Categories: English Grammar

Direct and Indirect Speech, Definition and Rules Chart PDF

Direct and Indirect Speech- Definition

Direct and Indirect Speech: For some children, the difference between direct and indirect speech can be difficult. In order to explain an event or action, we frequently need to quote someone. This article will clear all your doubts regarding Direct and Indirect Speech. Direct Speech and Indirect Speech are the two types of speech that are used to explain what other people say (or reported Speech).

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Direct Speech

The exact same words are quoted using direct speech. When writing in direct speech, we enclose the said words in quotation marks (“”) and leave them alone. We might be writing in inverted commas what is being said (for instance, during a phone call) or subsequently enquiring about a past conversation.

For examples:

  • Rohan said,  “There is a dog inside the house.”
  • They said, “We will go to the party.”
  • She said, “I don’t know.”

Indirect Speech

We use indirect speech when we don’t use the exact copy of the speaker’s words. In simple words, we can say that in indirect speech we convey what someone has said but in our own words. No inverted commas will be used in indirect speech. Instead of commas ‘that’ conjunction will be used.

For examples:

  • Rohan said,  “There is a dog inside the house.” (Direct Speech)
  • Rohan said that there was a dog inside the house. (Indirect Speech)
  • They said, “We will go to the party.” (Direct Speech)
  • They said that they would go to the party. (Indirect Speech)
  • She said, “I don’t know.” (Direct Speech)
  • She said that she didn’t know. (Indirect Speech)

Direct and Indirect Speech- Rules

Rules that must be followed while using direct and indirect speech are given below. Follow and practice these rules to change direct speech into indirect speech.
Before learning the rules you need to know these two parts of direct speech.

Reporting Verb: Direct speech has two parts, the first part of the sentence is known as reporting verb as it tells about the person who is speaking (Rohan said, He says, etc.).

For Examples:

  1. He says, “I have done my work”.
  2. The teacher says, “The Earth is round.”

In the above two sentences, the first part is reporting verbs. In the first sentence,  ‘He says’ is reporting verb and in the second sentence, ‘The teacher says’ is reporting verb.

Reported Speech: The second part of the sentence or the words which is actually said by the speaker is known as reported speech.

For Examples:

  1. He says, “I have done my work”.
  2. The teacher says, “The Earth is round.”

In the above two sentences, the second part is reported speech which is enclosed in inverted commas. In the first sentence,  ‘I have done my work’ is reported speech and in the second sentence, ‘The Earth is round’ is reported speech.

All Direct Indirect Speech Rules

Rule 1. Remove inverted commas and use ‘that’: While changing direct speech into indirect speech, remove inverted commas and use that instead of commas.

Direct to Indirect speech Example:

  • Rahul says, “There are eight planets.” (Direct Speech)
  • Rahul says that there are eight planets. (Indirect Speech)

As in the above sentence inverted commas are removed in indirect speech and the conjunction ‘that’ is also used.

Note:- In indirect speech, tense does not change:

  1. If the reported speech (the part of the sentence which is inside inverted commas) is habitual action or universal truth.
  2. If the reporting verb is in the present tense then the tense will not be changed.

For examples:

  1. My teacher says, “The earth is round.”

In the above sentence, reporting verb is in the present tense so it will not change into the past and reported speech is also a universal truth that can not be changed.

Rule 2. Change in tense: When the reporting verb is in the past tense then reported speech will be changed into past tense in indirect speech.

Direct to Indirect speech Example:

  • She said, “I will go.” (Direct Speech)
  • She said that she would go. (Indirect Speech)

As, in the above sentence reporting verb is in the past tense so we have converted reported speech into past tense in indirect speech i.e, will-would.

Read the following table to learn the conversion of tenses

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Simple Present Simple Past
Present Continuous Past Continuous
Present Perfect Past Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous Past Perfect Continuous
Simple Past Past Perfect
Past Continuous Past Perfect Continuous
Will Would
May Might
Can Could
Shall Should

Rule 3. Change in Pronoun: The pronoun or subject of the reported speech is changed according to the subject or the pronoun of the reporting verb (first part) of the sentence. The possessive pronouns (his, hers, mine) are also changed sometimes according to the personal or object pronoun.

Direct to Indirect speech Example

  • He said, “I eat an apple.” (Direct Speech)
  • He said that he ate an apple. (Indirect Speech)

In the above example ‘I’ is changed into ‘he’ according to the reporting verb (first part) and the tense is also changed because reporting verb (first part) is in the past tense.

Rule 4. Change in Time: If the word related to time is given in the sentence then it will be changed in indirect speech. Some rules must be followed while doing this and those are given in the following table.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Today That day
Tomorrow Next day or the following day
Yesterday Previous day
Now Then
Tonight That night
Yesterday night Previous night
Tomorrow night Following night
Here There

Rule 5. Interrogative sentences: No conjunction is used, if a sentence in direct speech starts with a question word (what/where/when)
as the “question-word” itself acts as conjunction.

Direct to Indirect speech Example

  • “Where are you going?” asked the boy. (Direct Speech)
  • The boy asked where I was going. (Indirect Speech)

Note: While changing the interrogative sentence into indirect speech remove the question mark ‘?’.

Rule 6. Yes/No Interrogative sentences: If a direct speech sentence starts with an auxiliary verb/helping verb, the joining clause will be changed into if or whether.

Direct to Indirect speech Example:

  • He asked me “Do you come with me?” (Direct Speech)
  • He enquired whether/if I am coming with him. (Indirect Speech)

Note: While changing the interrogative sentence reporting verbs (verbs used in the first part) such as ‘said/ said to’ changes to enquired, asked, or demanded.

Rule 7. Request, Command, Wished, Enquired: Some verbs, such as requested, ordered, urged, and advised, are used in indirect speech. For the negative statements, the word forbidden is used. As a result, in indirect communication, the imperative mood that is present in direct speech is replaced by the infinitive word.

Direct to Indirect speech Example

  • She said to her, “Please do this work.” (Direct Speech)
  • She requested her to complete that work. (Indirect Speech)

Rule 8. Exclamatory Sentence: Interjections words are removed from exclamatory sentences that express (grief, sorrow, delight, or applaud) and the sentence is transformed into an assertive sentence.

Direct to Indirect speech Example

  • Students said, “Hurrah! India has won the match.”(Direct Speech)
  • Students exclaimed with joy that India had won the match.(Indirect Speech)

Direct to Indirect speech- Chart

Direct to Indirect speech Rules Chart PDF

Click here to download Direct Indirect Speech Rules PDF

Direct to Indirect speech- Rules Explanation

Watch the video to understand direct and indirect speech in a better way.

Direct and Indirect Speech- FAQs

Que. What are direct and indirect speech with examples?

Ans. Direct Speech and Indirect Speech are the two types of speech that are used to explain what other people say (or reported Speech).

Que. What are the three rules of direct and indirect speech?

Ans. The common three rules of direct and indirect speech are:
a) Remove inverted commas and use ‘that’.
b) Change in tense.
c) Change in Pronoun.

Que. How can I learn direct and indirect speech?

Ans. Read and learn all the rules while changing direct speech into indirect speech and practice it on daily basis.

Que. What are the 4 types of reported speech?

Ans. The four types of reported speech can be Assertive/Declarative, Imperative, Interrogative, and Exclamatory.

Que. What are the two parts of direct speech?

Ans. The two parts of direct speech are reporting verb and reported speech.

 

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