Last updated : 22 Dec 2013.


DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH

We can express or report in tow different ways, what is told by a person. They are ‘Direct Speech’ and ‘Indirect Speech’.

1. Direct Speech:

What people actually say is called Direct Speech.
They are Direct quotations.

  • Michel said, “I am a fool”.

Note: The punctuation marks in the Direct speech.
A comma after the reporting verb, the actual words are placed betwen quotation marks, and the quotaion begins with a captical letter.

2. Indirect Speech :

The Indirect speech is what someone said is reported. It is otherwise called Reported Speech.
e.g.

  • Michel said, “I am a fool”. (Direct Speech)
  • Michel told that he was a fool. (Indirect Speech)

Note: The first part of the sentence ‘Michal said’ is called the Reporting Sentence and the verb ‘said’ in the reporting sentence is said to be Reporting Verb.
The second part of the sentence “I am a fool” is called the Reported Sentence and the verb ‘am’ in the reported sentence is said to be Reported Verb.

Study the following sentences :

  1. a) Monica said, “I am a housewife”.
    b) Monika told that she was a housewife.
  2. a) Sachin said to me, “You are my best friend”.
    b) Sachin told me that I was his best friend.
  3. a) Nurse said to Sachin, “You can meet the doctor here”
    b) Nurse told Sachin that he could meet the doctor here.

Note the changes in the Reported Speech.

The Reporting verb ‘said’ is changed into ‘told’. The conjunction ‘that’ joins the Reporting Sentence and the Reported Sentence.
The tense fo this Reported verb is changed. This sort of change is possible only when the Reporting verb is in the past tense.
The person in the Reported sentence is also changed. This change depends on the person that the noun or pronoun refers to.
The adverb ‘here’ is changed into ‘there’.

So, in the transformation of sentence from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech, the following items are changes

  • the reporting verb
  • the tense form of the reported verb
  • the person in the reported sentence
  • the adverb (of time and place) in the reported sentence.

Read the following imperative sentences and study the changes in the Indirect speech:

  1. a) The teacher said to David, “Post this letter”.
    b) The techer ordered David to post that letter.
  2. a) The father said to his son, “Wash your clothes”.
    b) The father asked his son to wash his clothes.
  3. a) Monika said to his father, “Please give me ten dollors”.
    b) Monika requested his father to give her ten dollors.

Note : First, the Reporting verb is changed into ‘ordered’ or ‘requested’ or ‘asked’ according to the mood (meaning) of the words reported. Regarding the structure of the sentence, the imperative sentence is changed into only an infinitve phrase.

Note the following points :

When the reporting verb is in the past tense, the tense of the verb, adverbs and demonstratives in the rported sentence are changed as follows :

TensesPresentPast
 PastPast perfect
Helping verbsWillWould
 CanCould
Adverbstodaythat day
 tomorrowthe next day
 yesterdaythe day before
 nowthen
 herethere
Demonstrativesthisthat
 thesethose
 

Exercise

Rewrite following sentences into Reported Speech :

  1. Cena said, “I will be at London on Friday”.
  2. Monica said to him, “Get me a new watch please”.
  3. Dhoni said to his father, “I want a pen now”
  4. His mother said, “I will buy one this evening”.
  5. The manager said to me, “You are appointed”.
  6. Mohan said, “I am ill”.
  7. Jack said, “I finished the work”.
  8. My friend said to me, “Wait a minute”.
  9. The teacher said, “Boys; stop talking”.
  10. They said, “We painted these pictures”.
 

Exercise

Rewrite following sentences into Direct Speech :

  1. She told that he was smiling.
  2. Monika told that she would phone up to her grandfather the next day.
  3. Cena told that David was eating.
  4. Antony requested his father to take him to the temple then.
  5. The boy told that the doctor would come there.
  6. I told my mother that I had some homework.
  7. My mother asked me to go and buy some vegetables.
  8. The doctor asked the patient to open his mouth.
  9. The girl told that she was dancing.
  10. Her sister told that she wanted to learn dancing.
  11. He told me that I looked very tried.