“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.

reported-speech1

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

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