The text is an extract from a novel entitled About a Boy. It was written by Nick Hornby and published in 1998. It is about Nick Hornby’s life (it is an autobiography).
The main character is Marcus. He must be twelvish. His mother is Fiona. She is divorced.
Fiona wants Marcus to be a vegetarian. He wants to eat meat. He wants to go to Mc Donald’s. Fiona doesn’t forbid him to go to Mc Donald’s. But he does what she wants because otherwise she would be disappointed. She plays on guilt.
Fiona wants him to wear old-fashioned clothes. He doesn’t want to wear them, but he does.
She wants him to listen to classical music. He wants to listen to pop music, but he doesn’t.
She doesn’t want him to smoke, and he doesn’t.
She doesn’t want him to steal, and he doesn’t steal.
Fiona decides for Marcus, because she wants him to think by himself. She doesn’t want him to be influenced by others. But in fact, she influences him.
GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT:
Marcus wants to go to Mc Donald’s.
Fiona wants him to be a vegetarian.
She doesn’t want him to go to Mc Donald’s.
She doesn’t forbid him to go to Mc Donald’s.
She tells him to listen to classical music.
She wishes him to wear old-fashioned clothes.
Translate into English:
Marcus veut écouter de la musique pop.
Marcus wants to listen to pop music.
Fiona ne veut pas qu’il fume.
Fiona doesn’t want him to smoke.
Fiona veut qu’il n’aille pas au Mc Donald’s.
Fiona wants him not to go to Mc Donald’s.
Il ne veut pas qu’elle lui interdise de manger de la viande.
He doesn’t want her to forbid him to eat meat.
Fiona veut qu’il choisisse de vouloir ce qu’elle veut.
Fiona wants him to choose to want what she wants.
Elle lui dit de ne pas vouloir fumer.
She tells him not to want to smoke.
« Tu as toujours su que j’allais devenir végétarien ? » Elle rit. « Bien sûr. Je ne l’ai pas décidé sur un coup de tête parce qu’on était à court de saucisses.
-Et tu crois que c’est juste ?
-Tu veux dire quoi ?
-N’aurais-je pas dû être autorisé à me forger une opinion par moi-même ?
-Tu pourras choisir quand tu seras grand.
-Pourquoi j’suis pas assez grand maintenant ?
-Parce que tu ne te fais pas à manger tout seul. Je ne veux pas cuisiner de viande, donc tu dois manger ce que je mange. […] »
DIRECT SPEECH/REPORTED SPEECH
I look/He looks
I am looking
I was looking
I have looked
I have been looking
I had looked
I had been looking
Marcus asked her if she had always known he had been going to be a vegetarian. She laughed. She confirmed. She said she hadn’t decided on the spur of the moment because they had run out of sausages. He asked if she thought it was fair.