ESL Grammar

Direct and Indirect Speech: Useful Rules and Examples

Are you having trouble understanding the difference between direct and indirect speech? Direct speech is when you quote someone’s exact words, while indirect speech is when you report what someone said without using their exact words. This can be a tricky concept to grasp, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to use both forms of speech with ease.

Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech

When someone speaks, we can report what they said in two ways: direct speech and indirect speech. Direct speech is when we quote the exact words that were spoken, while indirect speech is when we report what was said without using the speaker’s exact words. Here’s an example:

Direct speech: “I love pizza,” said John. Indirect speech: John said that he loved pizza.

Using direct speech can make your writing more engaging and can help to convey the speaker’s tone and emotion. However, indirect speech can be useful when you want to summarize what someone said or when you don’t have the exact words that were spoken.

To change direct speech to indirect speech, you need to follow some rules. Firstly, you need to change the tense of the verb in the reported speech to match the tense of the reporting verb. Secondly, you need to change the pronouns and adverbs in the reported speech to match the new speaker. Here’s an example:

Direct speech: “I will go to the park,” said Sarah. Indirect speech: Sarah said that she would go to the park.

It’s important to note that when you use indirect speech, you need to use reporting verbs such as “said,” “told,” or “asked” to indicate who is speaking. Here’s an example:

Direct speech: “What time is it?” asked Tom. Indirect speech: Tom asked what time it was.

In summary, understanding direct and indirect speech is crucial for effective communication and writing. Direct speech can be used to convey the speaker’s tone and emotion, while indirect speech can be useful when summarizing what someone said. By following the rules for changing direct speech to indirect speech, you can accurately report what was said while maintaining clarity and readability in your writing.

Differences between Direct and Indirect Speech

When it comes to reporting speech, there are two ways to go about it: direct and indirect speech. Direct speech is when you report someone’s exact words, while indirect speech is when you report what someone said without using their exact words. Here are some of the key differences between direct and indirect speech:

Change of Pronouns

In direct speech, the pronouns used are those of the original speaker. However, in indirect speech, the pronouns have to be changed to reflect the perspective of the reporter. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I am going to the store,” said John.
  • Indirect speech: John said he was going to the store.

In the above example, the pronoun “I” changes to “he” in indirect speech.

Change of Tenses

Another major difference between direct and indirect speech is the change of tenses. In direct speech, the verb tense used is the same as that used by the original speaker. However, in indirect speech, the verb tense may change depending on the context. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I am studying for my exams,” said Sarah.
  • Indirect speech: Sarah said she was studying for her exams.

In the above example, the present continuous tense “am studying” changes to the past continuous tense “was studying” in indirect speech.

Change of Time and Place References

When reporting indirect speech, the time and place references may also change. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I will meet you at the park tomorrow,” said Tom.
  • Indirect speech: Tom said he would meet you at the park the next day.

In the above example, “tomorrow” changes to “the next day” in indirect speech.

Overall, it is important to understand the differences between direct and indirect speech to report speech accurately and effectively. By following the rules of direct and indirect speech, you can convey the intended message of the original speaker.

Converting Direct Speech Into Indirect Speech

When you need to report what someone said in your own words, you can use indirect speech. To convert direct speech into indirect speech, you need to follow a few rules.

Step 1: Remove the Quotation Marks

The first step is to remove the quotation marks that enclose the relayed text. This is because indirect speech does not use the exact words of the speaker.

Step 2: Use a Reporting Verb and a Linker

To indicate that you are reporting what someone said, you need to use a reporting verb such as “said,” “asked,” “told,” or “exclaimed.” You also need to use a linker such as “that” or “whether” to connect the reporting verb to the reported speech.

For example:

  • Direct speech: “I love ice cream,” said Mary.
  • Indirect speech: Mary said that she loved ice cream.

Step 3: Change the Tense of the Verb

When you use indirect speech, you need to change the tense of the verb in the reported speech to match the tense of the reporting verb.

  • Indirect speech: John said that he was going to the store.

Step 4: Change the Pronouns

You also need to change the pronouns in the reported speech to match the subject of the reporting verb.

  • Direct speech: “Are you busy now?” Tina asked me.
  • Indirect speech: Tina asked whether I was busy then.

By following these rules, you can convert direct speech into indirect speech and report what someone said in your own words.

Converting Indirect Speech Into Direct Speech

Converting indirect speech into direct speech involves changing the reported speech to its original form as spoken by the speaker. Here are the steps to follow when converting indirect speech into direct speech:

  • Identify the reporting verb: The first step is to identify the reporting verb used in the indirect speech. This will help you determine the tense of the direct speech.
  • Change the pronouns: The next step is to change the pronouns in the indirect speech to match the person speaking in the direct speech. For example, if the indirect speech is “She said that she was going to the store,” the direct speech would be “I am going to the store,” if you are the person speaking.
  • Change the tense: Change the tense of the verbs in the indirect speech to match the tense of the direct speech. For example, if the indirect speech is “He said that he would visit tomorrow,” the direct speech would be “He says he will visit tomorrow.”
  • Remove the reporting verb and conjunction: In direct speech, there is no need for a reporting verb or conjunction. Simply remove them from the indirect speech to get the direct speech.

Here is an example to illustrate the process:

Indirect Speech: John said that he was tired and wanted to go home.

Direct Speech: “I am tired and want to go home,” John said.

By following these steps, you can easily convert indirect speech into direct speech.

Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and indirect speech are two ways to report what someone has said. Direct speech reports the exact words spoken by a person, while indirect speech reports the meaning of what was said. Here are some examples of both types of speech:

Direct Speech Examples

Direct speech is used when you want to report the exact words spoken by someone. It is usually enclosed in quotation marks and is often used in dialogue.

  • “I am going to the store,” said Sarah.
  • “It’s a beautiful day,” exclaimed John.
  • “Please turn off the lights,” Mom told me.
  • “I will meet you at the library,” said Tom.
  • “We are going to the beach tomorrow,” announced Mary.

Indirect Speech Examples

Indirect speech, also known as reported speech, is used to report what someone said without using their exact words. It is often used in news reports, academic writing, and in situations where you want to paraphrase what someone said.

Here are some examples of indirect speech:

  • Sarah said that she was going to the store.
  • John exclaimed that it was a beautiful day.
  • Mom told me to turn off the lights.
  • Tom said that he would meet me at the library.
  • Mary announced that they were going to the beach tomorrow.

In indirect speech, the verb tense may change to reflect the time of the reported speech. For example, “I am going to the store” becomes “Sarah said that she was going to the store.” Additionally, the pronouns and possessive adjectives may also change to reflect the speaker and the person being spoken about.

Overall, both direct and indirect speech are important tools for reporting what someone has said. By using these techniques, you can accurately convey the meaning of what was said while also adding your own interpretation and analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is direct and indirect speech?

Direct and indirect speech refer to the ways in which we communicate what someone has said. Direct speech involves repeating the exact words spoken, using quotation marks to indicate that you are quoting someone. Indirect speech, on the other hand, involves reporting what someone has said without using their exact words.

How do you convert direct speech to indirect speech?

To convert direct speech to indirect speech, you need to change the tense of the verbs, pronouns, and time expressions. You also need to introduce a reporting verb, such as “said,” “told,” or “asked.” For example, “I love ice cream,” said Mary (direct speech) can be converted to “Mary said that she loved ice cream” (indirect speech).

What is the difference between direct speech and indirect speech?

The main difference between direct speech and indirect speech is that direct speech uses the exact words spoken, while indirect speech reports what someone has said without using their exact words. Direct speech is usually enclosed in quotation marks, while indirect speech is not.

What are some examples of direct and indirect speech?

Some examples of direct speech include “I am going to the store,” said John and “I love pizza,” exclaimed Sarah. Some examples of indirect speech include John said that he was going to the store and Sarah exclaimed that she loved pizza .

What are the rules for converting direct speech to indirect speech?

The rules for converting direct speech to indirect speech include changing the tense of the verbs, pronouns, and time expressions. You also need to introduce a reporting verb and use appropriate reporting verbs such as “said,” “told,” or “asked.”

What is a summary of direct and indirect speech?

Direct and indirect speech are two ways of reporting what someone has said. Direct speech involves repeating the exact words spoken, while indirect speech reports what someone has said without using their exact words. To convert direct speech to indirect speech, you need to change the tense of the verbs, pronouns, and time expressions and introduce a reporting verb.

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Indirect Speech Definition and Examples

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Indirect speech is a report on what someone else said or wrote without using that person's exact words (which is called direct speech). It's also called indirect discourse or reported speech . 

Direct vs. Indirect Speech

In direct speech , a person's exact words are placed in quotation marks and set off with a comma and a reporting clause or signal phrase , such as "said" or "asked." In fiction writing, using direct speech can display the emotion of an important scene in vivid detail through the words themselves as well as the description of how something was said. In nonfiction writing or journalism, direct speech can emphasize a particular point, by using a source's exact words.

Indirect speech is paraphrasing what someone said or wrote. In writing, it functions to move a piece along by boiling down points that an interview source made. Unlike direct speech, indirect speech is  not  usually placed inside quote marks. However, both are attributed to the speaker because they come directly from a source.

How to Convert

In the first example below, the  verb  in the  present tense  in the line of direct speech ( is)  may change to the  past tense  ( was ) in indirect speech, though it doesn't necessarily have to with a present-tense verb. If it makes sense in context to keep it present tense, that's fine.

  • Direct speech:   "Where is your textbook? " the teacher asked me.
  • Indirect speech:  The teacher asked me  where my textbook was.
  • Indirect speech: The teacher asked me where my textbook is.

Keeping the present tense in reported speech can give the impression of immediacy, that it's being reported soon after the direct quote,such as:

  • Direct speech:  Bill said, "I can't come in today, because I'm sick."
  • Indirect speech:  Bill said (that) he can't come in today because he's sick.

Future Tense

An action in the future (present continuous tense or future) doesn't have to change verb tense, either, as these examples demonstrate.

  • Direct speech:  Jerry said, "I'm going to buy a new car."
  • Indirect speech:  Jerry said (that) he's going to buy a new car.
  • Direct speech:  Jerry said, "I will buy a new car."
  • Indirect speech:  Jerry said (that) he will buy a new car.

Indirectly reporting an action in the future can change verb tenses when needed. In this next example, changing the  am going  to was going implies that she has already left for the mall. However, keeping the tense progressive or continuous implies that the action continues, that she's still at the mall and not back yet.

  • Direct speech:  She said, "I'm going to the mall."
  • Indirect speech:  She said (that) she was going to the mall.
  • Indirect speech: She said (that) she is going to the mall.

Other Changes

With a past-tense verb in the direct quote, the verb changes to past perfect.

  • Direct speech:  She said,  "I went to the mall."
  • Indirect speech:  She said (that)  she had gone to the mall.

Note the change in first person (I) and second person (your)  pronouns  and  word order  in the indirect versions. The person has to change because the one reporting the action is not the one actually doing it. Third person (he or she) in direct speech remains in the third person.

Free Indirect Speech

In free indirect speech, which is commonly used in fiction, the reporting clause (or signal phrase) is omitted. Using the technique is a way to follow a character's point of view—in third-person limited omniscient—and show her thoughts intermingled with narration.

Typically in fiction italics show a character's exact thoughts, and quote marks show dialogue. Free indirect speech makes do without the italics and simply combines the internal thoughts of the character with the narration of the story. Writers who have used this technique include James Joyce, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Zora Neale Hurston, and D.H. Lawrence.  

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Indirect Speech: Formula and Rules

TopEnglishGrammar

  • July 3, 2021

We are talking about a very important and interesting topic. We are talking about direct and indirect speech in English and what is the correct formula of the usage.

Remember to read How to learn English with audiobooks for FREE

This topic can seem complicated at the beginning, but necessary to learn. Having this topic solved, you improve your English to a new level, so let’s start to deal with it.

What are Direct and Indirect speech?

In English, there are two ways how we can tell what another person said. Two ways you can say what someone else has said before.

  • Direct Speech
  • Indirect (Reported) Speech

Note : Indirect speech in different textbooks can be called differently: Indirect Speech or Reported Speech . But these two names mean the same.

Indirect Speech = Reported Speech

The infographic shows that there is no difference between the terms indirect speech and reported speech.

Direct speech in English is a type of speech when we retell someone’s speech as it was. We don’t change anything.

John says: I’m a good boy.

To tell what John said, we will say:

We say: John said, “I’m a good boy.”

Indirect speech differs from direct speech in that we DO NOT tell exactly what another person said. We are NOT repeating what someone else said. Indirect speech is when we tell the MEANING of what someone else said.

We say: John said he was a good boy.

Pay attention to what this sentence looks like. Earlier, when John said this, the sentence looked like this:

I am a good boy.

But after WE retell John’s words, in the indirect speech, this sentence looks like this:

John said he was a good boy.

The Quotes and the comma that stood after the name John, separating the speaker from his direct speech, disappeared from this sentence.

In indirect speech, we do not use the separating comma and quotation marks. Because now it is WE are retelling the meaning of what the other person (John) said.

The rule that we don't use the comma and quotation marks in indirect speech

In direct speech, the speaker most often speaks in the first person. That is, the speaker speaks from his person.

John will not talk about himself: John is a good boy . John will say it on his behalf: I am a good boy.

But when we retell the words of John (indirect speech), we cannot speak on his behalf. We cannot say “I am a good boy” because those are not our words. This is John a good boy.

Therefore, in indirect speech, we change “I” to the third person.

He says: I hate you but I need your help.
I retell: He said that he hated me but he needed my help.

To translate direct speech into indirect speech, we use certain rules that you should know.

Let’s take a look at these rules and formulas in order.

Quotation marks and comma

In direct speech, we use a comma to separate the speaker from what he is saying. Direct speech (what the speaker says) is in quotation marks.

When we translate direct speech into indirect speech, we remove quotes and commas.

Jessica says , “I’m from the future.”
We retell Jessica’s words: She said that she was from the future.

Personal and possessive pronouns

When translating direct speech into indirect speech, we change personal and possessive pronouns to third-person pronouns.

Direct Speech : He says, “ I couldn’t stay” Indirect Speech : He said that he couldn’t stay. Direct Speech : Tom says, “ I am deeply disturbed” Indirect Speech : Tom said that he was deeply disturbed.

Note: If in direct speech the speaker tells his own words, then we do not change personal and possessive pronouns.

Direct Speech: I said, “ I will do that” Indirect Speech: I said that I would do that.

Adverbs in direct speech

When we translate adverbs from direct speech to indirect, adverbs change their form.

You can see how adverbs look in direct speech and how adverbs look in indirect speech in this table:

The table shows how adverbs look in direct speech and how adverbs look in indirect speech.

But we don’t always change adverbs this way. We change adverbs only if, when translating from direct speech into indirect speech adverbs cannot express the same meaning as in direct speech.

Take a look at an example:

Mom says, “ Tomorrow we will go to Uncle John’s.” Mom said that the next day we would go to Uncle John’s.

In these examples, we have replaced the adverb tomorrow with the next day . Because we retell Mom’s words on another day. We cannot say tomorrow anymore.

Now look at another example:

Mom says, “We went to visit Uncle John yesterday .”

Now imagine that we are retelling this the next day. We have to say:

Mom said that we went to visit Uncle John the day before yesterday .

If we said “ yesterday “, it would change the meaning of what we want to tell.

If in direct speech in the main sentence the predicate is in Past Simple, then in indirect speech we use the agreement rules.

We put the conjunction “ that ” in front of indirect speech.

Note: We may not use the conjunction that after verbs such as:

He said he found it on the island. He thought he was better than me. He knew he could call you anytime.

The rule says we don't use that after some verbs like to think, to know, to say

Prepositional object

If in direct speech after the verb to say there is a prepositional object, then in order to translate such a sentence into indirect speech, we change the verb to say to tell . In this case, tell is used without the preposition to .

Incorrect : to tell Correct : tell

This means:

She said to me … changes to She told me that …

Note : Remember that in this case we also change the adverbs of place and time and demonstrative pronouns, if they are in direct speech.

Modal verbs

For modals, we use several important rules.

We change modal verbs as well as main verbs when moving from direct to indirect speech.

But we do not change all modal verbs. We leave some verbs in their original form.

Let’s talk about modals in more detail.

Modal verb must

If in direct speech the verb must means an obligation or command, then in the subordinate clause in indirect speech must does NOT change and looks like must .

The teacher says, “You must behave well in class.” The teacher said that we must behave well in class.

If in direct speech the verb must expresses the need, then in the subordinate clause in indirect speech we change the verb must to had to .

Mom says, “You must visit the doctor.” Mom said that I had to visit the doctor.

The past form of Modal verbs in indirect speech

Can and could..

We change the modal verb can in direct speech to could in indirect speech. Could is the past form of the modal verb can .

She says, “I can swim.” She said that she could swim.

May and might.

We change the modal verb may in direct speech to might in indirect speech. Might is the past form of the modal verb may .

John says, “I may propose to Maria.” John said that he might propose to Maria.

Must and had to.

We change the modal verb must in direct speech to had to in indirect speech (if the verb must expresses the need). Had to is the past analog of the modal verb must .

Two examples of using direct and indirect speech.

Modal verbs that do not change in indirect speech

The following verbs move from direct to indirect speech in their original form. They don’t change in any way.

  • must (if the verb must means an obligation or command)
He says, “I could do this.” He said he could do that.

Let’s take a closer look at these verbs:

The modal verb would in direct speech remains in the form would in indirect speech too.

Mom says, “I would bake a cake.” Mom said she would bake a cake.

If we use the modal verb could in direct speech, then we do not change this verb in any way in indirect speech. Because could is a past form already (It’s the past form of the modal verb can ).

John says, “I could learn to swim” John said he could learn to swim.

The modal verb might does not change its form when we translate this verb from direct to indirect speech. Because the modal might is the past form of the modal may .

He says, “I might ask the same question again”. He said that he might ask the same question again.

We do not change should when switching to indirect speech. Because should is considered the past form of the modal verb shall .

He says, “We should see Mr. Gannon” He said that we should see Mr. Gannon.

We do not change the modal verb OUGHT TO when translating this verb into indirect speech.

She says, “You ought to be angry with John” She said that I ought to be angry with John

Exceptions to the rules

Let’s talk about the important exceptions to the rules of this lesson.

  • We can exclude the word that out of affirmative sentences in indirect speech. Because in indirect speech in affirmative sentences, the meaning of the sentence does not change, regardless of whether we use that or not.
He said ( that ) he thought you seemed depressed. He said ( that ) there was no need. He said ( that ) he had many friends.
  • If in direct speech we are talking about a specific event that happened at exactly the specified time and did not happen anymore, then we translate the sentence into indirect speech without the agreement.
He says, “Gagarin went to space in 1961.” He said that Gagarin went to space in 1961.

The event that we are talking about in this example happened at exactly the specified time and did not happen anymore.

Rule and Two examples of using direct and indirect speech.

  • If in direct speech we use verbs such as:

then when translating into indirect speech, we do not change the form of these verbs. These verbs remain in their form.

She says, “We might find some treasure” She said that we might find some treasure.
He says, “I should do it”. He said that he should do it.
  • If indirect speech begins with the verb say or tell which is used in the form:
  • Present Simple
  • Present Perfect
  • Future Simple

then we translate such a sentence into indirect speech without changing the tense to the past:

She says, “I cook deliciously.” She says that she cooks deliciously. He says, “I have a new smartphone.” He says that he has a new smartphone. She will say, “I didn’t know it.” He will say (that) he didn’t know it.
  • If in direct speech we are talking about a well-known fact or law of nature, then we do not transfer to the past such a fact or the law of nature when translating from direct speech to indirect.
He says, “After winter comes spring.” He said that after winter comes spring. She says, “Lions don’t hunt camels.” She said that lions don’t hunt camels.
  • If in direct speech we use tenses:
  • Past Continuous
  • Past Perfect
  • Past Perfect Continuous

then when translating into indirect speech, we do not change the sentence, we do not translate the sentence into the past.

He says, “I had fixed my car.” He said he had fixed his car. He says, “I was skiing .” He said he was skiing . He says, “I had been all alone for a very long time”. He said that he had been all alone for a very long time.

Interrogative (question) sentences in indirect speech

Look at the following rules and nuances to know how to correctly translate interrogative (question) sentences from direct speech to indirect speech:

  • When we translate a general question into indirect speech, we put one of the conjunctions between the main sentence and the question:
He asks, “Do you play dominoes?” He asked if I played dominoes. He asked whether I played dominoes.

The use of conjunctions if and whether

  • If we translate an interrogative sentence from direct speech to indirect speech, then we change the interrogative word order to direct word order.

We remove the auxiliary verb that was used in the interrogative sentence. We put the subject before the predicate as it should be for the direct word order.

He asks, “Where are you going?” He asked where I was going.
  • If in an indirect sentence we ask a question using the verb say and if there is no indirect object in the main sentence, then we change the verb say to one of these words:
  • want to know
She asks, “Where you are?” She wanted to know where you were.
  • When translating an interrogative sentence from direct speech into indirect speech, we change all pronouns, verbs, adverbs of place, adverbs of time.
She asks, “What do these letters mean?” She asked what those letters mean.

Special questions in indirect speech

Special questions (or Wh-questions) are questions that begin with an additional, question word.

In indirect speech, such a question should also begin with a question word.

This question word also serves as conjunction. This word attaches the question part to the main sentence.

In the question part, we use direct word order.

At the same time, we comply with all the rules for the Sequence of tenses.

My dad asks, “What do you plan to do with yourself?” My dad asked what I planned to do with myself.

Imperative sentences in indirect speech

When translating imperative sentences from direct to indirect speech, we must take into account several nuances:

  • Orders in indirect speech look like this:
He said, “ Go now!” He said to go then. She says, “ Carry my bag” She asked to carry her bag.

We use the verb to say when we translate an ordinary sentence into indirect speech. But in imperative sentences, we change the verb to say to a verb that expresses an order or request:

She says , “Carry my bag” She asked to carry her bag.

The infographic shows how we use imperative sentences in indirect speech

  • In direct speech in the imperative mood, we often use:

let’s (let us)

let’s encourage the speaker and the person to do something together.

In indirect speech, we change let’s to to suggest . For example:

She says, “ let’s do that!” She suggested to do that.
  • In indirect speech, we put a noun after the verb that expresses an order or request. The noun is the one to whom this request or order is addressed. Then we use the infinitive.
She says, “Replace him, John “ She asked John to replace him.
  • We can strengthen the request or order in indirect speech if we add verbs such as:
  • to recommend
  • to urge etc.
She says , “Read this book” She ordered ( advised, recommend ) me to read that book.
  • In order to make a negative imperative sentence in direct speech, we need:

not + infinitive

He says, “Don’t cry.” He said to me not to cry.
  • In direct speech, we often do not name the person to whom the order or request is addressed. But when translating an imperative sentence from direct speech to indirect speech, we must indicate the one to whom the order or request is addressed.

For this, we use a noun or a pronoun.

She says, “Speak to him!” She asked me to speak to you.

Present and future tense in indirect speech

Most often, we translate the future and the present into the past.

He says, “I have two brothers” He says that he had two brothers She says, “I do this every time” She says that he did that every day. He says, “I write books” He says that he wrote books. She says, “I am reading” She said that she was reading. He says, “I can swim” He said that he could swim. He says, “I will help you” He said that he would help me.

Past tense in indirect speech

When we translate a sentence written in the past into indirect speech, we can leave it unchanged or we can change the past to the Past Perfect.

He says, “I saw this movie” He said that he saw that movie. He said that he had seen that movie.

What if in direct speech the main verb is already in Past Perfect?

In this case, the verb in Past Perfect remains unchanged. The verb in Past Perfect in direct speech remains in Past Perfect in indirect speech too.

He says, “I had bought I new house” He said that he had bought a new house.

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Direct speech, changing the tense (backshift), no change of tenses, question sentences, demands/requests, expressions with who/what/how + infinitive, typical changes of time and place.

  • Lingolia Plus English

Introduction

In English grammar, we use reported speech to say what another person has said. We can use their exact words with quotation marks , this is known as direct speech , or we can use indirect speech . In indirect speech , we change the tense and pronouns to show that some time has passed. Indirect speech is often introduced by a reporting verb or phrase such as ones below.

Learn the rules for writing indirect speech in English with Lingolia’s simple explanation. In the exercises, you can test your grammar skills.

When turning direct speech into indirect speech, we need to pay attention to the following points:

  • changing the pronouns Example: He said, “ I saw a famous TV presenter.” He said (that) he had seen a famous TV presenter.
  • changing the information about time and place (see the table at the end of this page) Example: He said, “I saw a famous TV presenter here yesterday .” He said (that) he had seen a famous TV presenter there the day before .
  • changing the tense (backshift) Example: He said, “She was eating an ice-cream at the table where you are sitting .” He said (that) she had been eating an ice-cream at the table where I was sitting .

If the introductory clause is in the simple past (e.g. He said ), the tense has to be set back by one degree (see the table). The term for this in English is backshift .

The verbs could, should, would, might, must, needn’t, ought to, used to normally do not change.

If the introductory clause is in the simple present , however (e.g. He says ), then the tense remains unchanged, because the introductory clause already indicates that the statement is being immediately repeated (and not at a later point in time).

In some cases, however, we have to change the verb form.

When turning questions into indirect speech, we have to pay attention to the following points:

  • As in a declarative sentence, we have to change the pronouns, the time and place information, and set the tense back ( backshift ).
  • Instead of that , we use a question word. If there is no question word, we use whether / if instead. Example: She asked him, “ How often do you work?” → She asked him how often he worked. He asked me, “Do you know any famous people?” → He asked me if/whether I knew any famous people.
  • We put the subject before the verb in question sentences. (The subject goes after the auxiliary verb in normal questions.) Example: I asked him, “ Have you met any famous people before?” → I asked him if/whether he had met any famous people before.
  • We don’t use the auxiliary verb do for questions in indirect speech. Therefore, we sometimes have to conjugate the main verb (for third person singular or in the simple past ). Example: I asked him, “What do you want to tell me?” → I asked him what he wanted to tell me.
  • We put the verb directly after who or what in subject questions. Example: I asked him, “ Who is sitting here?” → I asked him who was sitting there.

We don’t just use indirect questions to report what another person has asked. We also use them to ask questions in a very polite manner.

When turning demands and requests into indirect speech, we only need to change the pronouns and the time and place information. We don’t have to pay attention to the tenses – we simply use an infinitive .

If it is a negative demand, then in indirect speech we use not + infinitive .

To express what someone should or can do in reported speech, we leave out the subject and the modal verb and instead we use the construction who/what/where/how + infinitive.

Say or Tell?

The words say and tell are not interchangeable. say = say something tell = say something to someone

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Reported Speech

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indirect speech for rules

Reported Statements

Here's how it works:

We use a 'reporting verb' like 'say' or 'tell'. ( Click here for more about using 'say' and 'tell' .) If this verb is in the present tense, it's easy. We just put 'she says' and then the sentence:

  • Direct speech: I like ice cream.
  • Reported speech: She says (that) she likes ice cream.

We don't need to change the tense, though probably we do need to change the 'person' from 'I' to 'she', for example. We also may need to change words like 'my' and 'your'. (As I'm sure you know, often, we can choose if we want to use 'that' or not in English. I've put it in brackets () to show that it's optional. It's exactly the same if you use 'that' or if you don't use 'that'.)

But , if the reporting verb is in the past tense, then usually we change the tenses in the reported speech:

  • Reported speech: She said (that) she liked ice cream.

* doesn't change.

  • Direct speech: The sky is blue.
  • Reported speech: She said (that) the sky is/was blue.

Click here for a mixed tense exercise about practise reported statements. Click here for a list of all the reported speech exercises.

Reported Questions

So now you have no problem with making reported speech from positive and negative sentences. But how about questions?

  • Direct speech: Where do you live?
  • Reported speech: She asked me where I lived.
  • Direct speech: Where is Julie?
  • Reported speech: She asked me where Julie was.
  • Direct speech: Do you like chocolate?
  • Reported speech: She asked me if I liked chocolate.

Click here to practise reported 'wh' questions. Click here to practise reported 'yes / no' questions. Reported Requests

There's more! What if someone asks you to do something (in a polite way)? For example:

  • Direct speech: Close the window, please
  • Or: Could you close the window please?
  • Or: Would you mind closing the window please?
  • Reported speech: She asked me to close the window.
  • Direct speech: Please don't be late.
  • Reported speech: She asked us not to be late.

Reported Orders

  • Direct speech: Sit down!
  • Reported speech: She told me to sit down.
  • Click here for an exercise to practise reported requests and orders.
  • Click here for an exercise about using 'say' and 'tell'.
  • Click here for a list of all the reported speech exercises.

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Direct AND Indirect Speech Rules AND Examples

direct and indirect speech rules and examples

Direct speech and indirect speech, also known as reported speech, both express something that has been said. Here we’ll look a t direct and indirect speech rules with examples , and converting direct speech into indirect speech.

DIRECT SPEECH

Direct speech tells the exact words that someone spoke and these are contained within speech marks “ “, also called quotation marks.

“I love dogs,” said Anne.

Speech Marks

Speech marks may be double “ “ or single ‘ ’ There is no difference between double and single speech marks, but use the same type for both the opening and closing speech mark, and be consistent throughout any one piece of writing. 

Both these examples have the exact same meaning and effect “I love dogs,” said Anne. ‘I love dogs,’ said Anne.

Reporting Clause

The reporting clause – said Anne – attributes the words spoken to the person who spoke them.

A comma separates the direct speech in the speech marks and the reporting clause.

Note the positioning of the commas in these examples: “I love dogs,” said Anne.  (inside the closing speech mark) Anne said, “I love dogs.”  (before the opening speech mark) “I love dogs,” said Anne, “but my landlord won’t allow pets.” (both sides of the reporting clause)

Punctuation

If the sentence continues beyond the end of the spoken words and the closing speech mark, a comma is placed inside the speech mark, and the full stop (question mark or exclamation mark) will come at the end of the sentence as usual (example 1) “I love dogs,” said Anne.

If the end of the sentence falls at the end of the spoken words, a full stop (question mark or exclamation mark) is placed inside the closing quotation mark. (example 2) Anne said, “I love dogs.” 

If the direct speech is broken up by a reporting clause, a comma is placed inside the first closing speech mark, as already seen in example 1, and another comma is also placed after the reporting clause. (example 3)

When speech occurs in a passage of writing, each new occurrence of direct speech, usually from a new character, is started on a new line:

Anne stopped abruptly as she came to the pet shop window. She stood watching the sleeping puppies. “I love dogs,” she said. “Would you get one?” asked Mary. “I would, but my landlord won’t allow pets.” “Yes, of course, not many do.

INDIRECT SPEECH

Indirect speech is also known as reported speech. It is the re-telling, or reporting, of what someone said.

No quotation marks are used with indirect speech as it does not necessarily report the exact same words that were spoken.

Anne said that she liked dogs. She said that she would like to get one but her landlord doesn’t allow pets.

The word ‘ that ’ should appear immediately before the reported words, however it is often omitted nowadays and both alternatives are accepted as correct:

Anne said that she liked dogs.  Anne said she liked dogs.

DIRECT TO INDIRECT SPEECH

Indirect speech reports what has been said, so by definition it reports on something that has already happened, and must logically be in the past tense.

Often when converting direct speech into indirect speech the tense will backshift, meaning move backwards in tense. Two aspects influence this: – the tense of the reporting verb i.e. he says, he said, he will say etc. – the tense of the reported speech itself i.e. the words contained in the speech marks

REPORTING VERB IN THE PRESENT & FUTURE TENSES

If the reporting verb is in the Present or Future tenses, then no change is made to the spoken verb tense i.e. the tense of verbs within the speech marks, when converting direct speech into indirect speech.

He says, “I am sitting in the garden.” He says that he is sitting in the garden. No change in the spoken verb tense as the reporting verb is in the present tense.

He said, “I am sitting in the garden.” He said that he was sitting in the garden. A change in the spoken verb tense as the reporting verb is in the past tense.

REPORTING VERB IN THE PAST TENSE

If the reporting verb is in the Past Tense, as is most common, then the tense of the direct speech i.e. the tense of verbs contained within the speech marks and as actually spoken, will backshift when converting from direct speech into indirect speech.

1. DIRECT SPEECH IN THE PRESENT TENSES

Present Simple becomes Past Simple “I want a cup of tea,” she said. She said that she wanted a cup of tea. 

Present Continuous becomes Past Continuous  “I am watching television,” he said. He said that he was watching television.

Present Perfect becomes Past Perfect  “She has travelled to Mexico often” Tom said. Tom said that she had travelled to Mexico often.

Present Perfect Continuous becomes Past Perfect Continuous “We’ve been learning French for 3 years,” Sam said. Sam said that they had been learning French for 3 years.

2. DIRECT SPEECH IN THE PAST TENSES

Past Simple becomes Past Perfect “I ate too much last night,” he said He said that he had eaten too much last night.

Past Continuous becomes Past Perfect Continuous “I was lying in the hammock,” said Frances Frances said that she had been lying in the hammock.

Past Perfect does not change tense “Amy had fallen asleep before we got home,” said Kim Kim said that Amy had fallen asleep before they got home.

Past Perfect Continuous does not change tense “We had been staying in Paris all summer, said Mathew Mathew said that they had been staying in Paris all summer.

3. DIRECT SPEECH IN THE FUTURE TENSES

The Future tenses will becomes would:

Future Simple (will) “I will make the cake,” said Laura Laura said that she would make the cake

Future Continuous (will be) “Shaun will be coming alone,” said Helen Helen said that Shaun would be coming alone.

Future Perfect (will have) “I will have finished the essay,” said Andrew Andrew said that he would have finished his essay.

Future Perfect Continuous (will have been) “I will have been running for four hours,” said Lucy Lucy said that she would have been running for four hours.

The tense does not change if:

the reported speech is in the present tense, and is being reported only a short time afterwards “I’m coming over now,” Fiona said. Fiona said that she is coming over now. (reported immediately) Fiona said that she was coming over right then. (reported some time later, probably after the event)

the past simple and past continuous may remain unchanged if the sequence of events and time frame are clear from the context “When I was learning Spanish, I often listened to Spanish radio stations,” said Dom Dom said that when he was learning Spanish he often listened to Spanish radio stations.

PRACTICE EXERCISES

1. Change these sentences into indirect speech “I hate Mondays.’ said Shirley Mark said, ‘I won the lottery last week.” Children always say, “We don’t want homework!” Simon said, “I will tell her tomorrow.” Teresa said, “They had eaten before they arrived.’

2. Why are these all incorrect? “I hate apples.” said Lesley. ‘No, you can’t go to the party,’ Said Mum. “Where have all the good men gone?’ asked Natalie. “Do you want some chocolate?,” asked Mary. ‘I want a tea,’ said Larry, ‘but I don’t want a biscuit’.

Answers 1. Shirley said that she hated Mondays. Mark said that he had won the lottery last week. Children always say that they don’t want homework. Simon said that he would tell her tomorrow. Teresa said that they had eaten before they arrived. 2. there should be a comma not a full stop before the closing speech mark, no capital letter needed for said , both double and single speech marks used in the same sentence, only the question mark is necessary before the closing speech mark,full stop should be in the speech marks

Cambridge Dictionary

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Reported speech

Reported speech is how we represent the speech of other people or what we ourselves say. There are two main types of reported speech: direct speech and indirect speech.

Direct speech repeats the exact words the person used, or how we remember their words:

Barbara said, “I didn’t realise it was midnight.”

In indirect speech, the original speaker’s words are changed.

Barbara said she hadn’t realised it was midnight .

In this example, I becomes she and the verb tense reflects the fact that time has passed since the words were spoken: didn’t realise becomes hadn’t realised .

Indirect speech focuses more on the content of what someone said rather than their exact words:

“I’m sorry,” said Mark. (direct)
Mark apologised . (indirect: report of a speech act)

In a similar way, we can report what people wrote or thought:

‘I will love you forever,’ he wrote, and then posted the note through Alice’s door. (direct report of what someone wrote)
He wrote that he would love her forever , and then posted the note through Alice’s door. (indirect report of what someone wrote)
I need a new direction in life , she thought. (direct report of someone’s thoughts)
She thought that she needed a new direction in life . (indirect report of someone’s thoughts)

Reported speech: direct speech

Reported speech: indirect speech

Reported speech: reporting and reported clauses

Speech reports consist of two parts: the reporting clause and the reported clause. The reporting clause includes a verb such as say, tell, ask, reply, shout , usually in the past simple, and the reported clause includes what the original speaker said.

Reported speech: punctuation

Direct speech.

In direct speech we usually put a comma between the reporting clause and the reported clause. The words of the original speaker are enclosed in inverted commas, either single (‘…’) or double (“…”). If the reported clause comes first, we put the comma inside the inverted commas:

“ I couldn’t sleep last night, ” he said.
Rita said, ‘ I don’t need you any more. ’

If the direct speech is a question or exclamation, we use a question mark or exclamation mark, not a comma:

‘Is there a reason for this ? ’ she asked.
“I hate you ! ” he shouted.

We sometimes use a colon (:) between the reporting clause and the reported clause when the reporting clause is first:

The officer replied: ‘It is not possible to see the General. He’s busy.’

Punctuation

Indirect speech

In indirect speech it is more common for the reporting clause to come first. When the reporting clause is first, we don’t put a comma between the reporting clause and the reported clause. When the reporting clause comes after the reported clause, we use a comma to separate the two parts:

She told me they had left her without any money.
Not: She told me, they had left her without any money .
Nobody had gone in or out during the previous hour, he informed us.

We don’t use question marks or exclamation marks in indirect reports of questions and exclamations:

He asked me why I was so upset.
Not: He asked me why I was so upset?

Reported speech: reporting verbs

Say and tell.

We can use say and tell to report statements in direct speech, but say is more common. We don’t always mention the person being spoken to with say , but if we do mention them, we use a prepositional phrase with to ( to me, to Lorna ):

‘I’ll give you a ring tomorrow,’ she said .
‘Try to stay calm,’ she said to us in a low voice.
Not: ‘Try to stay calm,’ she said us in a low voice .

With tell , we always mention the person being spoken to; we use an indirect object (underlined):

‘Enjoy yourselves,’ he told them .
Not: ‘Enjoy yourselves,’ he told .

In indirect speech, say and tell are both common as reporting verbs. We don’t use an indirect object with say , but we always use an indirect object (underlined) with tell :

He said he was moving to New Zealand.
Not: He said me he was moving to New Zealand .
He told me he was moving to New Zealand.
Not: He told he was moving to New Zealand .

We use say , but not tell , to report questions:

‘Are you going now?’ she said .
Not: ‘Are you going now?’ she told me .

We use say , not tell , to report greetings, congratulations and other wishes:

‘Happy birthday!’ she said .
Not: Happy birthday!’ she told me .
Everyone said good luck to me as I went into the interview.
Not: Everyone told me good luck …

Say or tell ?

Other reporting verbs

The reporting verbs in this list are more common in indirect reports, in both speaking and writing:

Simon admitted that he had forgotten to email Andrea.
Louis always maintains that there is royal blood in his family.
The builder pointed out that the roof was in very poor condition.

Most of the verbs in the list are used in direct speech reports in written texts such as novels and newspaper reports. In ordinary conversation, we don’t use them in direct speech. The reporting clause usually comes second, but can sometimes come first:

‘Who is that person?’ she asked .
‘It was my fault,’ he confessed .
‘There is no cause for alarm,’ the Minister insisted .

Verb patterns: verb + that -clause

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Direct and Indirect Speech

Table of Contents

What is Speech (Narration):

If we want to describe the speech of some other people with other people in our own words, that speech is called a Reported speech or Narration.

Types of Speech

In the English language, there are certain ways to express the spoken words between two people.

The speech has two main types, Direct speech , and Indirect speech , respectively.

These two ways of narration of spoken words are also called Direct and Indirect speech, also known as Direct and Indirect narrations. 

Direct and indirect speech is majorly used in any conversations, scripts, or any biographies, etc. where one or more than one person converses with each other.

Direct speech:

It is also called straight speech or quoted speech, which is spoken or written directly in the text by the speaker, writer, or the first person, who is going to speak with anyone with him.

The spoken statements of the speaker normally come under the inverted commas notation, and a speaker who speaks these sentences may come like “he said/he said that.”

The speaker’s words or statements are mentioned in a single phrase pattern or direct discussion.

Indirect speech:

An Indirect speech is also called a reported speech, or secondary speech means the speech, which has spoken indirectly.

It is simply an overlook statement that is used to say about the incident that has happened in the past time.

The actual words of the speaker changed into the past tense and the sentence, and hence the reported speech of the direct speech does not come inside the inverted commas.

Reporting speech:

A person who is going to report the speech or a speech that comes in the first part of the direct speech is called a reporting speech.

  • He says , “He cooks food”.

Reported speech:

Reported speech is a speech that is always in an inverted comma or quotation marks.

It is a second part of the direct speech sentence.

  • He says,  “He cooks food.”

Reporting verb:

The verb, which is used in a reporting speech to report something in a direct speech, is called a reporting verb.

  • Zoya  said , “I want to go there.”

Reported verb:

The verb which comes inside the reported speech is called reported verb, respectively.

  • Zoya said, “I  want  to go there.”

As we start writing any direct and indirect conversation, we often use reported verbs like  “say, tell, ask, inform, instruct, claim, suggest, enquire, etc.”

These reported verbs, whenever used in direct or indirect speech, change into the past simple form like  said, told, asked, informed, instructed, claimed, suggested, enquired, etc.

But the verbs used in a speech between the inverted commas will remain as it is.

Examples of direct and indirect speech:

  • Indirect speech: John said that she was looking so beautiful.
  • Indirect : He said that he was not a culprit.
  • Indirect : He said that she was working on that project.
  • Indirect : The teacher asked if he completed his homework. 
  • Indirect : She says that she is an artist.
  • Indirect : Sam told me that he was not coming with me.
  • Indirect : He says that she is working on that project.

direct and indirect speech

Some basic rules for converting direct speech into indirect speech:

Rule 1 : “no inverted commas.”.

The reported speech does not come into inverted commas or quotation in an indirect speech.

Example: Direct: He said, “I have completed my assignments yesterday.”

    Indirect: He said that he had completed his assignments the previous day.

Rule 2: use of “that” conjunction

Using the conjunction word “that” in-between the reporting speech and reported speech in an indirect speech.

Example: 

  • He said, “I have completed my assignment yesterday.”
  • He said  that  he had completed his assignment the previous day.

Rule 3: Change of tense

While writing a direct speech into an indirect speech, we have to change the tense of the reported speech because whatever we are writing in indirect speech has already happened in the past timing.

  • If the tense of a reporting speech of direct speech is in the present tense or future tense , then the tense of the reported speech in indirect speech will not change. It may be in the present tense, past tense, or future tense, respectively.
  • Indirect : He says that he is going to school. (no change in tense)
  • Indirect : She says that she  will not come  with me. (no change in tense)
  • Indirect : He says that he  wrote  a letter. (no change in tense)

If the tense of the reporting verb of direct speech is in the past tense, then the tense will change according to these criteria.

For the present tense:

Simple present tense will change into simple past tense..

Direct: He said, “They come to meet me.”

Indirect: He said that they came to meet him.

Present continuous tense will change into past continuous tense.

Direct: She said, “They are coming to meet me.”

Indirect: She said that they were coming to meet her.

Present perfect tense will change into past perfect tense.

Direct: He said, “They have come to meet me.”

Indirect: He said that they had come to meet him. 

Present perfect continuous tense will change into past perfect continuous tense.

Direct: She said, “They have been coming to meet me.”

Indirect: She said that they had been coming to meet her. 

For the past tense:

Simple past tense will change into the past perfect tense.

Direct: He said, “They came to meet me.”

Indirect: He said that they had come to meet him.

Past continuous tense will change into past perfect continuous tense.

Direct: She said, “They were coming to meet me.”

Indirect: She said that they had been coming to meet her.

Past perfect tense and past perfect continuous tense will remain the same.

Direct: He said, “They had come to meet me.”

Direct: She said, “They had been coming to meet me.”

For the future tense:

There are no changes in the future tense sentences; only shall/will may change into would, can change into could.

  • Direct: She said, “Can you come tomorrow.”

Indirect: She said that could he come on the next day

  • Direct: He said, “I will never forgive you.”

Indirect: He said that he would never forgive me.

Rule 4: Changing the pronoun

The pronoun used as an indirect subject speech sometimes needs to be changed accordingly in indirect speech as of the reported verb of the direct speech.

  • The pronoun used for representing the first person in reported speech changes based on the subject of the reporting speech in a direct speech.
  • The pronoun used for representing the second person in reported speech changes based on the report’s object in a direct speech.
  • The pronoun used for representing the third person remains the same in the reported speech.
  • Direct: He said, “ I  am going to school.”
  • Indirect: He said that  he  is going to school.
  • Direct: She says, “ I  will not come with  you .”
  • Indirect: She says that  she  will not come with  me .
  • Direct: They said, “ we  are eating our tiffin box.”
  • Indirect: They said that  they  were eating  their  tiffin box.

Rule 5: Changing the time

The mentioned time (not the timing) in a direct speech sentence will have to change in indirect speech like   now  becomes  then, tomorrow  becomes  the next day, yesterday  becomes  the previous day, today  becomes  that day, later  becomes  soon. 

  • Direct: He told, “He is coming from Tokyo  today .”
  • Indirect: He told me that he was coming from Tokyo  that day .
  • Direct: She asked, “Will the parcel reach by  tomorrow  or not?”
  • Indirect: She asked whether the parcel will reach by  the next day  or not.
  • Direct: “The teacher has given some assignments  yesterday ”, he reminds me.
  • Indirect: He reminds me that the teacher had given some assignments on  the previous day.

Conversion of statements from direct speech into Indirect speech:

Assertive sentences:.

Assertive sentences are simple statements that may be affirmative or negative.

If we are going to convert assertive sentences from direct speech into indirect speech, we have to replace “said” with “told” sometimes.

Here, the subject in direct speech refers to someone in his talk.

  • Direct: He said to me, “she is working on this project.”

Indirect: He told me that she was working on that project.

  • Direct: She said to me, “I’m going for a long drive.”

Indirect: She told me that she was going for a long drive.

Imperative sentences:

Imperative sentences are statements that deliver a command, order, request, appeal, or advice.

It depends on the speaker, how he delivers the message to the other person.

  • Sit properly!
  • Stand by my side!
  • Come closer!

While converting these types of sentences cum statements from direct speech to indirect speech, we have to check the type of sentence, whether it is a command, order, request, or else.

  • Direct: The teacher said to me, “Sit properly!”

Indirect: The teacher ordered me to sit properly.

  • Direct: The Boss said to an office boy, “Bring one coffee for me.”

Indirect: The Boss commanded an office boy to bring a coffee for him.

Indirect: The teacher requested me to sit properly.

  • Direct: The bartender said to me, “try this drink.”

Indirect: The bartender advised me to try that drink.

Interrogative sentences:

An interrogative sentence is a sentence which interrogates or ask questions.

Each interrogative sentence ends with an interrogative sign or a question mark sign “?”.

  • What is your name?
  • Can you do me a favor?
  • Why are you laughing in the classroom?

While writing interrogative sentences from direct speech into indirect speech,

  • the reporting verb “said” in the direct speech is changed into “asked” in the indirect speech because it asks the question to another person.
  • If any reporting verb comes first in the reporting speech, then “If” is used despite “that.”
  • In a reporting speech, if any wh-type question words are present, then no other words will be used, and the sentence ends with a full stop sign instead of a question mark.
  • Indirect: He asked me what was my name.
  • Indirect: She asked if he could do her a favor.
  • Indirect: The teacher asked him why he was laughing in the classroom.

Exclamatory sentences:

Exclamatory sentences are those sentences that show emotions, feelings and ends with an exclamation mark!

  • Congratulations! You have a baby girl.
  • I am extremely sorry for your loss!
  • Most welcome!

If any interjection comes in an exclamation sentence, then the exclamation sign removes in an indirect speech, and an exclamatory sentence gets converted into an assertive sentence.

The replacement of reporting verb “said” with  exclaimed with (great wonder, sorrow, joy) exclaimed (joyfully, sorrowfully)

Replace with  very  or  very great , if words like  how  or  what  comes at the beginning of the reported speech.

  • Indirect: He exclaimed with joy that I had a baby girl.
  • Indirect: She exclaimed with sorrow that she felt sorry for my loss.
  • Indirect: They exclaimed with joy that most welcome.

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Direct And Indirect Speech Complete Rules

We often convey a message or give information about what someone said, thought or felt to somebody else. In order to do this you can use the grammar structure named direct or quoted speech, or indirect or reported speech. Indeed this structure can be a source of confusion for ESL learners because they mix it with active and passive voice . Read the whole article to know about direct and indirect speech rules.

Direct and Indirect Speech Complete Rules

To learn more about direct and indirect speech click here.

Initially we will look at direct and indirect speech, then look at how to convert speech from direct to indirect or vice-versa.

Direct Speech / Quoted Speech Saying or quoting exactly what someone has said is called direct speech (sometimes called quoted speech) Here what a person says appears within quotation marks (“…”) a nd should be word for word.

  • She said, “Today’s lesson is about direct and indirect speech.” or
  • “Today’s lesson is about direct and indirect speech.”, she said.

Indirect Speech / Reported Speech Saying or reporting what someone said without quoting his exact words is called indirect speech. Here we don’t use quotation marks to enclose what the person said and does not have to be word for word.

  • He said that yesterday’s lesson was about direct and indirect speech.

Reporting Verb The verb in the first part of sentence (i.e. say, said, tell, admit, complain, explain remind, reply think, hope, offer, refuse etc.) before the statement of a person in sentence is called reporting verb.

How to Change Direct Speech into Indirect Speech?

Rule 1. (Adverbs of Time and Place)

If the reported sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it to fit in with the time of reporting, and adverb of nearness should be put into those of distance.

  • Today   =>  y esterday/ that day
  • This evening   =>  t hat evening
  • These (days)   =>   those (days)
  • Now   =>   then
  • (A week) ago   => (a week) before
  • Last weekend   => the previous weekend
  • Here   =>   there
  • Here after   =>  there after
  • Next (week)   => the following (week)/ a week after
  • Tomorrow   => the next/following day
  • Thus   => so
  • Last night   => the previous night
  • Yesterday   => the day before / the previous day
  • Hither   => thither
  • Hence   => thence

Note: If something is said and reported at the same time, then the time expression can remain the  same.

  • He told me today, “ I will go to Karachi tomorrow.”
  • He told me today he would go to Karachi tomorrow.
  • She told me this week, “ we gave our exam last week.”
  • She told me this week, they had given their exam last wee.

Rule 2. Tenses

A) If the reporting verb is in present or future (i.e say, says or will say) then don’t change the tense that you can find within the quotation marks.

  • He says,”I was a fool then.”
  • He says that he was a fool then.
  • I will say, “ He loves his mom.”
  • I will say that he loves his mom.

B) If reporting verb is in the past tense. the tense of the verbs in the reported speech or indirect speech must be generally changed. This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too.

  • He said,”I am going to the cinema.”
  • He said he was going to the cinema.

Tense Change As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense. Present Simple  › Past simple

  • She said, ”it is cold,”   
  • She said it was cold.

Present continuous › Past continuous 

  • She said, “I’m teaching Math online.”
  • She said she was teaching Math online.

Present perfect › Past perfect 

  • She said, “I’ve lived in Pakistan since 1999.” 
  • She said she had lived in Pakistan since 1999.

Present perfect continuous › Past perfect continuous 

  • She said, “I’ve been teaching English for seven years.” 
  • She said she had been teaching English for seven years.

Past simple › Past perfect 

  • She said, “I taught active and passive yesterday.”
  • She said she had taught active and passive yesterday.

Past continuous › Past perfect continuous

  • She said, “I was teaching the lesson.”  
  • She said she had been teaching the lesson.

Past perfect › Past perfect 

  • She said, “The lesson had already started when he arrived.”
  • NO CHANGE – She said the lesson had already started when he arrived.

Past perfect continuous  › Past perfect continuous 

  • She said, “I’d already been teaching for five minutes.”
  • NO CHANGE – She said she’d already been teaching for five minutes.

Modal verb forms also sometimes change: Will › would 

  • She said, “I’ll teach English online tomorrow.”
  • She said she would teach English online tomorrow.

Can › could 

  • She said, “I can teach English online.” 
  • She said she could teach English online.

Must ›  had to 

  • She said, “I must have a computer to teach English online.”
  • She said she had to have a computer to teach English online.

Shall › › should/ would

  • She said, “What shall we learn today?” 
  • She asked what we should learn today.
  • He said, ”I shall appreciate it.”
  • He said he would appreciate it.

May › might 

  • She said, “May I open a new browser?” 
  • She asked if she might open a new browser.

Note – There is no change to; could, would, should, might and ought to.

  • “I might go to the cinema”, he said.
  • He said he might go to the cinema.

Rule 3. (After wish, would rather, had better , it is time)

  • Ali said, ”I wish they were in Pakistan.”
  • Ali said he wished they were in Pakistan.
  • Hussain said, “ I would rather fly.”
  • Hussain said he would rather fly.
  • Zahra said, ” they had better go.”
  • Zahra said they had better go.
  • Ahmed said, “It is time I got up.”
  • Ahmed said it was time he got up.

If indirect speech the words within quotation marks talk of a universal truth or habitual action or when a sentence is made and reported at the same time and the fact is still true then the tense inside the quotation marks is not changed at all.

  • He said,”My name is Ali.”
  • He said his name was Ali Or He said his name is Ali.
  • The teacher said,” the sun rises in the east.”
  • The teacher said that the sun rises in the east.
  • Shazia said, “ I am thirsty.” 
  • Shazia said she is thirsty.

You can also use the present tense if you are talking about a future event.

  • She said,”next week’s lesson is on reported speech.”
  • She said next week’s lesson will be on reported speech.

Rule 6. (Pronouns)

We have to change the pronouns to keep the same meaning of a sentence.

  • Ali said, “ We are the best players.”
  • Ali said they were the best players.

Note: Sometimes we have to use a noun instead of a pronoun, otherwise the new sentence is confusing consider the examples below:

  • Mohammad said, “He killed them.”
  • Mohammad said that the man had killed them.

(If we only make mechanical changes, then the new sentence can have different meaning)

  • Mohammad said he had killed them. (Mohammad himself killed them)

Rule 7. Reported Speech In If-Clauses.

  • Hussain: “If I tidied my room, my dad would be happy.”
  • Hussain said that if he tidied his room, his dad would be happy.
  • Teacher: “If you concentrate, you will learn about direct and indirect speech.”
  • Teacher said if we concentrate we would learn about direct and indirect speech.

Rule 8. Reported Speech of Time-Clauses.

  • Ali: “When I was staying in Quetta I met my best friend.” –
  • He said that when he was staying in Quetta he met his best friend.

Rule 9. Reported Speech of Interrogative Sentences  1.  Remove the quotation marks and question mark in the interrogative sentence. 2.  Use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ if the sentence inside the quotation marks begins with a helping verb (Auxiliary verb). 3.  Use the given interrogative word (what, when, where, why, who, whom, whose, which, now etc.) if it does not begin with the helping verb. 4. Don‘t use ‘that’ 5. Changing the reporting verb (say, said) into ‘ask, want to know wonder or inquire’ in its correct tense. 6. Omit helping verb like ‘do, does, did’. But don’t omit them when they are with ‘not’.

  • Said I to my teacher,” won’t you help me to learn about direct and indirect speech complete rules?”
  • I asked my teacher if he would not help me to learn about direct and indirect speech complete rules.
  • “ How often do you go to the cinema?” Ali said to Ahmed,
  • Ali asked Ahmed how often he went to the cinema.
  • “Where have you been?” he said. 
  • He asked me where I had been.
  • “What time did it start?” he said. 
  • He wanted to know what time it had started.
  • “Why won’t he do it?” she said.
  • She wondered why he wouldn’t do it.

Rule 10. Reported Speech of Yes/ No Questions

In yes/no questions we use if or whether in questions. If is more common and whether is more formal.

  • “Will you go?” she asked me.
  • She asked me if/whether I would go.
  • “Did he buy a car?” she said.
  •  She wondered if/whether he had bought a car.

Rule 11. Reported Speech of Commands and Requests 

1. Remove the quotation mark in an Imperative sentence. 2. Use ‘to’ if it is an affirmative sentence. (without don‘t) 3. Use ‘not to’ if the sentence begins without Don‘t. 4. Don‘t use ‘that’ 5. Omit the word ‘please’. Use the word ‘request’ instead of ‘say’. 6. If the direct speech contains a request or a command, the reporting verb (say, said) change to tell, request, order, command etc. in its correct tense. 7. The commands, requests and advice mostly have the same form in English: verb + object + infinitive (advise, ask, beg, forbid, order, persuade, recommend, tell, urge, warn etc.).

  • “Get up!” he said.
  •   He warned me to get up.
  • “Please, revise for the test,” he said.
  •  He  requested me to revise for the test.
  • “Bring me a cup of tea” said Zahra to Sara.
  • Zahrs asked Sara to bring her a cup of tea.

Negative: + object + not + infinitive.

  • “Don’t hesitate,” he said.
  • He persuaded me not to hesitate.
  • “Don’t smoke,” the doctor warned my father.
  • The doctor warned my father not to smoke.

Rule 12. Reported Speech of Advice If it contains advice the reporting verb changes into advised.

  • “Put on your coat,” I said.
  • I advised him to put on his coat.

Rule 13. Reported Speech of Exclamatory Sentences

1. Change the exclamatory sentence into statement or assertive 2. Remove the quotation marks and exclamatory mark. 3. Use the conjunction ‘that’ 4. Omit the interjections such as Oh, O, Alas, how, what, hurrah. 5. Add the word ‘very’ to the adjective or adverb if necessary. 6. If the verb is not given, use ‘Be’ form verb (is, was, are, were, am) in its correct tense according to the subject. 7. Change the reporting verb (say, said) to ‘exclaim joyfully’ 8. Use ‘exclaim’ sorrowfully for sorrowful incidents.

  • She said ,” Wow, What a beautiful car that is!”
  • She exclaimed joyfully that was a verb beautiful car.
  • He said,” Alas! I have missed the paper.”
  • He exclaimed sorrowfully that he had missed the paper.

Rule 14. Use of ‘That’ in Reported Speech

In reported speech, the word that is often used, however it is optional. We recommend you no to use it because in some cases we don’t use ‘That’ in reported speech like: question, command request and order, so its better not to use it.

  • He told me that he lived in Hazara Town.
  • He told me he lived in Hazara Town.

Rule 15. Punctuation in Direct Speech

In direct speech, various punctuation conventions are used to separate the quoted words from the rest of the text: this allows a reader to follow what’s going on. Here are the basic rules: A) We use inverted commas (also called quotation marks, quotes or speech marks) to indicate direct speech. Double quotes (“) are preferred in American English, while single quotes (‘) are more common in British English:

  • “I’m coming home late tonight,” she said. (American English)
  • ‘I’m coming home late tonight,’ she said. (British English)

B) Every time a new speakers says something, you should start a new paragraph:

  • “They think it’s a more respectable job,” said Ali.
  • “I don’t agree,” I replied.

C) There should be a comma, full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end of a piece of speech. This is placed inside the closing inverted comma or commas.

  • He asked, “ Can I go outside?”
  • She shouted, “ Sit down!”
  • We said, “ They are wrong.”

D) If the direct speech is broken up by information about who is speaking, you need a comma (or a question mark or exclamation mark) to end the first piece of speech and a full stop or another comma before the second piece (before the inverted comma or commas):

  • “You’re right,” he said. “It feels strange.”
  • “Thinking back,” she said, “he didn’t expect to win.”
  • “No!” he cried. “You can’t leave now!”

Conclusion: I hope that the points that I have mentioned above about direct and indirect speech may prove beneficial for people learning English. All you need to do is to understand the crucial rules of direct and indirect speech, and don’t mix it with passive and active voice. 

Check out Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises With Answers

If you would like to know more about direct or quoted speech, or indirect or reported speech, check out more in the book below.

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indirect speech for rules

hello! I’m Abdullah and I want to ask a question related to indirect and direct speech.what would be the indirect sentence of this this speech: “I fell fed up” says trevor

indirect speech for rules

Hello dear Abdullah. When the reporting verb (He says)is in simple present tense, then we don’t go one tense back,so the statement won’t be changed in this case and remains the same in reported speech.

indirect speech for rules

Helo ,,pls let me know about one thing…if there is no object in reporting speech and “you” is used in reporting speech ,,in which pronoun v have to change “you”,,???

indirect speech for rules

Tashakkur, bisyar malumati bud 🙂

You are welcome dear Raza.

indirect speech for rules

This article is beneficial…thnkxx

You are welcome.

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Very helpful thank you soooo muchhhh

indirect speech for rules

I want a clarification for the following sentence. “Would you post this letter when you go out?”she said. She asked if I would post that letter when I go out . OR She asked if I would post that letter when I went out.

indirect speech for rules

Change the narration. 1.’I must leave at once’ I said,’because i must not be late’ 2 .Tariq said the police could not prove that the man had been murdered .

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very helpful understanding direct and indirect speech thank you very soooooo muuuuccccchhhh

You are welcome Mr. Moueez

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Thank you . It’s really helpful

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Useful article thank you.

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Hope it is useful and informative.

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Tomorrow is my English exam and this page is very helpful

Thank you Rahema. We always try to help people enhance their skills in four models: Listening, Speaking, Reading and writing.

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Direct To Indirect Speech: Complete Rules With Examples

Blog 1 Direct To Indirect Speech Complete Rules With Examples

Direct and indirect speech is often a confusing topic for English learners. The basic idea is this:

  • In direct speech, we quote a person’s exact words. For example, Meera said, “I can speak English fluently.”
  • In indirect speech, we do not quote the person’s exact words but provide a summary of what was said. For example, Meera said that she could speak English fluently.

The critical difference is that direct speech uses the exact words spoken by a person, while indirect speech summarizes what was said. While the definition is simple, the challenge for English language learners is using the proper tenses when converting a phrase from direct to indirect and vice versa.

Why Should You Learn Direct To Indirect Speech Rules?

There are several occasions – in your professional and personal – where you might need to describe an action or event to others. For example, you might have to repeat the team leader’s instructions to your teammates at the workplace. In this scenario, you convert your team leader’s direct to indirect speech.

Knowing conversion rules can help you present or describe the event correctly without making any grammatical errors or spoken English blunders.

In this post, we walk you through the rules of converting direct to indirect speech, helping you speak English fluently online and offline.

How To Use Direct Speech?

The rule is simple: Use direct speech when you want to repeat what someone says as it is, and ensure that the spoken text is sandwiched between quotation (speech) marks.

John said, “I want to learn to speak English fluently.”

It’s common to see the direct speech in newspaper articles and books. For example,

The District Collector announced, “The Chief Minister will inaugurate the city centre next week.”

As you can notice, in direct speech, we use the verb say (said in the past tense) to denote what was spoken. You can also use related verbs like ‘asked,’ ‘replied,’ ‘told,’ ‘informed,’ ‘shouted,’ etc.

How To Use Indirect Speech?

Indirect speech is also reported speech, as we use it to inform/repeat what someone else said. Using the two examples above, we can convert it into indirect speech as follows:

John said that he wanted to learn to speak English fluently.

The District Collector announced that the Chief Minister would inaugurate the city centre the week after.

Another example,

Direct Speech: “I feel cold.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she feels cold.

If you notice these examples carefully, you can see that the tense changes when converting from direct to indirect speech. To illustrate this point, in the following example, direct speech is in the present simple tense, while indirect speech is written in the simple past tense.

Direct Speech: “I live in the city centre.”

Indirect Speech: He said he lived in the city centre.

Tense Change Rules: Direct To Indirect Speech

Similarly, other tenses follow similar rules when changing from direct to indirect speech. Use the following table to help you better understand the tense change rules:

Modal Verbs: Direct To Indirect Speech

When converting direct to indirect speech, you must change modal verbs accordingly. Here are a few examples to help you understand better:

Changing Time Expressions: Direct To Indirect Speech

Sometimes it becomes necessary to change the time expressions when converting from direct to indirect speech. A few examples,

  • Direct speech: Sheila said, “I am meeting my brother tomorrow.”
  • Indirect speech: Sheila said that she was meeting her brother the following day.

Here are a few examples of other typical time expressions and how they change:

Changing Place Expressions: Direct To Indirect Speech

Like time expressions, you might also have to change words representing places when reporting indirect speech. For example,

  • Direct speech: “It’s raining here.”
  • Indirect speech: She said that it was raining there.

Here are a few examples of other common place expressions and how they change:

However, the place words only change when you report something from a different location.

Over To You

Now that you’ve seen the rules to convert direct to indirect speech, it’s time to put them into practice. The most efficient way to improve English speaking is to practice what you’ve learned. Join online English-speaking practice classes to gain confidence and mastery in your daily conversations.

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Direct and Indirect Speech – Rules and Examples

13th June 2020 By Edify English Leave a Comment

Any word spoken by a speaker can be written in two different ways. Those two are direct and indirect speech. Direct Speech is when the speaker’s actual words are quoted and these words are put in inverted commas (“…..”) while Indirect Speech is when the speaker’s words are said indirectly with the same meaning without repeating the exact words. For Example, the statement in direct speech She said to me, “I am going to the park” changes into She told me that she was going to the park in indirect speech.

Direct and Indirect Speech

Basic Changes while changing from Direct speech to indirect speech

  • The comma ( , )after the reporting verb is removed and the conjunction that is added in the indirect speech.
  • If the direct speech contains ‘said to’ , it will be converted into ‘told’ in the indirect speech.
  • The quotation marks (Inverted commas) are to be removed in the indirect speech.
  • I becomes He/ She
  • We becomes they
  • You becomes He / She/ They
  • Me becomes Him/ he r (Depending on the gender in the direct speech)
  • My becomes His/ Her .
  • Our becomes their
  • Us becomes them
  • Your becomes His/ her/ their .

Rules in changing a sentence from Direct and Indirect Speech

  • Rule 1: The Verb in the simple present tense in the direct speech changes into the simple past tense in indirect speech

Example: He said to me, “I am happy”   becomes  He told me that he was happy

(The verb in the direct speech ‘am’ is converted into ‘was’.)

  • Rule 2: The verb in the simple past tense becomes past perfect tense in indirect speech.

Example: He said to me, “I was happy”   changes into  He told me that he had been happy

  • Rule 3: A present continuous tense in direct speech becomes past continuous tense in indirect speech. 

Example: The peon said, “The professor is teaching in that classroom”   changes into  The peon said that the professor was teaching in that classroom. 

  • Rule 4: If the direct speech contains present perfect tense, it changes into the past perfect tense in indirect speech.

Example: She said, “I have passed the test” becomes She said that she had passed the test.

  • Rule 5: If the direct speech contains a statement talking about a universal truth or a factual statement, there will be no change of tense in indirect speech. 

Example: The teacher said, “The sun rises in the East” becomes The teacher said that the sun rises in the east in indirect speech.

Example: Samuel said, “I know the university’s address.” and the indirect speech for that is Samuel said that he knows the university’s address

Rules for converting Interrogatory sentences

  • Rule 6: While converting interrogative sentences, the verb ‘said to’ becomes ‘asked’ and if/ whether will come in the place of ‘that’. The connecting word ‘that’ will not be used in indirect speech. Also, the interrogation mark (?) is not repeated in the indirect speech.

Example:   He said to her, “Will you marry me?” changes into He asked her whether she would marry him in the indirect speech.

Rules for Converting Imperative Sentences

  • Rule 7: During the conversion of imperative sentences, the verb “said to” is changed into ordered, advised, requested, suggested, proposed, etc. depending on the situation.  Also, the connecting word ‘that’ is not used. Instead of that, ‘ to’ is used before the reporting verb.

Example: My father said to me, “prepare well for your examination” . It can be converted to My father advised me to prepare well for my examination.

Rules for Converting Exclamatory Sentences

  • Rule 8: For exclamatory sentences, the verb is converted into: exclaimed with joy or sorrow or with surprise, wished, prayed, applauded,/ etc. The exclamatory words and the exclamation are not mentioned anymore in the indirect speech. For example,

Example: The coach said, “Hurrah! we won the match!” is changed as The coach exclaimed with joy that we had won the match.

These are the changes in helping verbs while changing from Direct and Indirect Speech

Note: There is no change in the helping verbs “would, should, could, might, had” in the direct speech and they remain the s ame in indirect speech as well.

Changes in Time and Place 

Cha nges in pronoun s

The changes in pronouns in indirect speech depends on the subject and the object of the reporting verb.

  • Rule 1: The first person of reported speech changes based on the subject of the reporting verb.

Example: She said, “I watched a movie” can be converted into She said that she had watched a movie . Hence, the first person in the direct speech “I” has become “she” based on the subject.

Had there been “he” instead of “she”, the first person in reported speech changes accordingly into “he”.

  • Rule 2: The second person in reported speech changes based on the object of the reporting verb.

Example: She said to me, “You watched a movie” can be converted into She told me that I had watched a movie.

  • Rule 3 : The third person in the reported speech remains unchanged.

Example: I said to her, “He will play Chess” can be converted into I told her that he would play Chess.

Stay tuned for more examples of direct and indirect speech.

For an extensive material on tenses, Click here

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19 Direct and Indirect Speech Rules Examples (Updated 2025)

indirect speech for rules

Have you ever struggled with the rules of direct and indirect speech? You’re not alone. These forms of speech can be challenging, but mastering them is crucial for clear and effective communication, especially for school students, ESL learners, and those preparing for competitive exams.

Understanding direct and indirect speech conversion rules is crucial for clear and accurate communication and the conversion between direct and indirect speech will significantly enhance your language skills.

This informative article will explore these Direct and Indirect Speech Rules for Conversion with detailed examples.

Understanding Direct Speech

Direct speech is a form of reporting that presents someone’s exact words without any alterations. It is commonly enclosed in quotation marks, allowing readers to see the speaker’s statements precisely as they were uttered.

1. Key Elements of Direct Speech

a . Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are your best friends here. They compress the exact words spoken by a person.

b. Punctuation Placement

Punctuation is crucial. Commas , periods , question marks , and exclamation points all have their specific places within the quotation marks.

c. Speaker Tags

Speaker tags like “he said” or “she exclaimed” are often used to indicate who is speaking. These can be placed before , after , or even in the middle of the quoted speech.

2. E xamples of Direct Speech

a. Basic Examples

Consider this simple example:

  • Ritu said, “I am going to the store.”

Here, the exact words of Ritu are presented within quotation marks.

b. Complex Examples

Now, let’s add more complexity:

  • “I can’t believe it,” she whispered, “but I saw a unicorn in the garden.”

Notice how the sentence is split into two parts, but both are still within quotation marks.

For a better understanding of Direct Narration

Understanding Direct Narration for Direct and Indirect Speech Rules.

“I shall not go to school,” are the exact words of Riya, enclosed in quotation marks/inverted commas (“….”). This format, which uses commas and quotation marks/inverted commas, is called direct speech . In this sentence, ‘Riya’ is the subject or speaker, ‘says’ is the reporting verb, and ‘I shall not go to school’ is the reported speech.

Understanding Indirect Speech

Indirect speech , on the other hand, involves paraphrasing someone’s words and reporting them indirectly, without using quotation marks. It requires a few changes in structure, such as tense and pronoun shifts. Let’s convert the previous example of direct speech into indirect speech:

1. Key Elements of Indirect Speech

a. Removing Quotation Marks

Unlike direct speech, indirect speech doesn’t require quotation marks. You’re paraphrasing what was said.

b. Changing Pronouns

Pronouns often need to be changed to fit the new context. For instance, “I” becomes “he” or “she.”

c. Adjusting Tenses

Tenses usually shift back when converting to indirect speech. Present tense often turns into past tense.

d. Modifying Time Expressions

Time expressions like “today” or “tomorrow” also change to maintain the timeline consistency.

2. Examples of Indirect Speech

Basic Examples

Here’s a simple conversion:

  • Direct: John said, “I am going to the store.”
  • Indirect: John said that he was going to the store.

Complex Examples

For a more complex sentence:

  • Direct: “I can’t believe it,” she whispered, “but I saw a unicorn in the garden.”
  • Indirect: She whispered that she couldn’t believe it but that she had seen a unicorn in the garden.

For a clear concept of Indirect Narration

Indirect narration of Direct and Indirect Speech Rules.

Similarly, we can report the above sentence without quoting Riya’s exact words while keeping the meaning the same. This format is called indirect speech. In this format, no commas or quotation marks/inverted commas are used; only a full stop (.) is used at the end of the sentence.

Difference between direct and indirect speech rules

The following comparison highlights the key differences between direct and indirect speech rules, including punctuation, tense changes, and adjustments to pronouns and time references.

People also ask

Direct and Indirect Speech Rules: Essential for Learners

Discover the essential rules of direct and indirect speech with a variety of examples to improve your language skills. Effortlessly understand the intricacies of converting statements, questions, and commands from one form to another.

Understanding direct and indirect speech is crucial for effective communication, for learners. Here, we have outlined the essential rules you need to know.

A. Reporting Verbs Rules B. Tenses Rules C. Pronouns Rules D. Punctuation Marks Rules E. Modals and Conditional Rules F. Modifying Words Rules

A. Direct and Indirect Speech Rules for Reporting Verbs

Different reporting verbs are used to introduce indirect speech. The choice of reporting verb can convey the speaker’s attitude towards the reported speech.

Changes in reporting verbs according to tense are one of the most important rules for converting direct speech into indirect speech.

Remember: If the reporting verbs are in the present or future tense, the tense of the verb in the reported speech is not changed .

Remember: If the reporting verbs are in the past tense , the tense of the verb in the reported speech will be in the corresponding past tense.

Here are some commonly used reporting verbs:

Rule 1: Reporting verbs rules for ‘ Say ‘ and ‘ Tell ‘.

“Say” and “tell” are two frequently used reporting verbs. “Say” is generally followed by the reported speech, while “tell” is followed by the indirect object (the person being addressed).

Direct: He says , “I am your friend.” Indirect: He says that he is your friend.

Direct: He said to me, “I’m going to the store.” Indirect: She told me that he was going to the store.

Reporting verbs ‘Say’ and ‘Tell’ Chart

Rule 2: ‘ ask ‘ and ‘ inquire’ are used as reporting verbs..

When reporting questions , “ ask “ and “ inquire “ are commonly employed reporting verbs.

Direct: He said to me, “Where are you going?” Indirect: He asked where I was going.

Direct: She said , “When will the concert start?” Indirect: She inquired, “When will the concert start?”

Direct: Sarah said , “What time does the movie start?” Indirect: Sarah asked what time the movie started.

Direct: “Could you please provide more details?” she said to me. Indirect: She inquired politely if I could provide more details.

Direct: The customer said , “Do you have this item in stock?” Indirect: The customer i nquired if that item had in stock.

Rule 3: Reporting Verb rules for “ Request “, “ Advise “, “ Order “, and “ Beg “.

To report imperative sentences, “Request”, “Advise”, “Order”, and “beg” are often used.

Direct: “Please close the door,” she said . Indirect: She requested that the door be closed.

Direct: “You should study regularly,” he said. Indirect: He advised that regular studying should be done.

Direct: “Stand up straight,” the sergeant said . Indirect: The sergeant ordered that they stand up straight.

Direct: He said to me, “Go home at once” Indirect: He ordered me to go home at once.

Direct: She said , “Do not run in the sun” Indirect: She advised not to run in the sun.”

Direct: “Please forgive me,” she said. Indirect: She begged for forgiveness.

B. Tenses Rules for Direct and Indirect Speech

The second most important rule is the changes of Tenses for converting direct speech to indirect speech. When transforming direct speech into indirect speech, there are specific rules to follow regarding tense changes:

Rule 4: If the reporting verb is in the present tense ,

If the Reporting Verb is in the Present Tense , there is no change in the tense in the Reported Verb when Direct Speech is converted into Indirect Narration.

Direct: Arnab says , “The room is dark.” Indirect: Arnab says that the room is dark.

Direct: Arnab says , “The room was dark.” Indirect: Arnab says that the room was dark.

Direct: Arnab says , “I shall finish the work.” Indirect: Arnab says that he will finish the work.

Direct: Mary says , “I am going to the party.” Indirect: Mary says that she is going to the party.

Direct: He tells us, “I will finish the project by tomorrow.” Indirect: He tells us that he will finish the project by tomorrow.

Rule 5: If the reporting verb is in the future tense ,

If the Reporting Verb is in the Future Tense , there is no change in the tense in the Reported Verb when Direct Speech is converted into Indirect Narration.

Direct: Sarah will say , “I am going to the store.” Indirect: Sarah will say that she is going to the store.

Direct: John will say, “I have completed the assignment.” Indirect: John will say that he has completed the assignment.

Direct: Arnab will say, “The room is dark.” Indirect: Arnab will say that the room is dark.

Direct: Arnab will say , “The room was dark.” Indirect: Arnab will say that the room was dark.

Direct: Arnab will say, “I shall finish the work.” Indirect: Arnab will say that he will finish the work.

Rule 6: If the reporting verb is in the past tense ,

If the Reporting verb of the Direct Narration is in the Past Tense , the Present Tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech of Direct Narration is changed into the corresponding Past Tense in Indirect Narration .

Direct: Rohan said , “She works hard.” Indirect: Rohan said that she worked hard.

Direct: Rohan said, “She is singing a song.” Indirect: Rohan said that she was singing a song.

Direct: The guest said shouting, “We have arrived .” Indirect: The guest shouted that they had arrived.

Direct: My sister said , “It has been raining hard for 3 days”. Indirect: My sister said that it had been raining hard for 3 days.

Direct: Father said, “I visited the Taj yesterday.” Indirect: Father said that he had visited the Taj the previous day.

Direct: The boys said, “They were traveling in the park.” Indirect: The boys said that they had been traveling in the park.

Direct: The reporters commented , “The Kohinoor had been lost long ago”. Indirect: The reporters commented that the Kohinoor had been lost long ago.

Direct: Jyotsna said, “ She had been doing the work for 3 hours”. Indirect: Jyotsna said that she had been doing the work for 3 hours.

Rule: 7 If the reported speech implies Universal Truth or Habitual Fact or Scientific Truth ,

The Tense of the Verb remains unchanged in Indirect Narration in cases of General Statements of Facts , Universal Truths , Commonplace Occurrences , and Habitual or Repeated Actions . No real change occurs in these cases. Only there will be present Tense alone.

Direct: The boy said to his mother, “ The sun rises in the East”. Indirect: The boy told his mother that the sun rises in the East. [ Universal Truth ]

Direct: The monk answered , “ Man is mortal”. Indirect: The monk answered that man is mortal. [ Universal Truth ]

Direct: The teacher told the students, “ Perseverance always leads to success.” Indirect: The teacher told the students that perseverance always leads to success.

3. Direct and Indirect Speech R ules for Pronouns

There are certain rules to follow regarding the changes of pronouns from direct speech to indirect speech:

Rule 8: Personal Pronouns (I, We, You, He, She, They) Rules

First person.

(a) If the subject of the reported speech of direct form is in the first person, the subject of the reported speech will be replaced by the subject of the reporting verb in indirect form, but the number must be the same. [ singular > singular and plural > plural ]

Direct: She says, “ I am ill today.” Indirect: She says that she is ill that day.

indirect speech for rules

Second Person

(b) If the subject of the reported speech in the Direct Form is in the second person, the subject of the reported speech will be replaced by the object of the reporting verb in the indirect form, but the number must be the same. [ singular > singular and plural > plural ]

Direct: He says to me , ” You can do this work.” Indirect: He tells me that I can do that work.

indirect speech for rules

Third Person

(c) If the subject of the reported speech of Direct Form is in the third person, there will be no change in the person of the Indirect Form.

Direct: I said, “ He will not wait for his friend.” Indirect: I said that he would not wait for his friend.

indirect speech for rules

Pronouns Chart : direct and indirect speech rules

Rule 9: demonstrative pronouns ( this, that ) rules.

In the case of demonstrative pronouns, replace them with appropriate pronouns in indirect speech.

Direct: “ This is my book,” she said. Indirect: She said that this was her book.

4. Direct and Indirect Speech ( Punctuation and Quotation Marks ) Rules

Understanding how to punctuate and use quotation marks correctly is crucial when dealing with direct and indirect speech. Here are some guidelines:

Rule 10: Comma with Reporting Verb Rules

When introducing indirect speech with a reporting verb, use a comma to separate the reporting verb from the reported speech.

Example: She said, “I’ll be there on time.”

Rule 11: Question Mark to Full Stop Rules

If the direct speech is a question, change the question mark to a full stop when converting to indirect speech.

Direct: He asked, “Are you coming to the party?” Indirect: He asked if I was coming to the party.

Rule 12: Exclamation Mark to Full Stop Rules

In cases where the direct speech has an exclamation mark, replace it with a full stop in indirect speech.

Direct: She exclaimed, “What a beautiful day!” Indirect: She exclaimed that it was a beautiful day.

E. Direct to Indirect Speech Conversion Rules : Modals and Conditional Sentences

Indirect speech involving modals and conditional sentences requires careful attention to maintain accuracy:

Rule 13: Rules of Modals in Indirect Speech

When dealing with modals like can, could, will, would, may, might, shall, should, must, etc., use the appropriate past form in indirect speech.

Direct: She said, “You should respect your elders. Indirect: She said that I should respect my elders.

Direct: She said, “I can speak French fluently. Indirect: She said that she could speak French fluently.

Direct: May I borrow your pen?” she asked. Indirect: She asked if she might borrow my pen.

Direct: He said, “You must complete the assignment by tomorrow. Indirect: He said that I must complete the assignment by the next day.

Rule 14: Conditional Sentences in Indirect Speech Rules

In indirect speech, conditional sentences undergo specific changes, especially when they involve “will” or “would.”

Direct: He said, “I will help you.” Indirect: He said that he would help me.

Direct: He said, “I will help you with your project Indirect: He said that he would help me with my project.

F. Direct and Indirect Speech Rules: ( Modifying Words – Time, Place, Manner )

Adding modifying words or phrases can alter the meaning of the reported speech:

Rule 15: Reporting with Adverbs of Time

When using adverbs of time in indirect speech, adjust them to match the new timeframe.

Direct: “I will come tomorrow,” she said. Indirect: She said that she would come the next day.

Rule 16: Reporting with Adverbs of Place

Similar to adverbs of time, adverbs of place need modification in indirect speech. 

Direct: ” I live here,” he said. Indirect: He said that he lived there.

Rule 17: Reporting with Adverbs of Manner

We can also use Adverbs of manner in indirect speech, requiring appropriate adjustments.

Direct: “He ran quickly,” she said. Indirect: She said that he ran quickly.

Time, Place, Manner, Distance, Direction Chart: Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

In Indirect Narration, words denoting Time, Place, Manner, Distance, and Direction used in the quoted speech are correspondingly changed to conform to the point of view of the Reporter. Thus, the sense of nearness is changed into that of Distance, and so on.

Place Chart

Manner chart, distance chart, direction chart, direct and indirect speech advanced rules.

It is necessary to know about the Direct Indirect Speech Advanced Rules to change the mode of narration from direct to indirect speech of different sentences. All five sentences of Direct Indirect Speech Conversion Rules are shown with proper examples below.

A. Assertive Sentence Conversion Rules

To convert Assertive sentences into indirect speech the following rules are applied.

(a) No comma and Inverted comma in Indirect Speech, only full stop at the end. (b) Reporting Verbs changed from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech ; ‘say – say’, ‘says – says’, ‘said – said’, ‘said to – told’, ‘say to – tell’, ‘says to – tells’. (c) Connective ‘that’ added before Reported Speech in indirect Narration.

Direct: He said to me, “I am ill.” Indirect: He told me that he was ill.

Direct: Mary said, “I am happy with my results.” Indirect: Mary said that she was happy with her results.

Direct: Tom said, “I will attend the meeting tomorrow.” Indirect: Tom said that he would attend the meeting the next day.

Direct: Alice said, “I have finished my homework.” Indirect: Alice said that she had finished her homework.

Direct: David said, “We are planning a trip to the mountains.” Indirect: David said that they were planning a trip to the mountains.

B. Interrogative sentences Conversion rules

Forming indirect speech with questions necessitates some adjustments:

a. Reporting Yes/No Questions rules

When reporting yes/no questions, use “if” or “whether” and invert the subject and auxiliary verb in indirect speech.

Direct: John asked, “Are you coming to the party?” Indirect: John asked if I was coming to the party.

Direct: Sarah asked, “Do you like chocolate?” Indirect: Sarah asked if I liked chocolate.

Direct: Mike asked, “Have you finished your project?” Indirect: Mike asked if I had finished my project.

Direct: Emma asked, “Will you help me with my homework?” Indirect: Emma asked if I would help her with her homework.

Direct: “Will you be there?” he asked. Indirect: He asked if I would be there.

b. Reporting Wh-Questions rules

For reporting wh-questions, maintain the question word and adjust the word order in indirect speech.

(a) ‘Tell’ and ‘say’ in Direct Narration are changed to ‘ask’, ‘enquire of’, ‘question’, ‘want to know’ etc. in Indirect Narration. (b) In place of introductory ‘that’. ‘if’ or ‘whether’ should be used. (c) In Indirect Narration a full stop (.) must be put in place of a question mark(?) at the end of the sentence. (d) In Direct Narration the Reported Speech begins with W-word or how, in Indirect Narration the same Wh-word or how is retained.

Direct: Lisa asked, “Where are you going?” Indirect: Lisa asked where I was going.

Direct: Mark asked, “What time does the movie start?” Indirect: Mark asked what time the movie started.

Direct: Jennifer asked, “Why did you leave early?” Indirect: Jennifer asked why I had left early.

Direct: Tom asked, “How do you solve this problem?” Indirect: Tom asked how I solved that problem.

Direct: “Where are you going?” she asked. Indirect: She asked where I was going.

Direct: The teacher said to me, “Why are you late?” Indirect: The teacher asked me why I was late.

C. Imperative Sentences Conversion rules

The indirect speech also involves reporting imperatives, which are commands, requests, or advice:

Reporting Commands

When reporting commands, use the reporting verb “tell” and change the imperative verb to the corresponding infinitive.

Direct: The teacher said, “Open your books.” Indirect: The teacher told the students to open their books.

Reporting Requests

For reporting requests, employ the reporting verb “ask” and convert the imperative verb to the corresponding infinitive.

Direct: She said, “Please help me with this.” Indirect: She asked for help with that.

(a) Reporting verbs of Direct Speech changed into order or command, advise, or request according to sense in Indirect Speech. (b) ‘To’ is placed before Reported speech in Indirect Narration; for the negative imperative sentence ‘not to’ is used. (c) ‘not to’ can also be replaced by ‘forbid’, or ‘prohibit’. (d) ‘Let’ implies ‘suggestion’ or ‘proposal’; Reporting verb will be ‘suggest’ or ‘propose’ in Indirect Speech. ‘that’ is used before Reported speech in Indirect Narration (e) ‘Let’ without ‘suggestion’ or ‘proposal’; Reporting verb will be ‘tell’, or ‘wish’ according to sense in Indirect Speech. ‘that’ is used before Reported speech in Indirect Narration.

Direct: Mother said to me, “Don’t run in the sun.” Indirect: Mother advised me not to run in the sun.

Direct: She said to me, “Let us go for a picnic.” Indirect: She suggested that we should go for a picnic.

D. Optative Sentence Conversion rules

The following rules are used to change an optative sentence from direct speech to indirect speech

(a) Reporting verbs changed to ‘ wish ’, ‘ pray’ , and ‘ bless ’ in Indirect Speech. (b) Linker, ‘ that ’ is placed before Reported speech in Indirect Narration.

Direct: The monk said to me, “ May God bless you.” Indirect: The monk wished that God might bless me.

E. Exclamatory Sentences Conversion rules

(a) The reporting verb is changed into exclaim (in joy), exclaim (in grief), cried out (in sorrow), pray, wish, etc. (b) Examinations are turned into statements. (c) Interjections (Alas, Oh, Hurrah) are omitted. (d) ‘What’, and ‘How’ used in exclamation should be replaced by great, great, very, very much, and big.

Direct: The boys said, “Hurrah! we have won the match.” Indirect: The boy exclaimed in joy that they had won the match.

Solved Exercises Direct and Indirect Speech

Change the following sentences into indirect speech.

Q: Ratan said to Anita, “I don’t like your brother”.

Ans: Ratan told Anita that she did not like her brother.

Q: The hermit said to the boys, “God is present everywhere.”

Ans: The hermit told the boys that God is present everywhere.

Q: :He said to you, “You shouldn’t play in my garden.”

Ans: He told you that you should not play in his garden.

Q: The class teacher said to the students. “The inspector will visit our school today.”

Ans: The class teacher told the students that the inspector would visit their school that day.

Q: He said to me, “I don’t believe you.”

Ans: He told me that he didn’t believe me.

Q: She said to her son, “I’ve often told you not to play with fire.”

Ans: She told her son that she had often told him not to play with fire.

Q: Sitesh said to Lina, “I want you to go to Patna with me.”

Ans: Sitesh told Lina that he wanted her to go to Patna with him.

Q: “We can’t be quite happy in life,” he said.

Ans: He said that they couldn’t be quite happy in life.

Q: He said, “The Muslims bury their dead.”

He said that the Muslims bury their dead.

Q: “You’ve overcooked the steak again, Mary”, he said.

Ans: He told Mary that she had overcooked the steak again.

Q: Ramen said to Bina, “I’m going to your house this, week.”

Ans: Ramen told Bina that he was going to her house that week.

Q: He said, “We will discuss this tomorrow.”

Ans: He said that they would discuss that the next day

Turn the following sentences into direct speech.

Q: He said to me, “You are wicked; so I shall not mix with you.”

Ans: He told me that I was wicked; so he would not mix with me.

Q: He said to you, “I was much struck by your eloquence.”

Ans: He told you that he had been much struck by your eloquence.

Q: We remarked, “God is gracious.”

Ans: We remarked that God is gracious.

Q: I said to my mother, “I shall always obey you.”

Ans: I told my mother that I should always obey her.

Q: He said to Gopal, “You were a mere boy when I saw you last.”

Ans: He told Gopal that he was a mere boy when he had seen him last.

Q: I said to him, “The sky is blue.”

Ans: I told him that the sky is blue.

Q: He said to me, “You will feel the consequences.”

Ans: He told me that I should feel the consequences.

Q: She said to you, “I am not angry with you.”

Ans: She told you that she was not angry with you.

Q: I said to them, “You have done wrong.”

Ans: I told them that they had done wrong.

Q: He said, “I visit the temple every day.”

Ans: He said that he visited the temple every day.

Direct and Indirect Speech Sample MCQ Questions Answers

Fill in the blanks with proper direct and indirect speech rules.

  • d) had been
  • Answer: a) was
  • c) will like
  • d) had liked
  • Answer: a) liked
  • a) will visit
  • b) would visit
  • d) had visited
  • Answer: b) would visit
  • Answer: c) was
  • c) will have
  • Answer: b) had
  • Answer: b) could
  • a) revolves
  • c) revolved
  • d) is revolving
  • Answer: a) revolves
  • b) had been
  • Answer: b) had been
  • Answer: b) would

FAQs : Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

Q : what is the key difference between direct and indirect speech.

Ans: The main difference lies in the quoting style. Direct speech involves repeating someone’s exact words, while indirect speech reports what was said without quoting verbatim.

FAQ 2: Is it always necessary to backshift the tense in indirect speech?

Ans: While backshifting is common, some exceptions exist, especially in cases where the statement’s truth remains constant.

FAQ 3: How do I handle multiple speakers in indirect speech?

Ans: When reporting multiple speakers, use appropriate reporting verbs and introduce each person’s dialogue in a logical sequence.

FAQ 4: Can I mix direct and indirect speech in the same sentence?

Ans: Combining direct and indirect speech in a sentence is possible, but it requires precision to avoid confusion.

FAQ 5: What are some reporting verbs commonly used in indirect speech?

Ans: Reporting verbs like “said,” “told,” “asked,” “claimed,” and “explained” are frequently employed.

FAQ 6: How can I ensure my writing maintains a natural flow when switching between direct and indirect speech?

Ans: Focus on maintaining consistency in style and verb tense to ensure a smooth transition between direct and indirect speech.

FAQ 7: How do I identify direct and indirect speech in a sentence?

Ans: Direct speech is usually enclosed within quotation marks and directly quotes someone’s words. Indirect speech, on the other hand, reports those words without quotation marks, often using reporting verbs like “said,” “told,” “asked,” etc.

FAQ 8: Can reporting verbs change the meaning of indirect speech?

Ans: Yes, the choice of reporting verbs can convey the speaker’s attitude or emotions towards the reported speech. Different reporting verbs can modify the meaning slightly.

FAQ 9: What are the common reporting verbs for indirect speech?

Ans: Common reporting verbs for indirect speech include “say,” “tell,” “ask,” “inquire,” “explain,” “describe,” and more.

FAQ 10: How do I change tenses in indirect speech?

Ans: The tense in indirect speech is generally shifted back one step. For example, present simple becomes past simple, present continuous becomes past continuous, and so on.

FAQ 11: Is it essential to use quotation marks in indirect speech?

Ans: No, quotation marks are not used in indirect speech as they report the speech without directly quoting it.

FAQ 12: Can you give an example of indirect speech in narratives?

Ans: Certainly! In the story, he said, “I love you,” to which she replied that she loved him too.

FAQ 14: Can we omit the reporting verb in indirect speech?

Ans: It is possible to omit the reporting verb in some cases, especially in informal contexts, but including it adds clarity and structure to the reported speech.

FAQ 15: Do all tenses change in indirect speech?

Ans: Most tenses change in indirect speech, but the changes depend on the context and the tense of the original statement.

FAQ 16: Can you provide more examples of direct and indirect speech transformations?

Ans: Certainly! Here are a few more examples:

Direct: “I am reading a book,” she said. Indirect: She said that she was reading a book.

Direct: “We have completed the project,” they exclaimed. Indirect: They exclaimed that they had completed the project.

FAQ 17: How can I practice using direct and indirect speech effectively?

Ans: Practice by converting direct speech to indirect speech and vice versa using various reporting verbs, tenses, and pronouns. Additionally, read books or articles and identify the reported speech used by the authors.

Related Posts:

Subject Verb Agreement Class 10 Worksheet Answers Notes Rules

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Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

English grammar direct and indirect speech rules, what is direct and indirect speech.

We often have to give information about what people say or think. In order to do this, we can use direct or quoted speech or indirect or reported speech .

Direct Speech

Saying exactly what someone has said is called direct speech (sometimes called quoted speech).

For example:

  • She said, “Today’s lesson is on presentations.” Or “Today’s lesson is on presentations,” she said.

Indirect speech

Indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech or Narration ), doesn’t use quotation marks to enclose what the person said and it doesn’t have to be word for word. Thus, in indirect speech, we convey the speaker’s message in our own words.

  • Direct Speech: He said, “I’m going to the cinema”.
  • Indirect Speech: He said that he was going to the cinema.

Reported Speech Tenses Change Chart

Reported speech does not go back a tense if it is already in the past perfect (there is no further back it can go), and some modal verbs also do not change.

Direct and Indirect speech Examples for Tense

1. Simple Present to Simple Past

  • Direct: He said, “The boy goes home.” Indirect: He said that the boy went home.

2. Present Continuous to Past Continuous

  • Direct: Ram said, “I am reading a book.” Indirect: Ram said that he was reading a book.

3. Present Perfect to Past Perfect

  • Direct: The girl said, “I have lost my pen.” Indirect: The girl said that she had lost her pen.

4. Present Perfect Continuous to Past Perfect Continuous

  • Direct: He said, “Ram has been going.” Indirect: He said that Ram had been going.

5. Past Indefinite to Past Perfect

  • Direct: Mother said, “I bought a watch for you.”
  • Indirect: Mother said that she had bought a watch for him.

6. Past Continuous to Past Perfect Continuous

  • Direct: Raju said, “I was repairing a car.” Indirect: Raju said that he had been repairing a car.

7. Future Tense (shall/will) to future in the Past (should/would)

  • Direct: The teacher said, “I shall give you notes.” Indirect: The teacher said that he would give them notes.

8. Conditional to Perfect Conditional Direct:

  • Direct: He said, “If I had the money I could buy the car.” Indirect: She said that if he had the money he could have bought the car.  

9. Past Perfect Tense: No Change

  • Direct: She said, “I had gone to Bhagalpur.” Indirect: She said that she had gone to Bhagalpur.

10. Auxiliary Verbs (would, should, might, could, ought, must) —  No Change

  • Direct: He said, “I would like to take milk.” Indirect: He said that he would like to take milk.
  • Direct: The boy said, “The teacher could have solved it in no time.” Indirect: The boy said that the teacher could have solved it in no time.
  • Direct: He said, “The boy must apologise to the teacher.” Indirect: He said that the boy must apologise to the teacher.

Changes of Interrogative Sentences

  • Toni said, “What is Luna doing?” Toni asked me what Luna was doing.
  • Luna said, “Will she come for lunch?” Luna asked if she would come for lunch.
  • The boy asked, “ Wh ere do you stay?” The boy inquired where I stayed

Things are slightly more complicated with imperatives

Time and place references.

  • I went to the theatre last night . He said he had gone to the theatre the night before .
  • I’m having a party next weekend . He said he was having a party the next weekend .
  • I’m staying here until next week . He said he was staying there until the following week.
  • I came over from London 3 years ago . He said he had come over from London 3 years before.

When verbs don’t follow the rules?

  • You’ve invited someone for dinner at your house, and the phone rings. It’s them! They say:
  • (on the phone) “I’m sorry, but I think I’m going to be a bit late. There’s a lot of traffic.”
  • After you finish speaking on the phone, you say to someone else:
  • That was Juan. He said he thinks he’s going to be late because there’s a lot of traffic.

Another example:

  • A friend says to you: “Maria’s ill. She’ s got chickenpox!”
  • You say to someone else: Laura said that Maria’ s ill. She’ s got chickenpox.
  • However, the following day you see Maria at the beach. You’re surprised and say to her:
  • Laura said that you were ill. She said you had chickenpox.

This has to change to the past because it isn’t true . Maria obviously isn’t ill .

  • A friend is telling you about the horrible weather: “It started raining heavily when I left work.” (This is where things get confusing):
  • He said it had started raining heavily when he had left work (it sounds horrible and the sentence is almost nothing but verbs).
  • He said it had started raining heavily when he left work (is wrong because it means it was already raining when he left work)
  • He said it started raining heavily when he left work (is the best version because it is accurate, short, and there is no confusion because of the time context)

Generally speaking, the past simple and continuous don’t always need to be changed if:

Rules for Universal Truth, Habitual Facts, etc.

  • Direct: My friend said, “I am an early riser.” Indirect: My friend said that he is an early riser.
  • Direct: Father said, “Man is the only animal that cooks his food.” Indirect: Father said that man is the only animal that cooks his food.
  • Direct: The teacher said, “Honesty is the best policy.” Indirect: The teacher said that honesty is the best policy.
  • Direct: The teacher said, “The earth moves around the sun.” Indirect: The teacher said that the earth moves around the sun.
  • Direct: Sarla said, “When Ram was reading Sham was writing.” Indirect: Sarla said that when Ram was reading Sham was writing.
  • Direct: The teacher said, “Akbar died in 1605 AD.” Indirect: The teacher said that Akbar died in 1605 AD.
  • Direct: The speaker said, “Gentlemen, I will tell you what is going there.” Indirect: The speaker told his audience (those present) that he would tell them what was going there
  • Direct: He said, “I hope, friends, you will support me.” Indirect: He said that he hoped they would support him.
  • Direct: He said, “I would rather she played.” Indict: He said that he would rather she played.
  • Direct: He said, “If I  were rich, I would settle in Mumbai. Indirect: He said that if he were rich, he would settle in Mumbai.
  • Direct: He said. “When we lived/were living in Chennai, we often visited Rameshwarm” Indirect: He said that when they lived/ were living in Chennai, they often visited / had visite Rameshwarm

Rules for the Change of Pronouns

If the direct speech has a pronoun, its person is changed, when necessary, to refer in the indirect to the same individual as it does in the direct.

  • Soni said, “ I am a good girl.” Soni said that she was a good girl.
  • I told them, “ You have finished your work.” I told them that they had finished their work.
  • He said, “ She is in Delhi.” He said that she was in Delhi.
  • Direct:  He said, “I can cross this river.” Indirect:   He said that he could cross that river.
  • Direct:  You said. “I can cross this river.” Indirect:   You said that you could cross that river.
  • Direct:  I said, “I can cross this river.” Indirect:  I said that I could cross that river.

You also need to be careful with  personal pronouns . They need to be changed according to the situation. You need to know the context.

For example , there is possible confusion when you try to change reported speech to direct speech:

  • She  said  she ’d been waiting for hours. (Is ‘ she ‘ one person or two different people?)
  • I told  them they  would have to ask permission. (Are we talking about two groups of people or only one?)

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Direct and Indirect speech, Rules, Chart and Exercises

Direct and Indirect speech are ways of narrating the speech of someone to some other person following certain rules. This article covers its types, rules, examples and some exercises on the same.

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Direct and Indirect Speech: In English Grammar, direct and Indirect speech are used in instances when we wish to repeat or convey a speech or statement of some other person. Both direct and indirect speech describes what a third person said or conveyed in the past. Indirect speech is more commonly employed unless it’s a direct quotation, which is consistently enclosed in double quotation marks. Whereas indirect speech is used when you want to convey someone’s statement using your own precise words. It’s worth highlighting that indirect speech is consistently expressed using verbs like “said,” “told,” or “asked.”

Direct and Indirect Speech

There are two types of reported speech in English grammar, they are Direct and Indirect speech. Both speech conveys the speech or statement which was told by some other person. To explain any event, action or scenario we generally convey the sentences quoted by someone in the form of direct and indirect speech. In order to clearly differentiate and make people understand easily, we have detailed the two types of reported speech with examples and exercises below.

Direct Speech

Direct speech is the mode of expression that directly presents the words spoken or quoted by a third person. Generally, direct speech is written inside quotation marks (“”). The quotation is used to differentiate the speech of the third person that has happened in the past. Thus direct speech conveys statements or conversations of someone in the past tense but quoted inside the quotation marks in the present or future tense.

  • Kiran said, “I am doing my work.”
  • They said, ” We will go for the function.”
  • He asked,”Can I make this?”

Indirect Speech

Indirect Speech is used when we convey what someone said in our own words without repeating the actual text of that person. Instead of using quotation marks, the conjunction word, ‘that’ is used. Thus speaker’s words and sentences are reframed into our own words in Indirect speech. Some examples of indirect speech are:

  • Direct speech: Kiran said, “I am doing my work.”
  • Indirect speech: Kiran said that she is doing her work.
  • Direct speech: They said, ” We will go for the function.”
  • Indirect speech: They said that they would go to the function.
  • Direct speech: He asked, “Can I make this?”
  • Indirect speech: He asked whether he can make that.

Rules for Direct and Indirect Speech

There are certain rules and regulations followed while converting a simple direct speech into indirect speech. Certain factors such as Verbs, Tenses, Modals, time, place, and pronouns are also considered while changing. The following are the rules applied when you convert direct speech to indirect speech in English grammar.

Rule-1 : Direct To Indirect Speech Conversion – Reporting Verb

The reporting verb is an important factor to note when changing a direct to an indirect sentence. When the reporting verb is past tense, then the verb inside the quotation is also changed to past when changing a sentence from direct to indirect speech. Examples:

  • Direct: He said,’ I am sad.’
  • Indirect: He said that he was sad.

An exception is for cases like a universal truth, the tenses remain the same.

  • Teena said” The sun rises in the east”.
  • Teena said that the sun rises in the east.

If the reporting verb is in present/future tense, then the tense remains the same as in direct speech.

  • Direct: She says/will say, ‘I am coming.’
  • Indirect: She says/will say she is coming.

Rule 2: Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Tenses

If the sentences inside quotes in direct speech are present tense, it is changed to past tense when changed to indirect speech. The rule in the following table is applied while changing tenses from direct speech to reported speech.

Examples of change in Tenses

Rule 4: Direct to Indirect speech Conversion Interrogative sentences

If a sentence starts with a question word like what, when, and why in direct speech, the question word itself acts as the joining class.

  • Direct speech: “Where do you live ?” Asked the boy.
  • Indirect Speech: The boy enquired where I lived.

Rule 5: Direct to Indirect Speech Conversion Change in Modals

Modal verbs are those verbs that are preceded by another verb, which is the main verb. Can, May, and Must are some examples of Modals. Modals that won’t change are Could, would, should, ought to, might. While changing direct to indirect speech, the Modals change as below:

  • Can become could
  • May becomes Might
  • Must becomes had to (or) would have to
  • Direct: She said,” She can sing.”
  • Indirect: She said that she could sing.
  • Direct: She said,” I should cook the lunch”
  • Indirect: She said that she should cook the lunch.

Rule 6: Direct to Indirect speech conversion – pronoun

The first person in Direct speech changes as per the subject of the speech

  • Direct: He said, “I am in grade sixth.”
  • Indirect: He said that he was in grade sixth.

The second person of Direct speech changes as per the object of the indirect speech.

  • Direct: She says to them, “You have achieved your goal.”
  • Indirect: She tells them that they have achieved their goal.

If the third person is mentioned in the Direct speech, it does not change in reported speech.

  • Direct: He says, “She sings well.”
  • Indirect: He says that she sings well.

Rule 7: Direct to indirect speech conversion – Request, Command, Wish and Exclamation.

The imperative words in direct speech change into Infinitives in indirect speech.

  • Direct: She said to her ‘Please remove it’.
  • Indirect: She requested her to remove that.

Exclamation

  • Direct: She said, ‘Alas! I am undone.
  • Indirect: She exclaimed sadly that she was broke.

 Rule 8: Direct to indirect speech conversion – punctuations

In Direct speech, the words spoken must start with(“) and ends with(.) inside the double inverted commas. All symbols such as question marks, full stops or exclamatory marks should be placed inside the quotes.

  • They said. “We are the best”
  • She asked, “Can I come with You?”
  • He uttered, “Keep Quiet!”

Rule 9: Direct to indirect speech conversion – Change of time

While converting direct speech to Indirect speech, there are certain words to be noted that cannot be used as such in indirect speech. These words get modified into new words which are enlisted below:

  • Now becomes Then
  • Ago becomes before
  • Thus becomes So
  • Today becomes That day
  • Tomorrow becomes the next day
  • Yesterday becomes the day before
  • This becomes that
  • These become those
  • Come becomes go
  • Hence becomes thence
  • Next week or next month becomes the following week or month
  • Direct: He says/will say, ‘My girlfriend came yesterday.’
  • Indirect: He says/will say that his girlfriend had come the day before.

Rules for Converting Indirect Speech into Direct Speech:

The following rules should be followed while converting an indirect speech to direct speech:

  • Use the reporting verb such as (say, said to) in its correct
  • Put a comma before the statement and the first letter of the statement should be in capital
  • Insert question marks, quotation marks, exclamation marks and full stops, based on the mood of the
  • Remove the conjunctions like (that, too, if or wh ether) wherever necessary .
  • Where the reporting verb is in the past tense in indirect, change it to present tense in the direct
  • Change the past perfect tense either into the present perfect tense or past tense, as necessary .

Direct and Indirect Speech – Some Exercises

The following are some exercises that students can practice while preparing for their revision tests or board exams.

Q.1.  Find out the correct indirect speech for the given sentence.

She said,’ I have cooked this meal.’

  • She said that she cooked this meal
  • She said that she had cooked that meal.
  • She said that I cooked that meal.
  • She said that she had cooked this meal.

Answer (2) She said that she had cooked that meal.

Q.2.  Choose the correct sentence.

Sanjay said, ‘What a beautiful painting it is’.

  • Sanjay exclaimed wonderfully that the painting was very beautiful.
  • Sanjay exclaimed with wonder that the painting was very beautiful.

Answer (4) Sanjay exclaimed with wonder that the painting was very beautiful.

Q.3. The correct indirect speech for She asked, “What is the cost of these books?”

  • She enquired what was the cost of those books.
  • She inquired what was the cost of these books.
  • She enquired what is the cost of those books.
  • She questioned what was the cost of those books.

Answer (1) She enquired what was the cost of those books.

Q.4. The man said, ‘Oh God! I missed the train today.’

  • The man cried that he missed the train that day.
  • The man exclaimed in grief that he missed the train today.
  • The man said that oh God! he missed that day.
  • The man exclaimed with sorrow that he missed the train that day.

Answer (4) The man exclaimed with sorrow that he missed the train that day.

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Direct and Indirect speech-FAQs

Q1. what are direct and indirect speech in english.

Ans. Direct speech is a speech that describes what a third person has conveyed or quoted in a direct manner. Generally, direct speech is written inside quotation marks ("").Indirect Speech is used when we convey what someone said in our own words without repeating the actual text of that person.

Q2. In which speech conjunctions are used and what is the purpose?

Ans. The conjunctions are used in Indirect speech. The speaker's words and sentences are reframed into our own words in Indirect speech using conjuctions as connecting words.

Q3. What are modals and what is the significance of using modals?

Ans. Modal verbs are those verbs that are preceded by another verb, which is the main verb. Can, May, and Must are some examples of Modals. While converting direct to indirect speech Can becomes could, May becomes Might, Will becomes Would. Modals that won’t change are Could, would, should, ought to, might.

Q4 Give a few examples of direct speech.

Ans: Some examples of direct speech have been discussed here: 1. John said, "I will go to the store." 2. Mary asked, "Are you coming to the party?" 3. "It's a beautiful day," remarked Sarah. 4. He shouted, "Watch out for the car!"

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  • Reported Speech

Reported Speech - Definition, Rules and Usage with Examples

Reported speech or indirect speech is the form of speech used to convey what was said by someone at some point of time. This article will help you with all that you need to know about reported speech, its meaning, definition, how and when to use them along with examples. Furthermore, try out the practice questions given to check how far you have understood the topic.

indirect speech for rules

Table of Contents

Definition of reported speech, rules to be followed when using reported speech, table 1 – change of pronouns, table 2 – change of adverbs of place and adverbs of time, table 3 – change of tense, table 4 – change of modal verbs, tips to practise reported speech, examples of reported speech, check your understanding of reported speech, frequently asked questions on reported speech in english, what is reported speech.

Reported speech is the form in which one can convey a message said by oneself or someone else, mostly in the past. It can also be said to be the third person view of what someone has said. In this form of speech, you need not use quotation marks as you are not quoting the exact words spoken by the speaker, but just conveying the message.

Now, take a look at the following dictionary definitions for a clearer idea of what it is.

Reported speech, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a report of what somebody has said that does not use their exact words.” The Collins Dictionary defines reported speech as “speech which tells you what someone said, but does not use the person’s actual words.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, reported speech is defined as “the act of reporting something that was said, but not using exactly the same words.” The Macmillan Dictionary defines reported speech as “the words that you use to report what someone else has said.”

Reported speech is a little different from direct speech . As it has been discussed already, reported speech is used to tell what someone said and does not use the exact words of the speaker. Take a look at the following rules so that you can make use of reported speech effectively.

  • The first thing you have to keep in mind is that you need not use any quotation marks as you are not using the exact words of the speaker.
  • You can use the following formula to construct a sentence in the reported speech.
  • You can use verbs like said, asked, requested, ordered, complained, exclaimed, screamed, told, etc. If you are just reporting a declarative sentence , you can use verbs like told, said, etc. followed by ‘that’ and end the sentence with a full stop . When you are reporting interrogative sentences, you can use the verbs – enquired, inquired, asked, etc. and remove the question mark . In case you are reporting imperative sentences , you can use verbs like requested, commanded, pleaded, ordered, etc. If you are reporting exclamatory sentences , you can use the verb exclaimed and remove the exclamation mark . Remember that the structure of the sentences also changes accordingly.
  • Furthermore, keep in mind that the sentence structure , tense , pronouns , modal verbs , some specific adverbs of place and adverbs of time change when a sentence is transformed into indirect/reported speech.

Transforming Direct Speech into Reported Speech

As discussed earlier, when transforming a sentence from direct speech into reported speech, you will have to change the pronouns, tense and adverbs of time and place used by the speaker. Let us look at the following tables to see how they work.

Here are some tips you can follow to become a pro in using reported speech.

  • Select a play, a drama or a short story with dialogues and try transforming the sentences in direct speech into reported speech.
  • Write about an incident or speak about a day in your life using reported speech.
  • Develop a story by following prompts or on your own using reported speech.

Given below are a few examples to show you how reported speech can be written. Check them out.

  • Santana said that she would be auditioning for the lead role in Funny Girl.
  • Blaine requested us to help him with the algebraic equations.
  • Karishma asked me if I knew where her car keys were.
  • The judges announced that the Warblers were the winners of the annual acapella competition.
  • Binsha assured that she would reach Bangalore by 8 p.m.
  • Kumar said that he had gone to the doctor the previous day.
  • Lakshmi asked Teena if she would accompany her to the railway station.
  • Jibin told me that he would help me out after lunch.
  • The police ordered everyone to leave from the bus stop immediately.
  • Rahul said that he was drawing a caricature.

Transform the following sentences into reported speech by making the necessary changes.

1. Rachel said, “I have an interview tomorrow.”

2. Mahesh said, “What is he doing?”

3. Sherly said, “My daughter is playing the lead role in the skit.”

4. Dinesh said, “It is a wonderful movie!”

5. Suresh said, “My son is getting married next month.”

6. Preetha said, “Can you please help me with the invitations?”

7. Anna said, “I look forward to meeting you.”

8. The teacher said, “Make sure you complete the homework before tomorrow.”

9. Sylvester said, “I am not going to cry anymore.”

10. Jade said, “My sister is moving to Los Angeles.”

Now, find out if you have answered all of them correctly.

1. Rachel said that she had an interview the next day.

2. Mahesh asked what he was doing.

3. Sherly said that her daughter was playing the lead role in the skit.

4. Dinesh exclaimed that it was a wonderful movie.

5. Suresh said that his son was getting married the following month.

6. Preetha asked if I could help her with the invitations.

7. Anna said that she looked forward to meeting me.

8. The teacher told us to make sure we completed the homework before the next day.

9. Sylvester said that he was not going to cry anymore.

10. Jade said that his sister was moving to Los Angeles.

What is reported speech?

What is the definition of reported speech.

Reported speech, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a report of what somebody has said that does not use their exact words.” The Collins Dictionary defines reported speech as “speech which tells you what someone said, but does not use the person’s actual words.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, reported speech is defined as “the act of reporting something that was said, but not using exactly the same words.” The Macmillan Dictionary defines reported speech as “the words that you use to report what someone else has said.”

What is the formula of reported speech?

You can use the following formula to construct a sentence in the reported speech. Subject said that (report whatever the speaker said)

Give some examples of reported speech.

Given below are a few examples to show you how reported speech can be written.

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Reported Speech – Rules, Examples & Worksheet

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| Candace Osmond

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

They say gossip is a natural part of human life. That’s why language has evolved to develop grammatical rules about the “he said” and “she said” statements. We call them reported speech.

Every time we use reported speech in English, we are talking about something said by someone else in the past. Thinking about it brings me back to high school, when reported speech was the main form of language!

Learn all about the definition, rules, and examples of reported speech as I go over everything. I also included a worksheet at the end of the article so you can test your knowledge of the topic.

What Does Reported Speech Mean?

Grammarist Article Graphic V3 2022 10 25T162134.388

Reported speech is a term we use when telling someone what another person said. You can do this while speaking or writing.

There are two kinds of reported speech you can use: direct speech and indirect speech. I’ll break each down for you.

A direct speech sentence mentions the exact words the other person said. For example:

  • Kryz said, “These are all my necklaces.”

Indirect speech changes the original speaker’s words. For example:

  • Kryz said those were all her necklaces.

When we tell someone what another individual said, we use reporting verbs like told, asked, convinced, persuaded, and said. We also change the first-person figure in the quotation into the third-person speaker.

Reported Speech Examples

We usually talk about the past every time we use reported speech. That’s because the time of speaking is already done. For example:

  • Direct speech: The employer asked me, “Do you have experience with people in the corporate setting?”

Indirect speech: The employer asked me if I had experience with people in the corporate setting.

  • Direct speech: “I’m working on my thesis,” I told James.

Indirect speech: I told James that I was working on my thesis.

Reported Speech Structure

A speech report has two parts: the reporting clause and the reported clause. Read the example below:

  • Harry said, “You need to help me.”

The reporting clause here is William said. Meanwhile, the reported clause is the 2nd clause, which is I need your help.

What are the 4 Types of Reported Speech?

Aside from direct and indirect, reported speech can also be divided into four. The four types of reported speech are similar to the kinds of sentences: imperative, interrogative, exclamatory, and declarative.

Reported Speech Rules

The rules for reported speech can be complex. But with enough practice, you’ll be able to master them all.

Choose Whether to Use That or If

The most common conjunction in reported speech is that. You can say, “My aunt says she’s outside,” or “My aunt says that she’s outside.”

Use if when you’re reporting a yes-no question. For example:

  • Direct speech: “Are you coming with us?”

Indirect speech: She asked if she was coming with them.

Verb Tense Changes

Change the reporting verb into its past form if the statement is irrelevant now. Remember that some of these words are irregular verbs, meaning they don’t follow the typical -d or -ed pattern. For example:

  • Direct speech: I dislike fried chicken.

Reported speech: She said she disliked fried chicken.

Note how the main verb in the reported statement is also in the past tense verb form.

Use the simple present tense in your indirect speech if the initial words remain relevant at the time of reporting. This verb tense also works if the report is something someone would repeat. For example:

  • Slater says they’re opening a restaurant soon.
  • Maya says she likes dogs.

This rule proves that the choice of verb tense is not a black-and-white question. The reporter needs to analyze the context of the action.

Move the tense backward when the reporting verb is in the past tense. That means:

  • Present simple becomes past simple.
  • Present perfect becomes past perfect.
  • Present continuous becomes past continuous.
  • Past simple becomes past perfect.
  • Past continuous becomes past perfect continuous.

Here are some examples:

  • The singer has left the building. (present perfect)

He said that the singers had left the building. (past perfect)

  • Her sister gave her new shows. (past simple)
  • She said that her sister had given her new shoes. (past perfect)

If the original speaker is discussing the future, change the tense of the reporting verb into the past form. There’ll also be a change in the auxiliary verbs.

  • Will or shall becomes would.
  • Will be becomes would be.
  • Will have been becomes would have been.
  • Will have becomes would have.

For example:

  • Direct speech: “I will be there in a moment.”

Indirect speech: She said that she would be there in a moment.

Do not change the verb tenses in indirect speech when the sentence has a time clause. This rule applies when the introductory verb is in the future, present, and present perfect. Here are other conditions where you must not change the tense:

  • If the sentence is a fact or generally true.
  • If the sentence’s verb is in the unreal past (using second or third conditional).
  • If the original speaker reports something right away.
  • Do not change had better, would, used to, could, might, etc.

Changes in Place and Time Reference

Changing the place and time adverb when using indirect speech is essential. For example, now becomes then and today becomes that day. Here are more transformations in adverbs of time and places.

  • This – that.
  • These – those.
  • Now – then.
  • Here – there.
  • Tomorrow – the next/following day.
  • Two weeks ago – two weeks before.
  • Yesterday – the day before.

Here are some examples.

  • Direct speech: “I am baking cookies now.”

Indirect speech: He said he was baking cookies then.

  • Direct speech: “Myra went here yesterday.”

Indirect speech: She said Myra went there the day before.

  • Direct speech: “I will go to the market tomorrow.”

Indirect speech: She said she would go to the market the next day.

Using Modals

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If the direct speech contains a modal verb, make sure to change them accordingly.

  • Will becomes would
  • Can becomes could
  • Shall becomes should or would.
  • Direct speech: “Will you come to the ball with me?”

Indirect speech: He asked if he would come to the ball with me.

  • Direct speech: “Gina can inspect the room tomorrow because she’s free.”

Indirect speech: He said Gina could inspect the room the next day because she’s free.

However, sometimes, the modal verb should does not change grammatically. For example:

  • Direct speech: “He should go to the park.”

Indirect speech: She said that he should go to the park.

Imperative Sentences

To change an imperative sentence into a reported indirect sentence, use to for imperative and not to for negative sentences. Never use the word that in your indirect speech. Another rule is to remove the word please . Instead, say request or say. For example:

  • “Please don’t interrupt the event,” said the host.

The host requested them not to interrupt the event.

  • Jonah told her, “Be careful.”
  • Jonah ordered her to be careful.

Reported Questions

When reporting a direct question, I would use verbs like inquire, wonder, ask, etc. Remember that we don’t use a question mark or exclamation mark for reports of questions. Below is an example I made of how to change question forms.

  • Incorrect: He asked me where I live?

Correct: He asked me where I live.

Here’s another example. The first sentence uses direct speech in a present simple question form, while the second is the reported speech.

  • Where do you live?

She asked me where I live.

Wrapping Up Reported Speech

My guide has shown you an explanation of reported statements in English. Do you have a better grasp on how to use it now?

Reported speech refers to something that someone else said. It contains a subject, reporting verb, and a reported cause.

Don’t forget my rules for using reported speech. Practice the correct verb tense, modal verbs, time expressions, and place references.

Grammarist is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

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COMMENTS

  1. Direct and Indirect Speech: Useful Rules and Examples

    Differences between Direct and Indirect Speech. Change of Pronouns. Change of Tenses. Change of Time and Place References. Converting Direct Speech Into Indirect Speech. Step 1: Remove the Quotation Marks. Step 2: Use a Reporting Verb and a Linker. Step 3: Change the Tense of the Verb. Step 4: Change the Pronouns.

  2. Indirect Speech Definition and Examples

    In nonfiction writing or journalism, direct speech can emphasize a particular point, by using a source's exact words. Indirect speech is paraphrasing what someone said or wrote. In writing, it functions to move a piece along by boiling down points that an interview source made. Unlike direct speech, indirect speech is not usually placed inside ...

  3. Indirect Speech: Formula And Rules

    In direct speech, the speaker most often speaks in the first person. That is, the speaker speaks from his person. John will not talk about himself: John is a good boy. John will say it on his behalf: I am a good boy. But when we retell the words of John (indirect speech), we cannot speak on his behalf.

  4. Reported Speech in English Grammar

    Introduction. In English grammar, we use reported speech to say what another person has said. We can use their exact words with quotation marks, this is known as direct speech, or we can use indirect speech.In indirect speech, we change the tense and pronouns to show that some time has passed.Indirect speech is often introduced by a reporting verb or phrase such as ones below.

  5. Indirect speech

    What is indirect speech or reported speech? When we tell people what another person said or thought, we often use reported speech or indirect speech. To do that, we need to change verb tenses (present, past, etc.) and pronouns (I, you, my, your, etc.) if the time and speaker are different.For example, present tenses become past, I becomes he or she, and my becomes his or her, etc.

  6. Reported Speech

    Watch my reported speech video: Here's how it works: We use a 'reporting verb' like 'say' or 'tell'. ( Click here for more about using 'say' and 'tell' .) If this verb is in the present tense, it's easy. We just put 'she says' and then the sentence: Direct speech: I like ice cream. Reported speech: She says (that) she likes ice cream.

  7. Direct AND Indirect Speech Rules AND Examples

    If the end of the sentence falls at the end of the spoken words, a full stop (question mark or exclamation mark) is placed inside the closing quotation mark. (example 2) Anne said, "I love dogs.". If the direct speech is broken up by a reporting clause, a comma is placed inside the first closing speech mark, as already seen in example 1 ...

  8. Indirect speech

    In linguistics, speech or indirect discourse is a grammatical mechanism for reporting the content of another utterance without directly quoting it. ... A dependent clause in the indicative is put into the subjunctive if it is changed to indirect speech. Almost all the rules stated above hold for indirect questions:

  9. Reported speech

    Reported speech - English Grammar Today - a reference to written and spoken English grammar and usage - Cambridge Dictionary

  10. Direct and Indirect Speech • 7ESL

    Converting Direct to Indirect Speech. Now, let us specify the rules in converting direct speech to indirect speech. Here are the steps on how to do so: 1. Eliminate the quotation marks that enclose the relayed text. The quotation marks are the primary indication of a direct speech. Therefore, it is crucial to take them out if you are forming an ...

  11. Direct and Indirect Speech Rules and Examples

    Some basic rules for converting direct speech into indirect speech: Rule 1: "No inverted commas." The reported speech does not come into inverted commas or quotation in an indirect speech. Example: Direct: He said, "I have completed my assignments yesterday." Indirect: He said that he had completed his assignments the previous day.

  12. Direct And Indirect Speech Complete Rules

    Use 'not to' if the sentence begins without Don't.4. Don't use 'that'5. Omit the word 'please'. Use the word 'request' instead of 'say'.6. If the direct speech contains a request or a command, the reporting verb (say, said) change to tell, request, order, command etc. in its correct tense. 7.

  13. Direct To Indirect Speech: Complete Rules With Examples

    Direct speech: Sheila said, "I am meeting my brother tomorrow.". Indirect speech: Sheila said that she was meeting her brother the following day. Here are a few examples of other typical time expressions and how they change: Direct Speech. Indirect Speech. Yesterday. The day before. Now.

  14. Direct and Indirect Speech

    Cha nges in pronoun s. The changes in pronouns in indirect speech depends on the subject and the object of the reporting verb. Rule 1: The first person of reported speech changes based on the subject of the reporting verb. Example: She said, "I watched a movie" can be converted into She said that she had watched a movie.Hence, the first person in the direct speech "I" has become "she ...

  15. Reported Speech: Important Grammar Rules and Examples • 7ESL

    Reported speech: He asked if he would see me later. In the direct speech example you can see the modal verb 'will' being used to ask a question. Notice how in reported speech the modal verb 'will' and the reporting verb 'ask' are both written in the past tense. So, 'will' becomes 'would' and 'ask' becomes 'asked'.

  16. 17 Direct and Indirect Speech Rules for Conversion

    Direct and Indirect Speech Rules: (Modifying Words - Time, Place, Manner) Adding modifying words or phrases can alter the meaning of the reported speech: Rule 15: Reporting with Adverbs of Time. When using adverbs of time in indirect speech, adjust them to match the new timeframe. Example: Direct: "I will come tomorrow," she said.

  17. English Grammar Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

    Direct and Indirect speech Examples for Tense. 1. Simple Present to Simple Past. Direct: He said, "The boy goes home.". Indirect: He said that the boy went home. 2. Present Continuous to Past Continuous. Direct: Ram said, "I am reading a book.". Indirect: Ram said that he was reading a book.

  18. Rules For Direct And Indirect Speech For Competitive Exams

    Rule 1 - Direct To Indirect Speech Conversion - Reporting Verb. When the reporting verb of direct speech is in past tense then all the present tenses are changed to the corresponding past tense in indirect speech. Direct to indirect speech example: Direct: She said, 'I am happy'. Indirect: She said (that) she was happy.

  19. Direct and Indirect speech, Rules, Chart and Exercises

    Rule 8: Direct to indirect speech conversion - punctuations. In Direct speech, the words spoken must start with (") and ends with (.) inside the double inverted commas. All symbols such as question marks, full stops or exclamatory marks should be placed inside the quotes. Examples:

  20. Reported Speech

    Reported speech is the form in which one can convey a message said by oneself or someone else, mostly in the past. It can also be said to be the third person view of what someone has said. In this form of speech, you need not use quotation marks as you are not quoting the exact words spoken by the speaker, but just conveying the message. Q2.

  21. Reported Speech

    To change an imperative sentence into a reported indirect sentence, use to for imperative and not to for negative sentences. Never use the word that in your indirect speech. Another rule is to remove the word please. Instead, say request or say. For example: "Please don't interrupt the event," said the host.