Direct and indirect speech rules and examples: Direct and indirect speeches are not the favorite topic for many of us. It is because Direct and indirect speech rules are not easy to learn. Also one cannot ignore the importance of direct and indirect speech in spoken or writing English language.

There are two situations when you require conveying your message Direct and Indirect speech. Students find it difficult because there is no proper guidance given to them to understand direct and indirect speech. Here I am giving you a complete reference to Direct and indirect speech rules and examples.

I hope rules and examples will help you in learning direct and indirect speech.

Direct and indirect speech rules and examples

There two ways of speech.

1 Direct speech

2 Indirect speech

Also Read: How to improve my English pronunciation?

Direct speech– Direct speech is the original or actual words of the speaker that are put in inverted commas.

Indirect speech– In Indirect speech, the original or actual words of the speaker that are changed in our own manner and the statement is not in inverted commas.

Example

Direct speech -Steve said to me, “I will give you a book.”

Indirect speech-Steve told me that he would give mea book.

Direct speech-She said, “I am going to the market.”

Indirect speech-She said that she was going to the market.

Fundamental rules to change a Direct speech to indirect speech.

There are four basic rules to change a direct speech into indirect speech.

1. Reporting verb will be changed according to Reporting speech.

2. Remove the inverted commas, replace them with an appropriate conjunction.

3. Change the pronoun according to reporting speech.

4. Change the adverbs of the Direct speech.

Example

Direct speech-John said to me, “I shall go to Agra tomorrow.”

Indirect speech-John told me that he would go to Agra the next day.

In this example                                                                    

  • Reporting verb said to is converted into told.
  • Conjunction that is used in place of inverted commas.
  • Reporting speech’s I is converted into he.
  • Reporting speech’s verb shall go is converted into would go.
  • As another change, tomorrow is converted into next day.

 Changes of pronouns

Nominatives pronouns Possessive pronouns Objective pronouns Reflexive pronouns
I My Me Myself
We Our Us Ourselves
You Your You Yourself
He His Him Himself
She Her Her Herself
they their them themselves

 Pronouns are changed according to the Rule of SON

 S means Subject

O means Object

N means No change

Rule-1

First person pronoun in reporting speech is changed according to the subject of reporting verb.

Direct speech-She says, “I am sad.”

Indirect speech-She says that she is sad.

Direct speech– He says, “I am sad.”

Indirect speech-He says that he is sad.

Rule-2

Second person pronouns in reporting speech is changed according to the object of reporting verb.

Direct speech-She says to me, “You should manage your time table.”

Indirect speech– She tells me I should manage my time table.

Direct speech– He says to her, “You should manage your time table.”

Indirect speech– He tells her she should manage her time table.”

Rule-3

Third person pronouns in reporting speech is not changed.

Direct speech-She says, “He does not take tea.”

Indirect speech– She says he does not take tea.

Direct speech-Everybody says, “He has told a lie.”

Indirect speech-Everybody says that he told a lie.

Changes of Tenses

Rule-1

If we have reporting verb in present or future tense then there will be no change in verb or tense in reporting speech.

Direct speech-The teacher says,”Rani goes to school.”

Indirect speech-The teacher says that Rani goes to school.

Direct speech-The teacher will say,”Rani is going to school.”

Indirect speech-The teacher will say that Rani is going to school.

Rule-2

If we have reporting verb in past tense then the tense of the verb will be changed in to corresponding past tense.

  1. Simple Present converts into Simple Past
  2. Present Continuous converts into Past Continuous
  3. Present Perfect converts into Past Perfect
  4. Present Perfect Continuous converts into Past Perfect Continuous
  5. Simple Past converts into Past Perfect
  6. Past Continuous converts into Past Perfect Continuous
  7. In Future Tense will/shall coverts into would
  8. Can converts into could
  9. May converts into Might

Examples

Direct speech-She said,” I am happy.”

Indirect speech-She said that she was happy. (Simple Present converts into Simple Past)

Direct speech-He said to me, “I saw a stranger in the street.”

Indirect speech-He told me that he had seen a stranger in the street. (Simple Past converts into Past Perfect)

Direct speech-He said,” I can do this work alone.”

Indirect speech-He said that he could that work alone.(Can converts into could)

Some Exception of rule-2

Exception-1

If reported speech has Universal Truth or Habitual Fact then there will be no change in tenses.

Direct Speech-Our teacher said,” The sun rises in the east.”

Indirect Speech-Our teacher said that the sun rise in the east.

Direct Speech- Anu said to me,’ I write with my left hand.”

Indirect Speech- Anu told me that she writes with her left hand.

Exception-2

If reported speech has two actions to be happened at a time then there will be no change in tenses.

Direct Speech- She said,” My husband was writing a letter while I was reading a book.”

Indirect Speech-She said that her husband was writing a letter while she was reading a book.

Also Read: Tips to improve English communication and speaking skills.

Exception-3

If reported speech has Imagined Condition then there will be no change in tenses.

Direct Speech- Reema said,” If I were you, I would help him.”

Indirect Speech-Reema said that if she were you, she would help him.

Exception-4

If reported speech is given in had 3rd form, to infinitive and would, should, could, must might, ought then there will be no change in tenses.

Direct Speech- He said to me,” You should obey your parents.”

Indirect Speech-He told me that I should obey my parents.

Some words that need to change

Here Changes into there
Now Changes into then
This Changes into that
These Changes into those
Today Changes into that day
To-night Changes into that night
Yesterday Changes into the previous day
Last night Changes into the previous night
Last week Changes into the previous week
Tomorrow Changes into the next day
Next week Changes into the following week
Ago Changes into before
Thus Changes into so
Hence Changes into thence
Hither Changes into thither
Come Changes into go

Rules of interrogative sentences

Rule-1

  • Reporting verb sad/ said to will be changed into asked.
  • Said to can be converted into enquired or demanded.

Rule-2

  • If question is made with the helping verb like is, am, are, was, were do, does, did ,has, have, had, will, would, can ,could, shall ,should, may, might, must then “_”are to be replaced by if or whether.
  • If question is made with the starting of who, whose, whom, what, where, which, what, why or how then”_”no conjunction is used.

Rule-3

  • Question form is removed and put full stop at the end.
  • Helping verbs (is, am, are, was, were) are used after the subject.
  • If the interrogative sentences is expressing positive feeling then do/does is removed while making it indirect speech.
  • If word No is used in interrogative sentences then do/does in direct speech is changed into did.
  • Did or has/have are changed into had.

Rule 4

Example

Direct Speech- I asked to her, “Have you finished your work?”

Indirect Speech-I asked her if she has finished her work.

Direct Speech- He said to me, “who teaches you English?”

Indirect Speech-He asked me who taught me English.

Rules of Imperative Sentences

  • Reporting verb said to is changed into tell, command or order, request, warned, forbade.
  • Inverted commas are replaced by infinitives “to”.

Direct Speech- The teacher said to Ankita, “Stand up on the bench.”

Indirect Speech-The teacher ordered ankita to stand up on the bench.

Rules of Optative Sentences

  • Reporting verb said to is changed into wish or pray.
  • To remove inverted commas no conjunction is used.

Direct Speech- He said to me, “Good Morning Sir!”

Indirect Speech-He respectfully wished me good morning.

Rules of Exclamatory Sentences

  • In Exclamatory sentences, Reporting verb said is changed in many ways.

         Exclaimed with sorrow

         Exclaimed with joy

         Exclaimed with regret

         Exclaimed with surprise

         Exclaimed with contempt

  • Remove inverted commas with that.
  • Remove what and how with very or great.
  • Tenses of verbs, pronouns and words showing nearness are changed according to rules.

Direct Speech- He said, “Alas! I have lost my bridal ring.”

Indirect Speech-He exclaimed with sorrow that he had lost his bridal ring.

These were the complete rules of direct and indirect speech with examples. If you feel any problem then please hit comment button.