Reported Speech | Direct and Indirect Speech

reported speech direct and indirect speech change into indirect speech reported speech rules
Reported speech or indirect speech is a way of expressing what the other person (speaker) has said directly in the form of statements, questions, or greeting others by changing the format of the talks so that it becomes more clear, natural, and efficient for the listener , Logically, a transmitter of news does not report exactly every word uttered by someone. Direct speech is converted into Reported speech may be a statement (statement), imperative [command (command), invitation (invitation), request (demand)], yes/no question (questions), as well as information question (the question of information).
o Direct Speech is the spoken sentence directly from the speaker. Direct speech is a way to report what people have said or written, in the form of statements, questions, or other speech, quoting the exact words.

Reported Speech | Direct and Indirect speech

Direct Speech is the spoken sentence directly from the speaker. Direct speech is a way to report what people have said or written, in the form of statements, questions, or other speech, quoting the exact words.
Example :

  • John Said, “I am so happy”.
  • They Said, “We have watched the football match”.

Direct Speech

The message of the speaker is conveyed or reported in his own actual words without any change.

Example: David said, “I am very busy now.”

At time we put the statement of a speaker without any changes. This is called Direct Speech. But, at times we put the statement of a speaker with some changes. This is called Indirect Speech. In Direct Speech we keep the statement within inverted (‘…’), but inverted commas are not used in Indirect Speech.

More Direct Speech Example:

Carl said, ‘I will read the book.’
She says, “What time will you be home?”
John said, “There’s an elephant outside the window.”

Note:-

  • The exact words (or actual words) of the speaker are enclosed in Inverted Commas or Quotation Marks.
  • There is always a comma or a colon after “said” that introduces the spoken words.

Indirect Speech

The message of the speaker is conveyed or reported in our own words.

Example: David said that he was very busy then

Reported or indirect speech is usually used to talk about the past, so we normally change the tense of the words spoken. We use reporting verbs like ‘say’, ‘tell’, ‘ask’, and we may use the word ‘that’ to introduce the reported words. Inverted commas are not used.

More Indirect Speech Example:

She said that she had seen him.
Carl said that he would read the book.

Notice the change in language and structure of the sentence in Indirect Speech. Now, the question arises-how these changes are made. There are certain rules for making these changes. For your conveniences, I will divide these rules into General and Special rules.

Note:-

  • The word ‘that’ will be used before the spoken-words of the speaker.
  • The pronouns of the sentence are also changed accordingly.

Change into Indirect Speech

But before understanding these rules, you need to know certain terms related to Direct and Indirect speech. (Points to remember)

Reporting Verbs And Verb Of The Reported Speech
Reporting Speech

First part of direct speech is called REPORTING SPEECH.

Examples:

He said, “I am watching T.V”.
He says, “You are an honest person”.

Reported Speech

Second part of direct speech which are in inverted commas is called REPORTED SPEECH.

Examples:

Maria said, “I got a new car
She says, “I want to become a teacher

Reporting Verb

Verb of reporting speech is called RREPORTING VERB.

Reported Verb

Verb of reported speech is called REPORTED VERB.

Example:

Diana said to me, ’I will help you.’
(Reporting Verbs) (Reporting Speech)

Kinds of Sentences

There are five kinds of sentences:

  1. Assertive
  2. Imperative
  3. Interrogative
  4. Operative and
  5. Exclamatory

You need to keep at the back of your mind these kinds of sentences, because you have to change the sentence, which is within inverted commas, from direct to indirect according to rules. I will discuss it later on.

Reported Speech Rules GENERAL RULES:

Divide these rules into three categories:

  1. Change of personal pronoun.
  2. Change of tense.
  3. Miscellaneous changes.

Change of Personal Pronoun

Change of Personal Pronoun in Different Cases:

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Personal Pronoun Personal Pronouns
I/You (subject) She/he
We/You (subject) They
Me/You (object) him/her
us/you (object) them
 
Possessive Pronoun/Determiners Possessive Pronoun/Determiners
my/your his/her
mine/your his/hers
our/your their
ours/yours theirs
 
Demonstrative Pronoun/Determiners Demonstrative Pronoun/Determiners
this that
these those

Persons (first/second/third) of pronoun in the inverted commas are changed according to certain rules while changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech.

We remember the word SON.

Subject Object No change
1 2 3
First Person Second Person Third Person

Rule 1.

First person (I, my, me, we, our, us) used in the reported speech should be changed according to the subject of the reporting verb. Example:

Direct: Apolline says, ’I will read the book.’
Indirect: Apolline says that she will read the book.
Explanation: first person (I) of the reported speech is changed according to the subject (Apolline) of the reporting verb.

  • Subject is in the third person, singular number and nominative case, hence ‘she’.

Direct: You say, ’I am in the right.’
Indirect: You say that you are in the right.

Rule 2.

Second person (you, your, etc.) used in the reported speech should be changed according to the object of the reporting verb.
Example:
Direct: Jennifer told me, ‘you should read your book.’
Indirect: Jennifer told me that I should read my book.
Explanation: Second person (you, your) used in the reported speech is changed according to the object (me) of the reporting verb.

  • ‘Me’ is in objective case.
  • ‘You’ is in nominate case.
  • Nominative case of ‘me’ is ‘I’, hence ‘I’.
  • ‘Your’ is in possessive case. Possessive case of ‘me’ is ‘my’, hence ‘my’.

Direct: Mary says to Apolline, ‘you have done your duty’.
Indirect: Mary tells Apolline that she has done her duty.

Rule 3:

Third person used in the reported speech is not changed at all.
Example:

Direct: Adina says, ‘ he will read his book’.
Indirect: Adina says that he will read book.
Explanation: 3rd person (he, she) is not changed. Hence you find that they have been not changed while changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech.

Direct: Fatima says, ‘she does not like old films.’
Indirect: Fatima says that she does not like old films.

Direct: Ashraf says. ‘They have cheated us.’
Indirect: Ashraf says that they have cheated them.

CHANGE OF TENSE

It is very important to know how to change the tense of the reported speech. Let us know the rules.

Rule 1.

If the reporting verb is in present or future tense, you need not change tense of the verb of the reported speech. Example:

Rule 1 : If reporting verb in Present Tense or Future Tense, then verb of reported speech no change.
Rule 2 : Use ‘that’ in indirect speech. 

Note :

  • If object and to not given then, say, says, will say no change in sentence. We don’t use tell or tells.
  • If say to, says to, will say to given then, say, says, will say change in sentence. We use tell or tells.
    Tell is a transitive verb means tell have object compulsory.

Example :
1. Direct : The father says to us, “Maria is a good girl.”
Indirect : The father tells us that Maria is a good girl.

2. Direct : They say to David, “New York is a big city.”
Indirect : They tell David that New York is a big city.

3. Direct: Maina says, ‘she reads a book.’
Indirect: Maina says that she reads a book.
Explanation: as reporting verb (says) is in the present tense, tense of the reported speech has not been changed.

4. Direct: Maria has said.’ She read a book.’
Indirect: Maria has said that she read a book.

5. Direct: Daina will say, ‘she wrote the book.’
Indirect: Daina will say that she wrote the book.
Explanation: reporting verb (will) is in future tense, hence tense of the reported speech has not been changed.

Rule 2

If the reporting verb is in past tense and the verb of the reported speech is present or future tense, verb of the present or future tense in the reported speech is changed into corresponding past tense.

  • Present Indefinite change into Past Indefinite
  • Present Continuous change into past continuous.
  • Present perfect change into Past perfect
  • Present Perfect Continues change into Past Perfect Continues 
  • Present Perfect continues change into Past Perfect Continues
  • Can, will, may change into could would should might.

1. Present Indefinite change into Past Indefinite 

said → No change
said to → change into told 

Direct: Robert said. ‘I will play.’
Indirect: Robert said that he would play.
Explanation: reporting verb (said) is in past tense, hence ’will’ in the reported speech has been changed into would.  

Direct: James said, ‘ I am playing.’
Indirect: James said that he was playing.

Direct: John said, ‘I have played.  
Indirect: John said that he had played.

Direct: Henley, ‘I may play.’
Indirect: Henley said that he might play.

Direct: Robert said, ”I may play.”
Indirect: Robert said that he might play.

Present Continuous change into past continuous

George said, “I am going to school”.
George said that he was going to school.

Present Perfect change into Past Perfect

He said, “I have studied English”.
He said that he had studied English.

Surya said, “I have done my home work”.
Surya said that he had done his home work.

Present Perfect Continues change into Past Perfect Continues

Direct. : Robert said to us, “Mary has been playing cricket for two hours.”
Indirect. : Robert told us that Mary had been playing cricket for two hours.

He said, “I have been studying English”.
He said that he had been studying English.

Past Indefinite change into Past Perfect 

This rule is the most important one and students generally commit mistakes due to not understanding this rule clearly. Let me try to make it simple to help you in making your conception clear.

If both reporting verb and reported speech are in Past Tense, change should be made as follows:

If the reporting verb is in past tense and reported speech is in past indefinite, it (reposted speech) should be changed into past perfect. Example:

Direct : Leo said to me, “She wrote a letter.”
Indirect. : Leo told me that she had written letter.

Direct : Isla said to the teacher ,”Ava completed her homework.”
Indirect : Isla told the teacher that Ava completed her homework.

Past Continuous change into Past Perfect Continuous

If the reporting verb is in past tense and reported speech is not past imperfect, it should be changed into past perfect continuous. Example:

Direct : George said to Rohan, “Ava was playing cricket in the street.”
Indirect : George told Rohan that Ava had been playing cricket in the street.

Direct : The police man said to him, “Two brothers were quarrelling on the road.”
Indirect : The police man told him that two brothers had been quarrelling on the road.

Past Perfect No change

If the reporting verb is in past tense and reported speech is in past perfect or past perfect continuous, no change is to be made in the tense of the reported speech. Examples:

Direct: Alexander said, ‘ I had committed a mistake.”
Indirect: Alexander that he had committed a mistake.

Exception:

  • If a universal truth or habitual fact or a proverb is stated in the reported speech, it (reported speech) shall not be changed even if the reporting verb is in past tense. Example:

(a)  Direct: An old man said, “the earth revolves round the sun.” (Universal truth)
Indirect: An old man said that the earth revolves round the sun.

(b)  Direct: Amanda said to me, “I write with my left hand.” (Habitual fact)
Indirect: Amanda told me that he writes his left hand.

(c)  Direct: Father said, “A bad carpeted quarrels with his tools.” (Proverb)
Indirect: Father said that the sun rises in the east.

(d)  Direct: The teacher said,” The sun rises in the east.” (Universal truth)
Indirect: The teacher said that the sun rises in the east.

(e)  Direct: Father said, “Truth triumphs at the end.” (Proverb)
Indirect: Father said that truth triumphs at the end.

  • If ‘to (infinitive), would, could, should, must, might, ought to’ are used in the reported speech, they are not changed. Example:

Direct: He said, ‘Students must obey their teachers.”
Indirect: He said that students must obey their teachers.

Will, Shall change into would, should

1. Direct. : Byron said to Mira, “Alma will not go.”
Indirect. : Byron told Mira that Alma would not go.

2. Direct. : I said to Amy, “I shall be swimming in the river.”
Indirect. : I told Amy that I should be swimming in the river.

may change into might and can change into could

1. Direct. : Rozy said to Salma, “It may rain.”
Indirect : Rozy told Salma that it might rain.

2. Direct. : A boy said to his father, “Amy can run fast.”
Indirect. : A boy told his father that Amy could run fast.

Could, should, would, ought, might and must → No change

MISCELLANEOUS CHNAGES

This That
These Those
Now Then
Here There
Today That day
Tonight That night
This week That week
Thus So
Come Go
Yesterday Previous day
Tomorrow Next day
Next week Following week
Last Previous

SPECIAL RULES

Now, We will discuss special rules. Different rules are applicable for different sentences for changing them from direct to indirect speech. I will take up each sentence one by one.

ASSERTIVE SENTENCE

  • If there is an object after reporting verb, change ‘say to’ int ‘tell’, ‘says to’ into ‘tell’, ‘said to’ into ‘told’. If there is no object after the reporting verb, do not change the verb.

Remember ‘to’ is not used after tell(s) or told.

  • Remove comma and inverted commas, and use ‘that’ in place of the opening quote.
  • If object of the reporting verb is found in reported speech instead of reporting verb itself, make it object of the reporting verb. Example:

Direct: Amanda said, ‘Father, I am pleased with you”.

Indirect: Amanda told father that she was pleased with him.

  • Change pronouns and tense of the verb of reported speech according to the rules discussed previously.

Solved examples:

Direct: Amanda said, “I had done my work”.
Indirect: Amanda said that he had done his work.

Direct: Amanda said to me, “I cannot help you in your work.”
Indirect: Amanda told me that he could not help me in my work.

Direct: The thief said, ‘I am innocent.”
Indirect: The thief said that he was innocent.

Direct: Amanda said to me, ‘I shall help you in your work.”
Indirect: Amanda told me that he would help me in my work.

Direct: My father said, ‘I am going to London.”
Indirect: My father said that he was going to London.

Direct: My father says, “I will go to London.”
Indirect: My father says that he will go to London.

INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE

  1. Change the reporting verb ‘say(s) to’ or ‘said to’ into ‘asks’ or ‘asked’.
  2. If the reported speech begins with helping verb (is, am, are, was, were, do, does, did, has, have, had, will, would, can, could, shall, should, may, might, must), remove the inverted commas and use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ to join the reporting verb and reported speech.
  3. If the reported speech begins with w-family words, i.e. ‘who, whose, whom, when, where, which, what, why, how’, remove the inverted commas but do not use the conjunction ‘if’ or ‘whether’.
  4. Helping verb should be put after the subject of the reported speech.
  5. Remove the question mark and put full stop in its place.

Solved examples:

Direct: Philip said to Amanda, “Will you help me?
Indirect: Philip asked Amanda if he would help him.

Direct: Amanda said to Felix, “Who teaches you English?”
Indirect: Amanda asked Felix who taught him English?

Direct: Stella said to Adina, “Is coffee ready for me?”
Indirect: Stella asked Adina if coffee was ready for her.

Direct: Amanda said to Abdul, “Have you finished your work?”
Indirect: Amanda asked Abdul if he had finished his work.

IMPERATIVE SENTENCE

  1. Change reporting verb into ‘order, advise, request, warn, forbid, prohibit’ according to the meaning of the reported speech.
  2. Remove the inverted commas and use ‘to’ to join the reporting verb and reported speech.
  3. In case of negative imperative replace ‘do’ with ‘not to’ and ‘said to’ with ‘forbade’, leaving ‘not’.

IMPERATIVE SENTENCE Solved examples:

Direct: Alexander said to Cathenna, ‘Do not speak a lie.’
Indirect: Alexander advised Cathenna not to speak a lie.

Direct: Father said o me, ‘Do not go to the cinema.”
Indirect: Father forbade me to go to the cinema.

Direct: Cathenna said to her friend, ‘Lat me go home early.’
Indirect: Cathenna requested her friend to let her go home early.

Direct: The teacher told us, ‘Don’t cry’.
Indirect: The teacher forbade us to cry. Or The teacher ordered us not to cry.

OPTATIVE SENTENCE

  1. Change the reporting verb into ‘curse/bless/pray/wish’ according of the reported speech.
  2. In the reported speech, keep the subjects before its verb.
  3. Sign of exclamation should be changed into full stop.

OPTATIVE SENTENCE Solved examples

Direct: The beggar said to me, “May you live long!”.
Indirect: The beggar prayed that I might live long.

Direct: He told me, “May you die!”
Indirect: He cursed that I might die.

EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE

  • Reporting verb should be changed in the following manner:
Said
(change into)
if exclaimed with sorrow Ah! Alas
if exclaimed with Joy Aha! Ha! Hurrah!
if exclaimed with regret Sorry
if exclaimed with surprise Oh! What! How!
if exclaimed with contempt Pooh!
if applauded Bravo!
  •  Inverted commas should be replaced by that.
  • Sign of exclamation should be changed into full stop.
  • ‘What’ and ‘How’ used in the reported speech should be replaced with very or great.

EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE Solved examples:

Direct: Alexander said ,’ what a fine place it is!’
Indirect: Alexander exclaimed with joy that it was a fine place.

Direct: Cathenna said, ‘Hurrah! We have won the match.’
Indirect: Cathenna exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.

Direct: James said, ‘Alas! We have lost the match.”
Indirect: James exclaimed with sorrow that they had lost the match.

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