Direct and Indirect Speech With Examples and Explanations

Direct and Indirect Speach MCQS

Direct and Indirect Speech With Examples and Explanations

What are direct and indirect speech? Read on to learn the differences (with examples).

What are direct and indirect speech? Read on to learn the differences (with examples).

What Is Direct Speech? What Is Indirect Speech?

Direct speech is exactly what it sounds like—text that reports the exact thoughts expressed by a person in their original form. It is often enclosed in quotation marks so that the reader understands that the quoted text is the speaker’s original narrative.

Indirect speech is also known as reported speech, indirect narration, or indirect discourse. In grammar, when you report someone else’s statement in your own words without any change in the meaning of the statement, it is called indirect speech.

Quoting a person’s words without using his own word and bringing about any change in the meaning of the statement is reported speech. Look at the following sentences:

Direct Speech: She says, “I am a little bit nervous.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she is a little bit nervous.

In the first sentence, the writer conveys the girl’s message using her actual words (e.g., “I am a little bit nervous.”). In the second sentence, the writer conveys her message but in his own words without changing the meaning. Thus, direct and indirect speech each report a person’s statement in different ways.

This article will cover the following topics:

  • Key Terminology
  • The Basic Rules of Direct and Indirect Speech
  • Important Word Changes: How Words Are Used Differently in Direct vs. Indirect Speech
  • Examples of Direct Speech Converted to Indirect Speech
  • Understanding Direct and Indirect Speech in Different Types of Sentences
    • Assertive Sentences
    • Imperative Sentences
    • Interrogative Sentences
    • Exclamatory Sentences
    • Optative Sentences

Key Terminology

During the process, you will come across many important terms that you need to know better so that you can convert any direct speech into indirect speech easily and without any hassle. Consider the following examples from the previous section:

Direct Speech: She says, “I am a little bit nervous.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she is a little bit nervous.

Now consider the different grammatical aspects of both.

  • Reporting Speech: The first part of the direct speech is called reporting speech (she says).
  • Reported Speech: The second part of the sentence, which is enclosed in inverted commas or quotation marks, is called reported speech (I am a little bit nervous).
  • Reporting Verb: The verb of the reporting speech is called the reporting verb (says).
  • Reported Verb: The verb of the reported speech is called the reported verb (am).
Direct vs. indirect speech: the key differences defined

Direct vs. indirect speech: the key differences defined

The Basic Rules of Direct and Indirect Speech

Before proceeding, you must memorize these rules:

Changes in Person of Pronouns:

  • First-person pronouns in reported speech are always changed according to the subject of the reporting speech.
  • Second-person pronouns in reported speech are always changed according to the object of the reporting speech.
  • Third-person pronouns in reported speech are not changed.

Changes in Verbs:

  • If the reporting speech is in the present or future tense, then it is not required to change the verb in the reported speech. This verb could be in any tense, i.e., present, past, or future. For example:

Direct Speech: He says, “I am ill.”

Indirect Speech: He says that he is ill.

Direct Speech: She says, “She sang a song.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she sang a song.

Direct Speech: You say, “I shall visit London.”

Indirect Speech: You say that you will visit London.

https://9add3204b916ee5737d7b85ab06432ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html If the reporting verb is in the past tense, then the reported verb will be changed per the following criterion.

Present indefinite tense is changed into past indefinite tense. For example:

Direct Speech: They said, “They take a walk every day.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they took a walk every day.

Present continuous is changed into past continuous tense.

Direct Speech: They said, “They are taking a walk every day.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they were taking a walk every day.

Present perfect is changed into the past perfect tense.

Direct Speech: They said, “They have taken a walk.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they had taken a walk.

Present perfect continuous tense is changed into past perfect continuous tense.

Direct Speech: They said, “They have been taking a walk since morning.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they had been taking a walk since morning.

Past indefinite is changed into past perfect tense.

Direct Speech: They said, “They took a walk.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they had taken a walk.

Past continuous tense is changed into past perfect continuous tense.

Direct Speech: They said, “They were taking a walk.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they had been taking a walk.

No changes are necessary to change into past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses.

Direct Speech: They said, “They had taken a walk.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they had taken a walk.

https://9add3204b916ee5737d7b85ab06432ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html In future tense, no changes are made except shall and will are changed into would.

Direct Speech: They said, “They will take a walk.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they would take a walk.

Changes in tense: how to change direct speech into indirect speech and vice versa

Changes in tense: how to change direct speech into indirect speech and vice versa

Important Word Changes: How Words Are Used Differently in Direct vs. Indirect Speech

Word in Direct SpeechWord in Indirect SpeechDirect SpeechIndirect Speech
ThisThatHe says, “I want to buy this book.”He says that he wants to buy that book.
TheseThoseHe says, “I want to buy these books.”He says that he wants to buy those books.
HereThereShe says, “Everybody was here.”She says that everybody was there.
NowThenThey say, “It’s ten o’clock now.”They say that it’s ten o’clock then.
SirRespectfullyThey said, “Sir, the time is over.”They said respectfully that the time was over.
MadamRespecfullyThey said, “Madam, the time is over.”They said respectfully that the time was over.
TodayThat DayShe said, “I am going to London today.”She said that she was going to London that day.
YesterdayThe Previous DayShe said, “I visited Oxford University yesterday.”She said that she had visited Oxford University the previous day.
TomorrowFollowing Day or Next DayShe said, “I am going to London tomorrow.”She said that she was going to London the next day.
TonightThat NightShe said, “I am going to see him tonight.”She said that she was going to see him that night.
Good Morning, Good Evening, Good DayGreetedShe said, “Good morning, Sir David.”She greeted Sir David.

Memorize the above rules because they are necessary to convert direct speech into indirect speech.

The following examples cover all the aforementioned rules.

Examples of Direct Speech Converted to Indirect Speech

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
She says, “I eat an apple a day.”She says that she eats an apple a day.
He will say, “My brother will help her.”He will say that his brother will help her.
We said, “We go for a walk every day.”We said that we went for a walk every day.
You say, “I went to London yesterday.”You say that you went to London the previous day.
He said, “My father is playing cricket with me.”He said that his father was playing cricket with him.
They said, “We have completed our homework.”They said that they had completed their homework.
She said, “I have been waiting for him since last morning.”She said that she had been waiting for him since last morning.
She said, “I bought a book.”She said that she had bought a book.
They said, “We were celebrating Eid yesterday.”They said that they had been celebrating Eid the previous day.
We said, “We had been waiting since morning.”We said that we had been waiting since morning.
He said to me, “I will not give you any medicine without prescription.”He said to me that he would not give me any medicine without a prescription.
Rafiq said, “I shall leave for London tomorrow.”Rafiq said that he would leave for London the next day.
She said, “I shall be visiting my college tomorrow.”She said that she would be visiting her college the following day.
They said, “It will have been snowing since morning.”They said that it would have been snowing since morning.

Understanding Direct and Indirect Speech in Different Types of Sentences

Assertive Sentences

Sentences that make a statement are called assertive sentences. These sentences may be positive, negative, false, or true statements. To convert such sentences into indirect narration, use the rules mentioned above, except said is sometimes replaced with told. Look at the following examples:

Direct Speech: She says, “I am writing a letter to my brother.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she is writing a letter to her brother.

Direct Speech: She says, “I was not writing a letter to my brother.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she was not writing a letter to her brother.

Direct Speech: She said to me, “I am writing a letter to my brother.”

Indirect Speech: She told me that she was writing a letter to her brother.

Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences give an order or direct command. These sentences may come in the form of advice, appeal, request, or order. Either a period or exclamation point is used at the end of the sentence, depending on the forcefulness of the speaker. For example:

  • Shut the door!
  • Please shut the door.
  • Repair the door by tomorrow!

To convert these types of sentences into indirect speech, follow the rules below along with the above-mentioned rules.

https://9add3204b916ee5737d7b85ab06432ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html The reporting verb is changed according to reported speech into order if the sentence gives a direct command. For example:

Direct Speech: The teacher said to me, “Shut the door.”

Indirect Speech: The teacher ordered me to shut the door.

The reporting verb is changed according to reported speech into request if the sentence makes a request. For example:

Direct Speech: He said to me, “Shut the door.”

Indirect Speech: He requested me to shut the door.

The reporting verb is changed according to reported speech into advise if the sentence gives a piece of advice. For example:

Direct Speech: He said to me, “You should work hard to pass the exam.”

Indirect Speech: He advised me that I should work hard to pass the exam.

The reporting verb is changed according to reported speech into forbade if the sentence prevents someone from doing something. For example:

Direct Speech: He said to me, “Not to smoke.”

Indirect Speech: He forbade me to smoke.

Examples

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
We said to him, “Mind your own business.”We urged him to mind his own business.
She said to him, “Consult a doctor.”She suggested him to consult a doctor.
He said to me, “Write it again.”He asked me to write it again.
You said to your father, “Please grant him leave for some time.”You requested your father to grant him leave for some time.
My mother said to me, “Never tell a lie.”My mother forbade me to tell a lie.

Interrogative Sentences

Sentences that ask questions are called interrogative sentences. Every interrogative sentence ends with a question mark. For example:

  • Do you live here?
  • Have you ever watched Terminator III?
  • Is it raining?

To convert interrogative sentences into indirect speech, follow the following rules along with the above-mentioned rules:

  • The reporting verb said to is changed into asked.
  • If the reporting speech has the reporting verb at its start, then if is used in place of that.
  • If the reporting speech has interrogative words like who, when, how, why, when, then neither if is used nor any other word is added.
  • A period is placed at the end of the sentence instead of a question mark.

Examples

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
I said to her, “When do you do your homework?”I asked her when she did her homework.
We said to him, “Are you ill?”We asked him if he was ill.
You said to me, “Have you read the article?”You asked me if I had read the article.
He said to her, “Will you go to the Peshawar Radio Station?”He asked her if she would go to the Peshawar Radio Station.
She says, “Who is he?”She says who he is.
Rashid said to me, “Why are you late?”Rashid asked me why I was late.

Exclamatory Sentences

The sentences that express our feelings and emotions are called exclamatory sentences. Exclamation marks are used at the end of an exclamatory sentence. For example:

  • https://9add3204b916ee5737d7b85ab06432ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Hurray! We have won the match. Alas! He failed the test. How beautiful that dog is! What a marvelous personality you have!

To change exclamatory sentences into indirect speech, follow the rules below along with the above-mentioned rules:

  • If there is an interjection, i.e., alas, aha, hurray, etc., in the reported speech, then they are omitted along with the exclamation point.
  • The reporting verb, i.e., said, is always replaced with exclaimed with joy, exclaimed with sorrow, exclaimed joyfully, exclaimed sorrowfully, or exclaimed with great wonder or sorrow.
  • If there is what or how at the beginning of the reported speech, then they are replaced with very or very great.
  • In an indirect sentence, the exclamatory sentence becomes an assertive sentence.

Examples

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
He said, “Hurray! I have won the match.”He exclaimed with great joy that he had won the match.
She said, “Alas! My brother failed in the test.”She exclaimed with great sorrow that her brother had failed in the test.
They said, “What a beautiful house this is!”They exclaimed that that house was very beautiful.
I said, “How lucky I am!”I said in great wonder that I was very lucky.
You said to him, “What a beautiful drama you writing!You said to him in great wonder that he was writing a beautiful drama.

Optative Sentences

Optative sentences express a hope, prayer, or wish. Usually, there is an exclamation mark at the end of an optative sentence. For example:

  • May you succeed on the test!
  • May you get well soon!
  • Would that I were rich!

To change optative sentences into indirect speech, follow the rules below along with the above-mentioned rules:

  • If the reported speech starts with the word may, then the reporting verb said is replaced with the word prayed.
  • If the reported speech starts with the word would, then the reporting verb said is replaced with the word wished.
  • May is changed to might.
  • The exclamation mark is omitted.
  • In indirect speech, the optative sentences become assertive sentences.

Examples

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
He said to me, “May you live long!”He prayed that I might live long.
My mother said to me, “May you succeed in the test!”My mother prayed that I might succeed in the test.
She said, “Would that I were rich!”She wished she had been rich.
I said to him, “Would that you were here on Sunday!”I wished he had been there on Sunday.
You said to me, “ May you find your lost camera.”You prayed that I might find my lost camera.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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