Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech - English Grammar

There two ways to convey a someone's message, or the words were spoken by a person to another person.

  1. Direct speech
  2. Indirect speech

Direct speech: Ibrahim said, “I will watch a movie with you”.
Indirect Speech: Ibrahim said that he would watch a movie with me.

Have a look on the following detail about English grammar direct and indirect speech.

In the direct speech, the original words of the person remain same (no change is made) and are enclosed in quotation mark. While in an indirect speech some changes are made in original words of the person because these words have been uttered in past so the tense will change accordingly and pronoun may also be changed accordingly. In the indirect speech, the statement of the person is not enclosed in quotation marks, the word “that” may be used before the statement to show that it is indirect speech. Indirect speech is also called reported speech because reported speech refers to the second part of indirect speech in which something has been told by a person.

Reporting verb: The very first part of the sentence (i.e. he said, she said, he says, they said, she says,) before the statement of a person in the sentence is called reporting verb.

              She said, “I work in an office”.                                 (Direct speech)
              She said that she worked in an office.                    (Indirect speech, reported speech)
              They said, “we are developing a website”.              (Direct speech)
              They said that they were developing a website.      (Indirect speech, reported speech)

Fundamental rules for indirect speech

  1. Reported speech is not enclosed in quotation marks.
  2.  The word “that” is used as a conjunction between the reporting verb and reported speech.
  3. The pronoun (subject) of the reported speech is changed according to the pronoun of reporting verb or object (person) of reporting verb (first part of sentence). Sometimes the pronoun may not change.
           Direct speech: He said, “I am happy”
           Indirect Speech: He said that he was happy.
           Direct speech: I said to him, “you are intelligent”
           Indirect Speech: I said to him that he was intelligent. (“You” is changed into “he” the person or object of reporting verb)
  1. Change in time: Time is changed according to certain rules like now to then, today to that day, tomorrow to the next day and yesterday to previous day.

               Direct speech: She said, “I am depressed today”
               Indirect Speech: She said that she was depressed that day.

  1. Change in the tense of reported speech: If the first part of the sentence (reporting verb part) belongs to past tense the tense of reported speech will change. If the first part of sentence (reporting verb part) belongs to present or future tense, the tense of reported speech will not change. 

               Direct speech: She said, “I am happy”.
               Indirect Speech: She said that she was happy. (Tense of reported speech changed)
               Direct speech: She says, “I am happy”.
               Indirect Speech: She said that she is happy. (Tense of reported speech didn’t change)

Direct and Indirect Speech Grammar

Indirect speech for all tenses
Indirect speech for interrogative sentence
Indirect speech for modals

Indirect speech for exclamatory and imperatice sentence
Change of pronoun in indirect speech

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