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Dialogue and Paragraph

Dialogue and Paragraph

In English (Précis and Composition) paper of CSS examination, a dialogue is given and the candidates are asked to rewrite that in a paragraph form. As a teacher, I have observed that students find this question a bit difficult to handle. In this write-up, I have tried to guide the students regarding this question with the help of some examples.

An Important Note

According to a rule regarding ‘Direct and Indirect Narration’, if the Reporting Speech is in the past tense and the Reported Speech in the Past Indefinite or Past Continuous Tense, while changing the narration, the Past Indefinite Tense shall be changed into the Past Perfect Tense and the Past Continuous Tense, into Past Perfect Continuous. For example:

(a) Dir: He said, “I immediately contacted the police.”
Ind: He said that he had immediately contacted the police.
(Past Indefinite changes into Past Perfect)

(b) Dir: She said to me, “I was waiting for my turn.”
Ind: She told me that she had been waiting for her turn.
(Past Continuous changes into Past Perfect Continuous)

But the above rule does not always apply. In certain cases, even if the Reporting Speech is in the past tense, the Past Indefinite or Past Continuous tense of the reported speech will not change. For example:

Dir: The accused said, “When I entered the room, I found her dead.”
Ind: The accused said that when he entered the room, he found her dead.

Now, following the above-mentioned rule, if your answer is:

“The accused said that when he had entered the room, he had found her dead.” will be ridiculous and wrong.
Similarly,
Dir: The boy said, “At that time, I was studying in the library.”
Ind: The boy said that at that time he was studying in the library. (Not, he had been studying).

Normally, when we are narrating some event, especially in long passages, the rule mentioned above does not apply. All other rules, however, will apply accordingly. Now we give certain examples wherein the said rule won’t apply while rewriting the dialogues in a paragraph form.

Read these examples carefully.

Example 1

Q: Rewrite the following dialogue, written in direct speech, in a paragraph form. (CSS 2018)

Jack: Hello, Swarup! Swatting away as usual. Come out, man; shut up your old books, and come and have a game of tennis.

Swarup: I am sorry I cannot do that, Jack. The examination is drawing near, and I want every hour I can get for study.

Jack: Oh! Hang all examinations! I do not worry about mine. What is the use of them, anyway?

Swarup: Well, you can’t get a degree if you don’t pass the examination; and I have set my heart on being a graduate.

Jack: And pray what good will graduation do you? You may get a clerkship in a government office; but that’s all, and there are hundreds of fellows who have got their degrees, and are nearer getting jobs of any sort.

Swarup: That may be so; but I am not studying so much to pass my examination and obtain my degree, as to store my mind with knowledge and develop my intellectual faculties.

Answer

Jack finds Swarup reading books as usual and asks him to come out, shut up his old books, and to come and have a game of tennis. Swarup tells Jack that he is sorry he can’t do that. He further says that the examination is drawing near and he wants every hour he can get for study. Jack curses all examinations and says that he does not worry about his exams. He asks Swarup what, after all, the use of exams is. Swarup replies that one can’t get a degree if one doesn’t pass the examination and that he has set his heart on being a graduate. Jack asks him what good graduation will do him and further tells him that he may, at the most, get a clerkship in a government office and, he adds, there are hundreds of fellows who have got their degrees and are no nearer getting jobs of any sort. Hearing this, Swarup agrees that it may be so but, says he is not studying so much to pass his examination and obtain his degree as to store his mind with knowledge and develop his intellectual faculties.

Example 2

“The play may begin at any moment,” I said.
“It may have begun already,” Susan answered
I hurried to the ticket-office. “May I have two tickets please?” I asked.
“I’m sorry, we’ve sold out,” the girl said.
“What a pity!” Susan exclaimed.
Just then, a man hurried to the ticket-office. “Can I return these two tickets?” he asked.
“Certainly,” the girl said.
I went back to the ticket-office at once. “Could I have those two tickets please?” I asked.
“Certainly,” the girl said, “but they are for next Wednesday’s performance. Do you still want them?”
“I might as well have them, “I said sadly.

Answers:

I told Susan that the play might begin any moment. Susan answered that it might have begun already. I hurried to the ticket-office and asked the ticket girl politely whether I might have two tickets. The girl replied that she was sorry as they had sold out. Susan exclaimed with dismay that it was a great pity.

Just then, a man hurried to the ticket-office and asked the girl whether he could return those two tickets. The girl replied that I could certainly do that. I went to the ticket-office at once and asked if I could have those two tickets. The girl replied that I could certainly do that but, she added, they were for next Wednesday’s performance and further asked me if I still wanted them. I replied sadly that I might as well have them.

Example 3:

“At the time the murder was committed, I was travelling on the 8 o’clock train to London,” said the man.
“Do you always catch such an early train?” asked the inspector.
“Of course, I do,” answered the man. “I must be at work at 10 o’clock. My employer will confirm that I was there on time.”
“Would a later train get you to work on time?” asked the inspector.
“I suppose it would, but I never catch a later train.”
“At what time did you arrive at the station?”
“At ten to eight. I bought a paper and waited for the train.”
“And you didn’t notice anything unusual?”
“Of course not.”
“I suggest,” said the inspector, “that you are not telling the truth. I suggest that you did not catch the 8.0 o’clock train, but that you caught the 8:25 train which would still get you to work on time. You see, on the morning of the murder, the 8 o’clock train did not run at all. It broke down at Ferngreen station and was taken off the line.”

Answers:

The man said that at the time the murder was committed, he was travelling on 8 o’clock train to London. The inspector asked him if he always caught such an early train. The man answered that of course he did. He further added that he must be at work at 10 o’clock and his employer would confirm that he was there on time. The inspector asked him if a later train would get him to work on time. The man answered that he supposed it would but, he said, he never caught a later train. The inspector asked at what time he arrived at the station to which the man answered that he arrived at ten to eight. He further said that he bought a paper and waited for the train. The inspector asked him whether he did not notice anything unusual. The man replied that of course he did not. The inspector said that he suggested that he was not telling the truth and that he did not catch the 8 o’clock train, but that he caught the 8:25 train which would still get him to work on time. The inspector further said that on the morning of the murder, the 8 o’ clock train did not run at all and that it had broken down at Ferngreen and had been taken off the line.

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