Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe there is an important and unavoidable decision for you to make (in the future). The other person wants to know what your parents are likely to say about it. The other person may say something like: "tell me, what are your parents going to say?".
In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué van a decir tus padres?
On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué van a decir sus padres?
The question is an invitation for you to report what other people are going to say. When reporting what other people may say, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what people are going to say. Perhaps you want to report that:
- A single person is going to say something - affirmative;
- A single person is going to say something – negative;
- A single person is going to say nothing;
- Two or more people are going to say something - affirmative;
- Two or more people are going to say something – negative;
- Two or more people are going to say nothing;
Here are some examples of how you could reply:
- Mi madre va a decir que acceptará mi decisión* (my mother is going to say she will accept my decision);
- Mi madre va a decir que no le gusta verme preocupado* (my mother is going to say that she doesn't like to see me worried);
- Mi padre no va decir nada (my father is not going to say anything);
- Mis padres van a decir que quieren lo mejor para mi* (my parents are going to say that they want the best for me);
- Mis padres van a decir que no quieren meterse en mis cosas* (my parents are going to say that they don't want to get involved in my affairs);
- Mis padres no van a decir nada (my parents are not going to say anything);
Now you should practise further replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué van a decir tus padres?
*Please see grammar below
Indirect speech is a form of speech which helps express what people say but using our own words, not theirs. The situation above and the reply examples are typical of the use of indirect speech. In Spanish “decir” (to say/ to tell) is a verb commonly used to enable the speaker to report what other people say. It should be noted that indirect speech subordinate/ dependent clauses do not require a subjunctive.
Some further examples of indirect speech are:
- Dirás que vas a hacer los deberes (you will say that you are going to do your homework);
- Ian dirá que es fácil aprender español (Ian will say that learning Spanish is easy);
- Diremos que vamos a hacer los deberes (we will say that we are going to do our homework);
- ¿Diréis que vais a aprender español por internet? (will you say that you are going to learn Spanish online?)
- Ann y Simon dirán que les gustaba aprender español por internet (Ann and Simon will say that they enjoy learning Spanish online);
Now you should practise the use of indirect speech with some more sentences of your own
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