“Sod off, Reported Speech!” she exclaimed.

Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

I’ve spent the past two weeks in turns delighting and dismaying my FCE students with Reported Speech.

God, I loathe Reported Speech.

It’s everything I hate about everything all backshifted into one pointless morass. It’s prawns, brussel sprouts, hashtags, people who talk about themselves in the third person, carrot jeans, touching people I don’t know and Croc footwear.

It’s completely feckin’ made up. Reported Speech barely exists and barely matters when it does.

In class, I keep forgetting to backshift, particularly between past simple and past perfect when we’re doing endless FCE sentence transformation tasks because it just doesn’t bloody matter. Meaning my Native Speaker correct-because-I’d-say-it sentence is textbook wrong, confusing the students and confusing me as I try to “correct” my speech, so as not to sound natural but to fit the book.


At first students love RP. There are rules, logic (once you get past the fact…

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