Exclamations and yes and no

Do you know how you would report someone's "Wow" at the sight of your brand-new car? Or someone's "tut-tut"  when you did a bad thing? If not, then this is the read for you!

Exclamations usually become statements in indirect speech. Plus, the exclamation mark disappears.

1Exclamations beginning with What ... or How . . . can be reported by the words exclaim/say that:

  • Johny said¬† "What a funny idea!" or 'How funny'.' = He exclaimed that it was a funny idea/ was funny.

or by give an exclamation of disgust/surprise/delight/relief/horror/etc.

Alternatively, if the exclamation is followed by an action we can use the construction with an exclamation of delight/disgust etc.

he/she etc. + verb.

2Other types of exclamation, such as Good! Marvellous! Splendid! Heavens! Oh! Ugh! etc. can be reported as in or above:

  • "Good!" he exclaimed = He gave an exclamation of pleasure/satisfaction.
  • 'Ugh!" she exclaimed, and turned the programme off = With an exclamation of disgust she turned the programme off.

3 Note also:

  • She said, "Curse this dog!" = She cursed the dog.
  • She said, "luck!" = She wished me luck.
  • She said, "Thank you!" = She thanked me.
  • She said, "Congratulations!" = She congratulated me.
  • She said, "Traitor!" = She called me a traitor.
  • She said, "Happy Christmas!" = She wished me a happy Christmas.
  • She said, "Hell!" = She swore.
  • The notice said: "welcome to Edinburgh" = The notice welcomed visitors to Edinburgh.

yes and no are expressed in indirect speech by subject + appropriate auxiliary verb:

  • He said, "Can you swim?" and I said "No" = He asked (me) if I could swim and I said I couldn't.
  • He said, "Will you have time to do it"' and I said "Yes" = He asked if I would have time to do it and I said that I would.