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Narration Rules Chart with Examples in English Grammar


As the title suggests, the narration is the act of telling someone else what one has heard. The sentence structure varies depending on the narration chart or method of speaking. It can be spoken directly, which is known as direct speech, or indirectly, which is known as reported speech. An excellent strategy to understand this area of English grammar is to use the narrative rules and the direct and indirect speaking rules.

Narration Rules

Let’s take a look at simple narration rules that will make it easier for us to comprehend the guidelines for changing one type to the other. This chart’s fundamental feature is that it calls for comprehension of the Subject noun, pronoun, reporting verb, speech clause, and conjunction.

Narration Change Rules 1: The first rule is to select a reporting verb and time frame or tense in the sentence.

  • What time did the speech take place? The reporting verb is in the present tense when dealing with current, repeated, or recent events. “He says he’s hungry, so let’s grab a bite to eat.”

  • Choose the past tense for recounting a less recent speech. Depending on the situation, the reporting verb can also be told, or other verbs such as ordered, stated, or reported. You can use verbs like asked or requested when reporting queries.

Narration Change Rules 2. The second rule is to alter your point of view.

That is, I transform into he, she, or they. Karan said, “I drank the orange juice.” becomes, “Karan said that he drank the orange juice.”

The girls said, “We are going tomorrow.’’ becomes, “They said they are going tomorrow.”

Narration Change Rules 3. Decide whether or not to use “if” or “that.”

It’s a choice when reporting on a question, another conjunction, if, is required or not.

She asked, ”Do you know how to play tennis.”

 “She asked me if I knew how to play tennis.”

Narration Change Rules 4. Move the tense Backward, if the sentence is in the present tense, then the Reporting verb will be in the past tense.

Example: Karina said, “I have repaired my bicycle.”

Karina said she had repaired her bicycle.

Narration in Grammar

Reported speech, also known as indirect speech, is a way of reporting what someone else has said. Unlike direct speech, where the original speaker’s exact words are quoted and usually placed within quotation marks, reported speech involves paraphrasing what was said and usually does not require quotation marks. The tense, pronouns, and other elements often change to match the perspective of the person reporting the speech.

Here are some key aspects of reported speech:

  1. Tense Shifts: Often, the tense of the verbs in reported speech is shifted back one step compared to the tense used in direct speech. For example:
    • Direct: He said, “I am tired.”
    • Reported: He said that he was tired.
  2. Pronoun Changes: Pronouns are often changed to match the perspective of the reporter. For example:
    • Direct: She said, “I will go to the store.”
    • Reported: She said that she would go to the store.
  3. Time and Place Adjustments: Words referring to time and place are often adjusted to make sense from the perspective of the reporter. For example:
    • Direct: He said, “I’ll see you here tomorrow.”
    • Reported: He said that he would see me there the next day.
  4. Modals and Other Changes: Modal verbs like ‘can’, ‘will’, ‘may’, ‘must’, etc., are often changed in reported speech. For example:
    • Direct: “I can swim,” she said.
    • Reported: She said that she could swim.
  5. Questions in Reported Speech: When reporting questions, the structure of the sentence changes to a statement format, and the tense may change as well. For example:
    • Direct: He asked, “Are you coming?”
    • Reported: He asked if I was coming.
  6. Reporting Verbs: Different verbs can be used for reporting speech, such as ‘say’, ‘tell’, ‘ask’, ‘claim’, ‘advise’, ‘suggest’, depending on the nature of what is being reported.

Reported speech is widely used in both written and spoken English, especially in journalistic writing, storytelling, and everyday conversation when recounting what others have said. Understanding and using reported speech correctly is an important part of mastering English grammar and communication.

Creating a chart that summarizes the rules of narration (or reported speech) can be incredibly helpful for understanding how to convert direct speech into indirect speech. Here’s an overview of the key rules:

Narration Rules Chart

Narration Rules Chart is given below here. It will help Student in understand all the narration Rules.

Aspect Direct Speech Indirect Speech (Reported Speech)
Tenses Present tense verbs often change to the past tense. – Present Simple to Past Simple

– Present Continuous to Past Continuous

– Present Perfect to Past Perfect

– Will to Would

Pronouns First and second person pronouns often change to third person. “I”, “we” may change to “he”, “she”, “they” depending on the context.
Time and Place Words indicating time and place are changed to suit the time and place of reporting. – “Now” to “then”

– “Today” to “that day”

– “Tomorrow” to “the next day”/”the following day”

– “Yesterday” to “the day before”/”the previous day”

– “Here” to “there”

Questions Question structure is changed to a statement format. Use “if” or “whether” for yes/no questions. Question words (who, what, when, etc.) are kept.
Commands and Requests Imperative sentences are changed to infinitive form. Use verbs like “asked” or “told” followed by “to” + verb.
Exclamations and Wishes Exclamatory sentences are changed to statement form. Use expressions like “exclaimed that”, “wished that”, etc.
Modals Modal verbs can change. – “Can” to “could”

– “Will” to “would”

– “May” to “might”

Reporting Verbs Say, ask, exclaim and other verbs are adjusted based on the type of speech. The tense of the reporting verb may change based on the overall sentence tense.

Narration Change Rules for Tense in English Grammar

The following table shows all the narration rules which shows you the change of tenses:

Simple Present to Simple Past
Present Continuous to Past Continuous
Present Perfect to Past Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous to Past Perfect Continuous
Past Indefinite/Simple to Past Perfect
Past Continuous to Past Perfect Continuous
Future Tense (will/shall) to Future in Past (would/should)
Past Perfect Tense: No change

Narration Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  1. The reporting verb said/ said to will be changed into asked/ enquired/ demanded/ ordered as per the nature of the sentence.
  2. If a sentence starts with reporting verb then at the conversion time if/whether will be used.
  3. In case of the sentence starts from ‘wh’ question word then question word will be considered as the conjunction.

Narration Rules with Time and Place Words Table

Now Then
Today That day
Here There
This That
This week That week
Tomorrow The following day/ Next day
Next week Following week
Yesterday The previous day
Last week The previous week
Ago Previously/ Before
Tonight That night
Narration Rules for Pronouns Table
The following tables shows the changing of pronouns while changing the speech
I He/She
You He/She/They
We They
They They
He He
She She
It It
Us Them
Our Their
His His
Her Her
Its Its

Narration Rules for Universal Truth

These are te following narration rules that will be implied for universal truth or habitual actions

  1. If the reported speech states some universal truth, proverbs, historical events in the past then the present tense used in the sentence will not change into corresponding past tense.
  2. The Past Indefinite Tense or the Past Continuous Tense is not changed if the Reported Speech states two actions which took place at the same time.
  3. The Simple Past is not changed if the Reported Speech states a past historical event or fact.
  4. Vocative and nominative of address are omitted altogether and their sense is expressed in the sentence.
  5. Past tense subjunctive after would like, would rather, etc. do not change.
  6. Pure imaginary conditions (if …. were clauses) do not change.
  7. Simple Past or Past Continuous tense in Time Clauses do not normally change. The main verb may either remain unchanged or may become the past perfect.

Narration Rules Examples

Narration, in English grammar, refers to the way in which we report what someone has said. It involves two primary types: direct and indirect (reported) speech. Here are examples of each, demonstrating how the same information can be conveyed differently:

Direct Speech

Direct speech gives the exact words spoken by the person, enclosed in quotation marks.

  1. Statement:
    • Direct: John said, “I am going to the store.”
  2. Question:
    • Direct: She asked, “Do you like chocolate?”
  3. Command or Request:
    • Direct: The teacher said, “Please open your books to page 20.”
  4. Exclamation:
    • Direct: He exclaimed, “What a wonderful surprise!”

Indirect (Reported) Speech

Indirect speech paraphrases what someone said without quoting them exactly, often involving changes in tense, pronouns, and time/place words.

  1. Statement:
    • Indirect: John said that he was going to the store.
  2. Question:
    • Indirect: She asked if I liked chocolate.
      • Note: The question form is changed to a statement form.
  3. Command or Request:
    • Indirect: The teacher asked us to open our books to page 20.
      • Note: The imperative form is often changed to the infinitive form (‘to’ + verb).
  4. Exclamation:
    • Indirect: He exclaimed that it was a wonderful surprise.

These examples illustrate the differences in structure and wording between direct and indirect speech. The key in indirect speech is to maintain the original meaning while adjusting the grammatical structure and pronouns as needed to fit the context of the reporting.

Examples of Narration Rules

  • Direct Speech: Shabab says, “I eat an egg a day.”
  • Indirect Speech: Shabab says that he eats an egg a day.
  • Direct Speech: Matin said, “I bought the book yesterday.”
  • Indirect Speech: Matin said that he had bought the book the previous day. (Here, “yesterday” is converted into “the previous day”. It can also be written as “the day before”.)
  • Direct Speech: Samantha said, “I shall leave for London tomorrow.”
  • Indirect Speech: Samantha said that she would leave for London the next day. (You can also use “the following day” for replacing “tomorrow” in indirect speech.)
  • Direct Speech: They said, “We have watched the movie already.”
  • Indirect Speech: They said that they had watched the movie already.

Narration Rules Exercise in English Grammar

Here are some questions to solve for narration.

  1. She said to me ,” I like you very much.”
  2. I said to her,” Why do you like me ?”
  3. Rudra said to Kinjal,” Are you stupid ?”
  4. Kinjal said to her father,” Bring me a car.”
  5. John said to me ,” Do you know where he is ?”
  6. She said,” What a tall boy you are !”
  7. The students said,” Alas ! We are fail again.”
  8. Kinjal said ,” Hurrah ! I have won the scholarship “
  9. The teacher says,” Rose smells sweet .”
  10. I said to him,” When I went there, he was sleeping.”
  11. She said to me,” I had been waiting for you for two hours.”
  12. I said,” Well, you have completed this task.”
  13. Jessy said to Harley,” May I borrow your book?”
  14. I said to my teacher,” Good morning, sir.”
  15. Mona said to me,” You know me, don’t you?

Solution to these questions

  1. She told me that she liked me very much.
  2. I asked her why she liked me.
  3. Rudra asked Kinjal if she was stupid.
  4. Kinjal asked her father to bring her a car.
  5. John asked me if I knew where he was.
  6. She exclaimed with wonder that you were a very tall boy. or she exclaimed with surprise that I was a very tall boy. ( Note – ‘You’ pronoun can be changed either in you or I or He/ She because the reporter ‘she’ can talk to anybody.)
  7. The students exclaimed with sorrow that they were fail again.
  8. Kinjal exclaimed with joy that she had won the scholarship.
  9. The teacher says that Rose smells sweet. ( General Truth, No Change of Tense in the Reported Speech )
  10. I told him that when I went there, he was sleeping. ( Note – If in both the parts of a sentence, there are sentences of past tense, we don’t change them. )
  11. She told me that she had been waiting for you for two hours.
  12. I said that you/he/she had completed that task.
  13. Jessy asked Harley If she might borrow his book.
  14. I wished good morning to my sir or I wished my sir good morning.
  15. Mona asked me If I knew her.

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What is narration in English grammar?

The narration is the act of telling someone else what one has heard.

What is the formula of narration?

After the reporting verb, if there is no object, the subject shall remain as is. When a sentence contains an object after the reporting verb, the word "say" is transformed to "tell," "says," and "told."

How many types are there in narration?

The types of narration stem from three different points of view: First person perspective. Second person perspective. Third person perspective.


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