DIRECT and INDIRECT SPEECH

direct-indirect-speech-1-728What is DIRECT SPEECH?

Consider the following sentence:

Rina said: “I don’t understand indirect speech. I need explanation about this lesson.”

The given sentence is in direct speech:

– The exact words of the speaker have been put within quotation marks ( ” ” )

– There is a colon ( : ) after ‘said’.

– The first word inside the quotation marks ( ” ” ) starts with a capital letter.

What is an INDIRECT SPEECH then?

Let’s take a look at the following sentence:

Rina said (that) she didn’t understand indirect speech. She needed explanation about that lesson.

In  Indirect speech:

– The quotation marks as well as the colon after said are removed.

– The conjunction ‘that’ introduces to us the words (not exact) spoken by the speaker. However, the latest trend is to drop ‘that’

RULES FOR CHANGING DIRECT INTO INDIRECT SPEECH:

Get one thing straight – you do not have to learn the rules by heart. Simply understand what they ask you to do and apply the same in converting a sentence from direct to indirect.

RULE 1

If in direct speech you find say/says or will say then DO NOT CHANGE THE TENSE that you can find within the quotation marks

EXAMPLES:

Direct   : He says, ”I was a fool then.”

Indirect: He says  he was a fool then.

Direct   : She says, ”I will be more experienced then.”

Indirect: She says  she will be more experienced then.

RULE 2

If in direct speech the words within the quotation marks talk of a universal truth or habitual action then RULE ONE  is followed or in other words the tense inside the quotation marks is not changed at all.

Example:

Direct   : The teacher said, ”The sun rises in the east.”

Indirect: The teacher said  the sun rises in the east.

RULE 3

If there is ‘said’ in the direct speech then the  tense of the words inside quotation marks is changed to the past tense.

Example:

Direct   : I said, ”I am studying grammar.”

Indirect: I said  I was studying grammar.

Help List 1:

Words indicating nearness are changed into words showing distance

• Here –> there

• This –> that

• These –> those

• Today –> that day

• Tonight –> that night

• tomorrow –> the next/following day

• yesterday –> the previous day

• the next week –> the following week

• now –> then

Help List 2:

The following changes in the tense need to be considered

• Is/am –> was

• Are –> were

• Is (sleeping) –> was (sleeping)

• Are (sleeping) –> were (sleeping)

• Has/have killed –> had killed

• Was/were laughing –> had been laughing

• Can –> could; will –> would; shall –> should; may –>might

• Did –> had done

Examples:

Direct   : I said, ”My mother cooks well.”

Indirect: I said  my mother cooked well.

Direct   : She said, “I am reading a whodunit now.”

Indirect: She said she was reading a whodunit then.

Direct   : He said, “I killed a spider.”

Indirect: He said he had killed a spider.

Direct   : We said , “They have done their job.”

Indirect: We said they had done their job.

Direct   : He said , ”She will do this task quickly.”

Indirect: He said she would do that task quickly.

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