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Peter answered (her/Mary) that it was his car. Options
DavidLearn
Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 5:25:21 PM

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Hello teachers,
Could you check this definition and tell me if it is correct?
To change direct speech answers to reported speech sentences we can use the reporting verb 'answer' followed by a 'that clause'.
This is how Peter answered Mary.
Peter answered, "It is my my car."
Reported speech:
Peter answered (her/Mary) that it was his car.
My other two questions?
a) Is 'that' always mandatory with the reported speech verb 'answer'?
b) Is it optional, mandatory, or incorrect to use an object (pro)noun after the verb 'answer' in reported speech?

Thanks
seemo74
Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 5:45:37 PM

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It is not mandatory at all .
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 6:17:10 PM

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Hi David!

The simple answers are
a. no
b. probably

Now, the useful answers are a bit longer Whistle .

a. I don't think it is grammatically necessary to use 'that', but often it makes the sentence a lot clearer.
"He answered it was his car." is simple and clear.
"He answered her it was his car." sounds "OK" but sounds better with 'that'.
"He answered her without looking in a dictionary he didn't know." is ambiguous.
"He answered her that without looking in a dictionary, he didn't know." is good. (He said "Without looking in a dictionary, I don't know."
"He answered her, without looking in a dictionary, that he didn't know." is good, but means something different - He didn't look in a dictionary (which he should have done) and said, "I don't know".

b. It is optional - obviously the speaker will have just said "Mary asked . . .", so the other person is known to everyone.

He answered that it was his car.
He said it was his car.
He answered her that it was his car.
He answered Mary that it was his car.
- this is OK, but seems a bit redundant if the sentence before it was "Mary asked him whose car it was."

In fact, generally what you will hear or see is:
"Mary asked Peter whose car it was. He said it was his."
"Mary asked, 'Whose car is that?'
Peter replied, 'Mine.'
"

Never underestimate the ability of people to use as few words as possible!
thar
Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 6:25:42 PM

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Yes, to me you have to use 'that'. But is suspect it is personal style, not a grammar rule.

It is because the object of the verb is different.

eg
You say something. The object of 'say' is your words
He said it was his car.
He said, "It is my car".

Both of those are valid ways of expressing the object of 'say'.

But 'answer' is different. You answer by saying something. But the object of 'answer' is actually the question, or the person who spoke to you.
He answered the question.
He answered her question.
He answered her.

But also you see
He answered, "It is my car".

But to me that is the limit of how you can use that as the 'object' of what he answered.
I think you are in fact saying:
He answered, saying, "It is my car".

So, what that means is it feels unnatural to me, to have the speech as the direct object of 'answer':
He answered it was his car. No, that feels a bit wrong, somehow.
To me it feels much more natural to put in a 'that' to make it indirect:
He answered that it was his car.
You are distancing the two parts by putting a 'that' in between them. Not entirely a logical argument why, on my part, so I can't explain very well.

Does that make any sense? To you or to any grammarians here?

To answer your second point. No, you don't need a pronoun. At least I see a lot of instances without one, and would not always use one myself. But again, by the same argument, if I were really thinking as I wrote that sentence, I would not make the words the direct object.
Being really precise in my grammar, I would probably say:
He answered her, saying it was his car.

ie He answered her. He said, "It is my car".
But interesting to see if anybody else agrees with me on this, or are more flexible.

edit - I have just seen dragon's post, and he gives a far more logical answer to come up with a similar outcome. So I agree with that.Applause
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 12:55:31 AM

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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Hi David!

The simple answers are
a. no
b. probably

Now, the useful answers are a bit longer Whistle .

a. I don't think it is grammatically necessary to use 'that', but often it makes the sentence a lot clearer. Hmm, I think I get it, The conjunction 'that' makes a lot clearer that I'm using reported speech. That is merely my opinion, because when we speak we don't know if there are questions marks or not. It is the first idea that came to my mind. Maybe it is very silly.Anxious
"He answered it was his car." is simple and clear.
"He answered her it was his car." sounds "OK" but sounds better with 'that'.
"He answered her without looking in a dictionary he didn't know." is ambiguous.
"He answered her that without looking in a dictionary, he didn't know." is good. (He said "Without looking in a dictionary, I don't know."
"He answered her, without looking in a dictionary, that he didn't know." is good, but means something different - He didn't look in a dictionary (which he should have done) and said, "I don't know".

b. It is optional - obviously the speaker will have just said "Mary asked . . .", so the other person is known to everyone. Isn't that so logical. But the thing is that I din't think about it until I've seen your reply.

He answered that it was his car.
He said it was his car.
He answered her that it was his car.
He answered Mary that it was his car.
- this is OK, but seems a bit redundant if the sentence before it was "Mary asked him whose car it was."

In fact, generally what you will hear or see is:
"Mary asked Peter whose car it was. He said it was his."
"Mary asked, 'Whose car is that?'
Peter replied, 'Mine.'
"

Never underestimate the ability of people to use as few words as possible! I won't!

Hello Drag0nspeaker,
I appreciate your very detailed reply. Before that I really didn't know the reasons to use 'that' or not, or to use the '(pro)noun' or not with the verb answer. In one sentence it was clear as mud.
Thank you. Applause


DL
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:07:03 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/27/2014
Posts: 3,854
Neurons: 25,658
Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
thar wrote:
Yes, to me you have to use 'that'. But is suspect it is personal style, not a grammar rule.

It is because the object of the verb is different.

eg
You say something. The object of 'say' is your words
He said it was his car.
He said, "It is my car".

Both of those are valid ways of expressing the object of 'say'.

But 'answer' is different. You answer by saying something. But the object of 'answer' is actually the question, or the person who spoke to you.
He answered the question.
He answered her question.
He answered her.

But also you see
He answered, "It is my car".

But to me that is the limit of how you can use that as the 'object' of what he answered.
I think you are in fact saying:
He answered, saying, "It is my car".

So, what that means is it feels unnatural to me, to have the speech as the direct object of 'answer':
He answered it was his car. No, that feels a bit wrong, somehow.
To me it feels much more natural to put in a 'that' to make it indirect:
He answered that it was his car.
You are distancing the two parts by putting a 'that' in between them. Not entirely a logical argument why, on my part, so I can't explain very well. It is true! using the conjunction 'that' we are distancing the two parts. Crystal clear. As I've told Drag0nspeaker, we don't see the question marks when we speak. Not a gramatical argument of course.

Does that make any sense? To you or to any grammarians here?

To answer your second point. No, you don't need a pronoun. At least I see a lot of instances without one, and would not always use one myself. But again, by the same argument, if I were really thinking as I wrote that sentence, I would not make the words the direct object.
Being really precise in my grammar, I would probably say:
He answered her, saying it was his car.

ie He answered her. He said, "It is my car".
But interesting to see if anybody else agrees with me on this, or are more flexible.

edit - I have just seen dragon's post, and he gives a far more logical answer to come up with a similar outcome. So I agree with that.Applause

Hello thar,
I also appreciate your explanations. Drag0nspeaker's and yours have helped me to really solve my questions. Applause

DL
thar
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:18:10 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,691
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Thanks. It was good for me to read dragon's post, and compare our different reasons for the same effect.
He is right, sometimes it is important to remember grammar is just a tool to ensure people decode the language the same way it was encoded.

edit - note, the speech marks are quotation marks (".."), not question marks (?).
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:32:28 AM

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Hello thar,
You're welcome. Sorry, what does 'Crouty' mean?
I really like your sentence about what grammar is used for!

thar wrote:
edit - note, the speech marks are quotation marks (".."), not question marks (?).

Sure. Brick wall Sorry about that. Of course I wanted to say, 'quotation marks'. Eagle eye. Applause

DL
thar
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:35:47 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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I thought your orignal answer wrongly credited IMcRout, - and in the habit of adding -y, >> "Crouty". Was I wrong, am I going nuts or did you edit? Please say you did, and I am not seeing things.....Anxious
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:39:52 AM

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Joined: 1/27/2014
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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
thar wrote:
I thought your orignal answer wrongly credited IMcRout, - and in the habit of adding -y, >> "Crouty". Was I wrong, am I going nuts or did you edit? Please say you did, and I am not seeing things.....Anxious

Hello thar,
I never wrote IMcRout. How come you saw that? Wow, I don't think you are going nuts, but please do look after yourself. Angel

DL
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:42:47 AM

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Joined: 1/27/2014
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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Hello thar,
I was joking. Whistle Yes, yes, I did write IMcRout at the beginning and after that I edited. So sorry about that. You are not going nuts at all.
Have a great week. You don't really have to go to the neurologist.

Best,
DL
thar
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:45:08 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,691
Neurons: 92,092


[image not available]
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:49:03 AM

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Joined: 1/27/2014
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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Hello thar,
I hope the one with the hammer is neither you nor myself. It was just a joke.

DL

thar
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:55:12 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,691
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Hey, I'm laughing. You are a squashed, burning pile of toast, but I am laughing! Whistle Whistle

DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 4:21:10 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/27/2014
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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Hello thar,
It took me a while to understand this sentence, 'You are a squashed, burning pile of toast.'Anxious
I hope the meaning was just temporary. I really don't want to be history. Your help as well as others is great and necessary to me.Angel

DL
thar
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 4:41:05 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,691
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Well, I was going to have you for breakfast... but as usual, I didn't have time to eat, so I skipped breakfast... so you are safe!Angel
And yes, the hammer was for your head, not mine!
DavidLearn
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 4:49:51 AM

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Joined: 1/27/2014
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Location: Girona, Catalonia, Spain
thar wrote:
Well, I was going to have you for breakfast... but as usual, I didn't have time to eat, so I skipped breakfast... so you are safe!Angel
And yes, the hammer was for your head, not mine!


It is good to know that the hammer was just virtual. In fact, it's quite big. On the other hand, it's also good to know that you had to skip your breakfast.

Have a great day.

DL
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