Direct and Indirect Speech

The words spoken by us are called our speech. When we speak, we talk about our own ideas and thoughts. Also we speak to report the speech of any other person to another person.

Examples of Direct Speech

  • The boy said to me “My sister can sing”.
  • She said, “Mary is never late”.
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  • Ravi said, “I will come tomorrow”.
  • The chairman says, “I need the report today”.
  • Karim says, “My father is ill”.

Reporting Verb & Speech

The first part of the sentences outside the inverted commas has a subject and a verb. This verb (says or said) makes a report in each sentence, that is why it is called a Reporting Verb. 

The second part of the sentences which is inside the inverted commas has the actual words of the person who speech is reported; hence this part of the sentence which is quoted is called the Reported Speech.

 

When we report the speech of a person exactly as it had been heard it is called a Direct Speech or Direct Report, because we are not making any changes while reporting the speech.

Sometimes when we report the speech of another person, we do not speak the exact words or utterance of the speaker. In such cases, we use own words to report the speech of the speaker. In other words the report is indirect, that is why it is called Indirect Speech or Indirect Report.

Indirect Speech Rules:

    1. We do not use inverted commas between the reporting verb and the reporting speech.
    2. The reporting verb is followed by a conjunction “that”.
    3. There is change of tenses, change of pronouns, and some other words.

    Let us see these examples of indirect speech:

    1. The boy told me that his sister can sing.

    2. She said that Mary was never late.

    3. Ravi said that he will come the next day.

    4. The chairman says that he needs the report today.

    5. Karim says that his father is ill.

CHANGE IN TENSES: If the reporting verb is in the present or future tense, the tense in the reported speech does not change.

1. Jim says, “The dog barks”.
Jim says that the dog barks.

2. She says, “I will come to the party”.
She says that she will come to the party.

3. The teacher says, “I will give Sam a book”.
The teacher says that she will give Sam a book.

4. Mommy will say, “Max will cook tonight”.
Mommy will say that Max will cook tonight.

5. She will say, “All doors are closed”.
She will say that all doors are closed.

If the reporting verb is in the past tense, the present tense of the reported speech changes into their corresponding past tense.

1. She said, “The man can push the load”.
She said that the man could push the load.

2. The teacher said, “The students are making a loud noise”.
The teacher said that the students were making a loud noise.

3. She said, “It has been pouring all day”.
She said that it had been pouring all day.

 4. Rosy said, “I may come to the market”.
Rosy said that she might come to the market.

5. She said, “Ravi takes the dog for a walk daily”.
She said that Ravi took the dog for a walk daily.

 

CHANGE IN PERSONAL PRONOUN: Pronouns of the first person are changed after the person of the subject of the reporting verb and pronouns of the second person are changed after the person of the object of the reporting verb.

1. The boy said, “I have lost my pen”.
The boy said that he had lost his pen.

2. You said, “I am watching a movie”.
You said that you were watching a movie.

3. He said to me, “You are quick”.
He told me that I was quick.

4. He said to her, “You had been early”.
He told her that she had been early.

5. He said to you, “You are late”.
He told you that you were late.


Pronouns of the third person remain unchanged.
1. Mary said, “He is strong and wise”.
Mary said that he was strong and wise.

2. He said, “They are playing football”.
He said they were playing football.

3. They said, “She will be fine”.
They said that she would be fine.

4. My brother said to me, “He is painting the book”.
My brother told me that he was painting the book.

5. The teacher said, “They are writing well”.
The teacher said that they were writing well.

 

CHANGES OF WORDS WHICH ARE USED VERY OFTEN:
Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Here There
This That
These Those
Last night Previous night
Today That day
Tomorrow The next day
Yesterday The previous day
Tonight That night

Using some of the above words change the following sentences from direct to indirect speech and vice versa.

1. My uncle said to me, “I shall see you tomorrow”.

 2. She said, “It is cold today”.

3. My mother said that she had washed the clothes the previous day.

4. Ravi said that he would play football the next day

5. Hira told me to visit her that day.

DIRECT TO INDIRECT SPEECH WHILE ASKING QUESTIONS:

1. The teacher said to me, “Is this your book”?
The teacher asked me if it was my book.

2. My mother said to my father, “Would you like a glass of water”?
My mother asked my father if he would like a glass of water.

3. Richa said to me, “Do you have a pen”?
Richa asked me if I had a pen.

4. The king said to the prisoner, “Will you change from today”?
The king asked the prisoner if he would change from that day.

5. Sam said, “May I use the computer”? Sam asked if he may use the computer.

Using some of the above words change the following sentences from direct to indirect speech and vice versa.

1. My uncle said to me, “I shall see you tomorrow”.

2. She said, “It is cold today”.

3. My mother said that she had washed the clothes the previous day.

4. Ravi said that he would play football the next day. 5. Hira told me to visit her that day.

 DIRECT TO INDIRECT SPEECH WHILE ASKING QUESTIONS:

1. The teacher said to me, “Is this your book”?
The teacher asked me if it was my book.

2. My mother said to my father, “Would you like a glass of water”? My mother asked my father if he would like a glass of water.

3. Richa said to me, “Do you have a pen”?
Richa asked me if I had a pen.

4. The king said to the prisoner, “Will you change from today”?
The king asked the prisoner if he would change from that day.

5. Sam said, “May I use the computer”?
Sam asked if he may use the computer.

 

By Vahsi Hangshing