information is wrong

We therefore have to change the relative time to match the time you are reporting what somebody said.

Agnieszka on Monday: „Jutro jadę na wakacje.” – jutro is Tuesday

Piotr on Tuesday: Agnieszka powiedziała, że dzisiaj jedzie na wakacje. – dzisiaj is now Tuesday so the information is correct

We can also use times which are relative to when the person spoke, instead of relative to the time now.

Dwa tygodnia temu rozmawiałem z Agnieszką i ona powiedziała, że następnego dnia jedzie na wakacje.

Another way that we can make sure the time is correct is to use times which aren’t relative and give us a definite time.

Czy słyszałeś od Agnieszki? – Nie, ale ona powiedziała, że od wtorku jest na wakacjach.

Here is a list of the different words we can use instead of relative times in reported speech.

now -> then

Agnieszka: „Skończyłam raport i teraz idę na siłownię.”

I’ve finished the report and I’m now going to the gym.

Agnieszka powiedziała, że skończyła raport i potem idzie na siłownię.

Agnieszka said she had finished the report and was then going to the gym.

today -> on Monday, that day

Agnieszka on Sunday: „Dzisiaj idę do mamy na obiad i jutro idę na siłownię.”

„I’m going to my mum’s (house) for dinner today and tomorrow I’m going to the gym.”

Czy Agnieszka poszła do siłowni w niedzielę? – Nie,  powiedziała, że w niedzielę/w ten dzień idzie do mamy na obiad.

Did Agnieszka go to the gym on Sunday? – No, she said she was going to her mum’s for dinner on Sunday/that day.

yesterday -> on Monday, the day before, the previous day

Agnieszka on Sunday: „Wczoraj poszłam na siłownię.”

„I went to the gym yesterday.”

Agnieszka powiedziała, że w sobotę/dzień wcześniej/w poprzednym dniu poszła na siłownię.

Agnieszka said she went to the gym on Saturday/the day before/the previous day.

tomorrow -> on Monday/the next day/the following day

Agnieszka on Sunday: „Jutro idę na siłownię.”

„I’m going to the gym tomorrow.”

Agnieszka powiedziała, że w poniedziałek/dzień później/ następego dnia idzie na siłownię.

Agnieszka said she was going to the gym on Monday/the next day/the following day.

this week -> that week

W tym tygodniu idę na siłownię.”

„I’m going to the gym this week.”

Several weeks later: Agnieszka powiedziała, że w tamtym tygodniu idzie na siłownię.

Agnieszka said she was going to the gym that week.

last week -> the week before, the previous week

W zeszłym tygodniu/Tydzień temu poszłam na siłownię.”

„I went to the gym last week/a week ago.”

Several weeks later: Agnieszka powiedziała, że tydzień wcześniej/w poprzednym tygodniu poszła na siłownię.

Agnieszka said she went to the gym the week before/the previous week.

an hour ago -> an hour before/an hour earlier

Godzinę temu poszłam na siłownię.”

„I went to the gym an hour ago.”

Agnieszka powiedziała, że godzinę wcześniej poszła na siłownię.

Agnieszka said she went to the gym an hour earlier/an hour before.

Places

When people talk about places, we also sometimes have to change the words we use if the person listening doesn’t know which place we are talking about.

here -> there, Drugi Dom

Agnieszka w Drugim Domu: „Lubię tu być.”

„I like it here.”

Nie lubię chodzić do Drugiego Domu ale Agnieszka powiedziała, że lubi tam chodzić.

I don’t like going to Drugi Dom but Agnieszka said she likes going there.

Agnieszka powiedziała, że lubi bywać w Drugim Domu.

Agnieszka said she likes being in Drugi Dom.

Reported speech 2

Previous: Reported speech 1

When we want to report speech using the Present Continuous we usually move the tense of the verb back to the Past Continuous.

Czytam książkę.”

„I am reading a book.”

Agnieszka powiedziała, że czyta książkę.

Agnieszka said she was reading a book.

Remember that for the Present Simple you don’t have to move the tense back in time if the fact you are reporting is still true at the moment you are reporting it. You can also do this with the Present Continuous.

Probably still doing the activity – present continuous

Właśnie zadzwoniłem do Agnieszki i powiedziała, że czyta książkę.

I just called Agnieszka and she said she is reading a book.

Not still doing the activity – past continuous

Wczoraj zadzwoniłem do Agnieszki i powiedziała, że czyta książkę.

I called Agnieszka yesterday and she said she was reading a book.

Present continuous for the future

One problem with the Present Continuous is that it can, the same as using iść in Polish, also be used for the future (something planned and organized which can’t be changed).

Jutro Idę do mamy na obiad.

I am going to my mum’s (house) for dinner tomorrow.

The reason this is a problem is because we now have three possible situations when we want to report what was said.

  1. The person is doing this activity now, at the moment we are reporting it.
  2. The person will do this activity in the future after the moment we report it e.g. tomorrow.
  3. The person has already done this activity in the past before the moment we report it e.g. yesterday.

For the first two situations we can just leave the tense as the Present Continuous because is going has both a present and future meaning.

1 The person is doing this now – present continuous

Agnieszka powiedziała, że idzie do mamy na obiad.

Agnieszka said, she is going to her mum’s for dinner.

2 The person will do this activity after you report it – present or future continuous

Agnieszka powiedziała, że jutro idzie do mamy na obiad.

Agnieszka said she is going to her mum’s for dinner tomorrow.

There is however a second option. We can use the Future Continuous to make it clear that this will happen in the future.

Agnieszka powiedziała, że jutro idzie do mamy na obiad.

Agnieszka said she will be going to her mum’s for dinner tomorrow.

3 The person finished this activity before you report it – past continuous

Agnieszka powiedziała, że wczoraj jadła obiad u mamy.

Agnieszka said she was going to her mum’s for dinner yesterday.

Next: Reported Speech 3

Reported speech 1

Reported speech is when one person reports what another person said e.g.

Agnieszka: „Często pracuję w Warszawie.”

Reported speech: Agnieszka powiedziała, że często pracuje w Warszawie.

When we report speech in English, we move the tense of the verb back in time to show that the words were spoken in the past. For example, the Present Simple moves back in time to the Past Simple.

Present Simple -> Past Simple

„Często pracuję w Warszawie.”

„I often work in Warsaw.”

Agnieszka powiedziała, że często pracuje w Warszawie.

Agnieszka said (that) she often worked in Warsaw.

Note that in English we don’t have to use the word that, like you do in Polish.

When we report something said in the present simple we don’t always have to move the tense back to the past simple. We can leave the verb in the present simple to show that you know the fact is definitely still true at the moment you report it.

Agnieszka said she often works in Warsaw. (I know she definitely still often works in Warsaw now)

It is important to show the difference because what the person said in the past might not be true now. It depends on how long ago you spoke to them and when you report what they said. You can show the same difference in Polish.

W zeszłym roku rozmawiałem z Agnieszką i powiedziała, że (wtedy) pracowała często w Warszawie.

I spoke to Agnieszka last year and she said she often worked in Warsaw.

Wczoraj rozmawiałem z Agnieszką i powiedziała, że (teraz) pracuje często w Warszawie.

I spoke to Agnieszka yesterday and she said she often works in Warsaw.

Remember that in English we think about ‚is this thing true now’ when we use reported speech. In Polish you normally just focus on what the person said. This difference means that the tenses we use in English are sometimes different to the tenses you use in Polish. For example:

Właśnie zadzwoniłem do Agnieszki, ale powiedziała, że jest w pracy i nie ma czasu gadać.

I just called Agnieszka, but she said she is at work and doesn’t have time to chat. (She’s probably still at work now – present tense)

Wczoraj zadzwoniłem do Agnieszki, ale powiedziała, że jest w pracy i nie ma czasu gadać.

I called Agnieszka yesterday, but she said she was at work and didn’t have time to chat. (I don’t know if she’s at work now – past tense)

Next: Reported speech 2