Direct and Indirect Speech

A person can express his words in two different ways. The actual words spoken when quoted and put in inverted commas are called Direct speech.

For Example: - The man said,” I am very poor.”

When the same speech is expressed without using exact words are called Indirect speech.

For Example: - The man said that he was very poor.

Rules for changing Direct Speech to Indirect Speech

  a) If the Reporting verb is in Past tense, then all the Present Tenses in the sentence will change into respective  Past Tenses.

  1. A simple present tense becomes simple past tense.

Direct:           He said, “I am very poor.”

Indirect:        He said that he was very poor.

  1. A present continuous tense become past continuous tense

Direct:           He said, “The child is playing with the ball.”

Indirect:        He said that the child was playing with the ball.

  1. A present perfect tense becomes past perfect tense.

Direct:           He said, “I have received a prize.”

Indirect:        He said that he had received a prize.

  1. Shall and will of the Future Tense becomes Should and would respectively

Direct:           He said, “I will write a novel.”

Indirect:        He said that he would write a novel.

Direct:           He said, “It shall rain tomorrow.”

Indirect:        He said that it should rain the next day.

  1. A simple past in the Direct tense becomes past perfect in the Indirect.

Direct:           He said, “I borrowed a book.”

Indirect:        He said that he had borrowed a book.

    b) If the reporting verb is in present tense, then the tenses in the Direct Speech do not change

Direct:           He says, “I am very poor.”

Indirect:        He says that he is very poor.

Direct:           He says, “The child is playing with the ball.”

Indirect:        He says that the child is playing with the ball.

Direct:           He says, “I have received a prize.”

Indirect:        He says that he has received a prize.

   c) The Pronouns of the Direct are changed in Indirect speech.

Direct:           He said to me,” I can’t talk to you.”

Indirect:        He said he couldn’t talk to me.”

Direct:           She said to him,” I can’t talk to you.”

Indirect:        She said she couldn’t talk to him.

 

Direct:           I said to him,” I can’t talk to you.”

Indirect:        I said I couldn’t talk to him.

 

Direct:           I said to you,” I can’t talk to you.”

Indirect:        I said I couldn’t talk to you.

   d) Words expressing the time of action and places also changes in Indirect speech.

                 Now               becomes                   then

                Here               “                                  there

                Ago                “                                  before

               Thus               “                                  so

              Today            “                                  that day

             Tomorrow    “                                  the next day

            Yesterday     “                                  the day before

            Last night     “                                  the night before

  e) In the Direct speech, if there are any questions, then Indirect speech, we use, asked, enquired, questioned etc.

Direct:           “Where do you live?” asked the stranger.

Indirect:        The stranger enquired where I live.

Direct:           “What are you eating?” said he.

Indirect:        He asked me what I was eating.

  f) In the Direct speech, if there are any commands or requests, then we use words like commanded, ordered,   shouted, requested, pleaded, urged etc. in Indirect speech.

Direct:           John said to Steve,” Read quickly.”

Indirect:        John ordered Steve to read quickly.

Direct:           He said to him,” Please sit here.”

Indirect:        He requested him to sit there.

  g) In the Direct speech, if there are exclamations and wishes, then we use words like exclaimed, wished, appreciated, applauded etc. in Indirect speech.

Direct:           He said,” Alas! We lost the match.”

Indirect:        He exclaimed sadly that they had lost the match.

Direct:           He said,” You have done well!”

Indirect:        He appreciated him, saying that he had done well.

 

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