In my exercise there is a question and I have to change its voice. The sentence is as follows

"Ah me!" exclaimed the man, "What a rash and bloody deed you have done"

The three options are as follows

  1. The man exclaimed that he had done a very rash and bloody deed.

  2. The man exclaimed sadly that he had done a very rash and bloody deed.

  3. The man exclaimed with sorrow that they had done a very rash and bloody deed.

According to my book first option is correct. But I think the fourth one is the correct one because in the given sentence He and man refer to two different persons

  • 2
    They're all wrong - the original sentence isn't the man doing the bloody deed. – marcellothearcane Aug 23 '19 at 17:52
  • It's a stupid test. Whoever set it simply assumed it would be obvious that he in answer #1 refers to whoever the man was talking to, not the man himself. But that's not obvious, and you are therefore quite correct to choose answer #3 as "the best of a bad bunch". It's a pointless distraction that the test-setter is trying to "trick" you by including adverbial sadly / with sorrow (predictable, but not explicitly stated in the original) in the versions he mistakenly thinks are "wrong answers". – FumbleFingers Aug 23 '19 at 17:55
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it asks us to analyse a poorly-constructed / invalid "test question". – FumbleFingers Aug 23 '19 at 17:57
  • (Personally, I don't think the usage to exclaim that [blah blah] works at all well in the cited context anyway. And here's someone else who agrees with me! :) – FumbleFingers Aug 23 '19 at 18:06
  • 1
    The fourth one? There are only 3 options. – Barmar Aug 23 '19 at 22:23

First of all, the question's original sentence isn't grammatical. The comma after "man" should be a period. The exclamation point earlier on means that that sentence is over, which the capital W then confirms. When narrative is added to dialogue, we only follow that narrative with a comma if the preceding dialogue wasn't the end of a sentence. Otherwise, we use a period afterwards.

That said, I would say that the first choice is absolutely wrong. That's because "ah me" is an expression of lamentation meaning "alas." As the first of those three choices, the one you say your book says is right, fails to even address that part of the message, I would definitely say that choice is wrong in light of the following two choices providing that meaning by saying "sadly" and "with sorrow," respectively.

As for which is right, two or three, there's no way to say for sure since "sadly" and "with sorrow" are synonyms and since the only other difference, "he" or "they," can't be discerned as the original sentence's "you" can be either singular or plural. This could be, for example, an old man yelling at one boy in his yard who just ruined his flowerbed, thus "he," or an entire group of kids in his yard who just ruined his flowerbed, thus "they."

If I absolutely had to pick one, I'd probably pick the third one since the second one might have been written by the author with the intention of the antecedent of "he" being "the man," which would be wrong. It's a poorly crafted question, though, even one with a right answer that is wrong, so anything is possible. Still, I'm not confident that's the case, not confident that the mistakes aren't yours since you refer to the one you think is right being the fourth answer but only listed three.

  • While it's technically ambiguous, unless there's overriding context establishing some other man in the situation, the antecedent of "he" would normally be assumed to be "the man" in the first two answers. – Barmar Aug 23 '19 at 22:26

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