Write in Style: A Guide to Good English

By Richard Palmer | Go to book overview

21

PARTS OF SPEECH (ADVANCED)

Chapter 18 covers the eight Parts of Speech in considerable detail, but its range is restricted. Although some of the material on verbs, adjectives and adverbs looks at compounds-structures of more than one word expressing a uniform linguistic concept-on the whole its focus is on single words. This section is mainly devoted to the further study of compounds-phrases and clauses that do the work of verbs, nouns and so on. In addition, it covers certain other sophisticated matters 'postponed' from the earlier section.

I stressed at the outset that this Primer is not a fully comprehensive work, and I do not claim to cover every matter pertaining to Parts of Speech. But I do hope that between them Chapters 18 and 21 take care of most of the things that you need to know or will find useful.


21.1

VERBS

Direct and reported speech

Please read these elementary sentences:

1. I am going into town.
2. He drives like a maniac.
3. They all detest pasta.

In each case there is an implicit sense of speech: as we read we hear the words as well. And to make that sense of speech explicit doesn't require much effort or ingenuity:

1a. 'I am going into town, ' he told them.

2a. 'He drives like a maniac.' she observed.

3a. 'They all detest pasta, ' the waiter explained. *

* At this juncture the difference between writing direct speech and reported speech is my chief concern, not the mechanics and conventions of speech punctuation. I deal fully with the latter in Chapter 22.

-294-

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