Sentence structure and word order 6
Specific types of subordinate clauses 4
Om + te + infinitive 2
Order and position of other elements in the clause 2
Examples of indirect speech
When you transcribe speech in writing, you can use a direct quotation in which the words are reported word for word (verbatim). This is usually reflected in writing by the use of quotation marks.
However, it is also possible to report speech indirectly. In indirect speech such quotes are incorporated as a subordinate clause into another clause and in writing quotation marks are never used. The word order in the subclause is different from that in a main clause. In the subordinate clause (the reported indirect speech), the finite verb (and other verbs) will occur in the final or penultimate position. The subordinate clause is initiated by the conjunctions dat or of, or by a question word.
|direct speech||indirect speech|
|1.||“Daar staan de eieren.”
“There are the eggs.”
|Simone zegt dat de eieren daar staan.
Simone says that the eggs are there.
|2.||“Ik weeg de uien en de bonen.”
“I weigh the onions and the beans.”
|Karin zegt dat zij de uien en de bonen weegt.
Karin says that she weighs the onions and beans.
|3.||“We moeten ook atjar hebben.”
“We also have to get atjar.”
|Alan zegt dat ze ook atjar moeten hebben.
Alan says that they also have to get atjar.
|4.||“Alan, heb je het lijstje?”
“Alan, have you got the list?”
|Hanna vraagt of Alan het lijstje heeft.
Hanna asks if/whether Alan has got the list.
|5.||“Wat is ketjap eigenlijk?”
“What is ketjap actually?”
|Alan vraagt wat ketjap eigenlijk is.
Alan asks what ketjap actually is.
|6.||“Wanneer gaan we naar de kroeg?”
“When do we go to the pub?”
|Ze vraagt wanneer ze naar de kroeg gaan.
She asks when they go to the pub.
When reporting a question, two possibilities arise. With yes/no questions, the conjunction of is used (4). When reporting questions which start with a question word (5-6), no conjunction is needed as the question word itself functions as a conjunction.
When relating what people have said, the verb zeggen is normally used. However, other verbs describing ways of talking are also possible, e.g. roepen (to shout) or fluisteren (to whisper).
When reporting uncertainty on the part of the speaker, the conjunction of is used, for example with the verbs twijfelen (to doubt) or niet zeker weten (not to be sure).