Direct Speech and Indirect Speech in English Grammar- Definition, Types, and examples

Direct Speech and Indirect Speech in English Grammar-
Direct Speech and Indirect Speech in English Grammar

What is Direct Speech?

When the speaker’s exact words need to be conveyed, Direct Speech is used.

It is also used for quotes. Whenever Direct Speech is used the words that need to be conveyed are written in between quotation marks (” “).

Examples:

  1. Ramu said, “I am not well”.
  2. Rahul asked me, “Where are you going?”
  3. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde.
  4. The teacher said, “Start writing the exam.”
  5. They requested us, “Please, stand in a line.”
  6. Bhagavad Gita says, “Happiness derived from a combination of the senses and the sense objects is always a cause of distress and should be avoided by all means.”
  7. He said, “I will attend the meeting tomorrow”
  8. Raju said, “What a beautiful day!”
  9. He shouted, “Please, help me!”
  10. He shouted, “Shut up!”, and said “Rahul is innocent. He is not the thief”
  • Direct speech is the exact words of the speaker. Hence, no changes are allowed in the words used by the speaker inside the quotation marks.
  • The punctuation mark at the end of the sentence should always be used inside the quotation mark itself.
  • The first letter inside the quotation mark should be capitalized.
  • Direct speech can be simple, imperative, exclamatory, or imperative sentences.
  • A comma is used to start a direct speech before the quote marks if it follows the speaker’s identification.
  • When there are two direct speeches in a sentence a comma is used to separate the two direct speeches and the first letter of the second direct speech is not capitalized.

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What is Indirect Speech?

In Indirect Speech, the exact words of the speaker are not conveyed. Instead, only the meaning of the conversation or speech is conveyed.

Unlike Direct Speech quotation marks are not used in Indirect Speech.

Examples:

  1. Rahul said that he will reach out later.
  2. He said that they are very hardworking people.
  3. It is believed that seeing is believing
  4. He thought that he was dreaming.
  5. My teacher praised me that I am a very hard-working student.
  6. He exclaimed that it was a beautiful day.
  7. The staff requested us to stand in a line.
  8. The teacher informed us that we will have extra classes from tomorrow.
  9. He thanked us for helping him.
  10. They informed the police about the missing jewelry.

There are a few factors to be considered while converting direct speech to indirect speech.

  1. Reporting verbs
  2. modals
  3. Time
  4. Place
  5. Pronoun
  6. Tenses
  7. Punctuations

Steps to convert Direct speech to Indirect speech

Rules for converting Direct Speech to Indirect Speech for Reporting Sentences (Assertive sentences)

1) Identify the subject, object, reporting verb, first second, and third person in the reported speech and the tense used in the speech.

2) Changing the reporting verb.

Examples:

said’ to is changed to ‘told’, ‘say’ to is changed to ‘say’, and ‘says’ to is changed to ‘tells‘.

3) Replace the quotation marks (” “) with the conjunction ‘that’.

4) Change the pronoun.

  • The first person of the speech is decided as per the subject of the speech.
  • The second person as per the object
  • The third person remains unchanged.

5) Change the tense of speech. This is necessary when the reporting verb is in the past tense and the reported speech is not a universal truth.

  • The simple present becomes the simple past as the verb.
  • The present continuous transforms into the past continuous.
  • The past perfect tense replaces the present perfect.
  • The past perfect continuous form replaces the present perfect continuous form.
  • Past perfect tense replaces simple past tense.
  • The past perfect continuous tense replaces the past continuous tense.
  • The past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses remain unchanged.
  • Could, should, would, might, and must respectively replace can, shall, will, and may.

6) Update the time-specific words.

Here becomes there, tomorrow is changed to the next day, today becomes that day and yesterday becomes the previous day.

Examples:

1) Direct Speech: He said, “I am getting late!”

Indirect Speech: He exclaimed that he was getting late.

2) Direct Speech: She said to me, “I like cooking a lot.”

Indirect Speech: She told me that she likes cooking a lot.

3) Direct Speech: They informed us, “We will arrive tomorrow.”

Indirect Speech: They informed us that they would arrive the next day.

Rules for converting Direct Speech to Indirect Speech for Reporting Questions (Interrogative sentences)

  • Identify the subject, object, reporting verb, first second, and third person in the reported speech and the tense used in the speech.
  • The Interrogative form is converted into an assertive form while converting an Interrogative sentence from direct speech to indirect speech.
  • The reporting verbs like ‘said‘ is changed to ‘asked‘ or ‘enquired‘ or ‘demanded‘.
  • Here, no conjunction is used.
  • Change the pronoun.
    • The first person of the speech is decided as per the subject of the speech.
    • The second person as per the object
    • The third person remains unchanged.
  • Change the tense of speech. This is necessary when the reporting verb is in the past tense and the reported speech is not a universal truth.
    • The simple present becomes the simple past as the verb.
    • The present continuous transforms into the past continuous.
    • The past perfect tense replaces the present perfect.
    • The past perfect continuous form replaces the present perfect continuous form.
    • Past perfect tense replaces simple past tense.
    • The past perfect continuous tense replaces the past continuous tense.
    • The past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses remain unchanged.
  • Could, should, would, might, and must respectively replace can, shall, will, and may.
  • The reporting verbs ‘enquired’ and ‘demanded’ are followed by the preposition ‘of’.
  • ‘Whether’ and ‘if’ are used wherever necessary.
  • Update the time-specific words.
    • Here becomes there, tomorrow is changed to the next day, today becomes that day and yesterday becomes the previous day.

Examples:

1) Direct Speech: Raju said to me, “Do you know about the project’s deadline?”

Indirect Speech: Raju asked me whether I knew about the project’s deadline.

2) Direct Speech: He said to me, “Do you like chocolates?”

Indirect Speech: He asked me whether I liked chocolates.

Rules for converting Direct Speech to Indirect Speech for Reporting Commands, requests, and advice (Imperative sentences)

  • Identify the subject, object, reporting verb, first second, and third person in the reported speech and the tense used in the speech.
  • The reporting verbs say, tell, and said to are changed to command, request, or advise.
  • Change the pronoun.
  1. The first person of the speech is decided as per the subject of the speech.
  2. The second person as per the object
  3. The third person remains unchanged
  • Change the tense of speech. This is necessary when the reporting verb is in the past tense and the reported speech is not a universal truth.
  • The simple present becomes the simple past as the verb.
  • The present continuous transforms into the past continuous.
  • The past perfect tense replaces the present perfect.
  • The past perfect continuous form replaces the present perfect continuous form.
  • Past perfect tense replaces simple past tense.
  • The past perfect continuous tense replaces the past continuous tense.
  • The past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses remain unchanged.
  • Could, should, would, might, and must respectively replace can, shall, will, and may.

Update the time-specific words.

Here becomes there, tomorrow is changed to the next day, today becomes that day and yesterday becomes the previous day.

Examples:

1) Direct Speech: Stand up!

Indirect Speech: He ordered me to stand up.

2) Direct Speech: Drink water!

Indirect Speech: They told me to drink water

3) Direct Speech: Run fast!

Indirect Speech: He commanded me to run fast.

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