Reported speech – how to say what someone told you

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter
We often need to tell people what someone else has said to us:

He said he wanted to come with us.

She told me she hadn’t seen the document.

This is what the textbooks call ‘reported speech‘, because you are reporting what has been said to you.

To use reported speech correctly, you have to be careful about what tense you use. The basic rule is that you look at the tense the speaker used, then you go back one tense to report it.

So, for instance, if someone says something in the present tense, you report it in the past tense:

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About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Kate Woodford

stressedIf you had a break over the festive period, I hope you came back feeling relaxed. But now that you’ve been back at work for a few weeks, you’re probably already starting to feel stressed (=worried and nervous). Of course you are – we’re all stressed (or stressed out), and we never tire of talking about it! So let’s look at some other ways to express it.

If you are tense,anxious or on edge, you are nervous and not able to relax: I felt so tense, waiting for the interview to start./You seem a little on edge this morning. Both tense and anxious are also used to describe situations that cause feelings of worry or nervousness, such as sports games: There were some tense/anxious moments in the second half of the game.

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Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

[by Liz Walter]

We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely:

He was very pleased.

The ship is extremely large.

However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic, delighted, huge, furious. For these, the most common adverb is absolutely. Utterly is even stronger, and is usually used for adjectives with a negative meaning:

This apartment is absolutely perfect for us.

At the end of the day, I was utterly exhausted.

Really is slightly informal, and used both with strong adjectives and other adjectives:

Your shoes are really dirty.

Her bedroom is really tiny.

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