There are two types of Indirect Speech: Reported Speech, in which we express what was said without a word-for-word quote, and Indirect Questions, which are round-about ways of asking questions, sometimes for polite purposes. The two overlap at Reported Questions.
This series includes Backshifting as well, a process instrumental to Reported Speech.
Reported Speech is how we repeat a what we or someone else said, sacrificing word-for-word repetition for the sake of maintaining accuracy or clarity. Since the context of the original quote has since changed (at least in terms of time, but often in terms of place, speaker, and/or audience as well), we need to make a few adjustments. That’s what the Reported Speech structure is for.
There are two types of Indirect Questions, for which the response we’re looking for isn’t a literal one. The first type is worded for the sake of politeness (or sometimes hesitance) when we would like information or a favor. The second type is Reported Questions, which repeat a question (but not word-for-word) that someone else might have asked. The structure is the same for both types, so the featured method covers the 3 parts of Indirect Question structure. Reported Questions also build off aspects of declarative Reported Speech, so it’s important to cover that prior to teaching this lesson.
Backshifting is the alteration of verb forms in a new context to match the sequence of tenses from the original context, and thus it is instrumental in Reported Speech. Backshifting is also used to illustrate uncertainty for some reason, so we might use it in polite requests as well.
There are two methods to backshifting. One requires an understanding of various tenses. The other focuses on auxiliary verbs. Use whichever makes the most sense for your students.