reporting verbs in order of frequency - found in the middle of reporting.

reporting clause (mid position)

Point 15 in the category of REPORTED SPEECH / DIRECT SPEECH is defined as:

the reporting verb in the mid position of the reported clause.

Here’s a list of the 10 most common B2 reporting verbs found in the mid position:

claimed, commented, muttered, observed, recalled, remarked, responded, sighed, stated, whispered


This is a very hard structure to expand.  A search in iWeb for " _p _VVD , " gives us a start to work with.

(the specific strings are apparently ‘too’ general for iWeb and punctuation that is crucial for google searches does not work either.)

1 ” HE SAID , ” 28811
2 ” SHE SAID , ” 11094
3 ” I SAID , ” 8425
4 ” HE ADDED , ” 4032
5 ” HE CONTINUED , ” 2173
6 ” HE WROTE , ” 2131
7 ” HE REPLIED , ” 2038
8 ” THEY SAID , ” 1658
9 ” SHE ADDED , ” 1370
10 ” I REPLIED , ” 947
11 ” HE EXPLAINED , ” 880
12 ” SHE CONTINUED , ” 812
13 ” I THOUGHT , ” 791
14 ” SHE REPLIED , ” 762
15 ” HE ANSWERED , ” 692
16 ” SHE WROTE , ” 636
17 ” HE ASKED , ” 496
18 ” I ASKED , ” 465
19 ” SHE EXPLAINED , ” 432
20 ” HE CRIED , ” 424
21 ” I ANSWERED , ” 345
22 ” THEY REPLIED , ” 283
23 ” HE CONCLUDED , ” 274
24 ” HE DECLARED , ” 264
25 ” HE THOUGHT , ” 257
26 ” HE EXCLAIMED , ” 253
27 ” SHE CRIED , ” 245
28 ” IT SAID , ” 243
29 ” SHE ANSWERED , ” 228
30 ” HE NOTED , ” 224
31 ” WE SAID , ” 223
32 ” SHE ASKED , ” 214
33 ” HE BEGAN , ” 211
34 ” HE RESPONDED , ” 197
35 ” I CRIED , ” 193
36 ” THEY WROTE , ” 192
37 ” HE RECALLED , ” 167
38 ” HE STATED , ” 160
39 ” HE ADMITTED , ” 139
40 ” THEY ASKED , ” 131
41 ” I RESPONDED , ” 130
42 ” SHE EXCLAIMED , ” 123
43 ” HE REMARKED , ” 122
44 ” I CONTINUED , ” 115
45 ” SHE BEGAN , ” 109
46 ” SHE RESPONDED , ” 109
47 ” THEY ANSWERED , ” 109
48 ” HE OBSERVED , ” 104
49 ” HE LAUGHED , ” 103
50 ” SHE THOUGHT , ” 102
51 ” HE WARNED , ” 96
52 ” SHE RECALLED , ” 94
53 ” HE ARGUED , ” 93
54 ” HE WHISPERED , ” 89
55 ” HE SHOUTED , ” 88
56 ” HE SMILED , ” 81
57 ” I ADDED , ” 81
58 ” SHE WHISPERED , ” 77
59 ” THEY ADDED , ” 74
60 ” HE INSISTED , ” 71
61 ” SHE NOTED , ” 71
62 ” IT ADDED , ” 68
63 ” SHE CONCLUDED , ” 66
64 ” I EXCLAIMED , ” 64
65 ” YOU SAID , ” 64
66 ” I EXPLAINED , ” 63
67 ” I WROTE , ” 63
68 ” IT READ , ” 60
69 ” HE JOKED , ” 58
70 ” HE ANNOUNCED , ” 57
71 ” HE MUSED , ” 56
72 ” IT CONTINUED , ” 56
73 ” SHE LAUGHED , ” 56
74 ” SHE DECLARED , ” 54
75 ” I WHISPERED , ” 52
76 ” HE SIGHED , ” 50
77 ” HE COMMENTED , ” 49
78 ” SHE SIGHED , ” 48
79 ” HE MUTTERED , ” 47
80 ” I BEGAN , ” 47
81 ” SHE SMILED , ” 47
82 ” THEY CONTINUED , ” 46
83 ” SHE STATED , ” 45
84 ” HE PROCLAIMED , ” 44
85 ” I WENT , ” 44
86 ” I KNEW , ” 42
87 ” SHE ADMITTED , ” 42
88 ” HE REPEATED , ” 41
89 ” THEY CRIED , ” 41
90 ” HE CHUCKLED , ” 38
91 ” HE SUGGESTED , ” 38
92 ” IT WORKED , ” 38
93 ” HE CLAIMED , ” 37
94 ” ONE SAID , ” 35
95 ” HE ASSERTED , ” 34
96 ” HE PAUSED , ” 34
97 ” THEY CONCLUDED , ” 34
98 ” HE PLEADED , ” 33
99 ” SHE INSISTED , ” 33
100 ” I AGREED , ” 32


PELIC STUDENT Example:

Korean Female level 4 writing class

Some people advised me “exercise everyday”, but I didn’t want to exercise. So I looked for other advice, according to “the solution of insomnia“, Paul Jerard said, “Eat very light, read a book about something peaceful, and take a shower or a bath. You don’t have to do everything, but one of the above-mentioned ideas will work for you.”

*This example in PELIC is not really a mid-position reporting clause, but it still shows the complexity of citation prior to the direct speech.

 

The fact is that the middle position is incredibly rare which makes it surprising that this is not a C levels grammar marker.  Here is a great report on it: http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/publications/CL2003/CL2001%20conference/papers/ikeo.pdf

And from Cambridge we have:

  • The reporting clause may sometimes come in the middle of the reported clause, especially in literary styles:
  • “No,” she said, “I’ve never seen it before.”
  • ‘Was it,’ he asked, ‘the first time you had spoken to Mrs Dalton?’