Direct Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech

  1. Direct speech is a sentence in which the precise words spoken are reproduced in speech marks (also recognized as quotation marks or inverted commas). For example: He said, “I am very happy”.

Shilpa said to me, “I am reading a book”.

  1. Indirect speech is speech which states you what someone said, but does not apply the person’s real words: for example: (Converting above direct speech sentences into indirect speech sentences)

He said that he was very happy.

Shilpa told me that she was reading a book.

Regulation: While the reporting or else principal verb remains in the past tense, the simple past in the direct speech turns out to be the past perfect in the indirect.

Incorrect: He said that his parents suffered through a financial crisis five years ago.

Correct: He said that his parents had suffered through a financial crisis five years ago.

Regulation: The pronouns of the direct speech are transformed in the indirect so that their relations with the reporter as well as the hearer, rather than with the original speaker, are directed.

Incorrect: The mentor told the students that I worked for your guidance.

Correct: The mentor told the students that he worked for their guidance.

Regulation: While the reporting or principal verb is in the past tense, the will/shall of the future tense is converted into would/should.

Incorrect: He said that he shall join the party as soon as possible.

Since the reporting verb (said) is in the past tense, ‘shall’ ought to be transformed to ‘should’.  But we also know that ‘shall’ is used with I or We. For he, ‘will’ ought to be used in the direct speech. So, we go for would in place of should. Thus,

Correct: He said that he would join the party as soon as possible.

Regulation: Words expressing nearness in time or else place in the direct speech are normally converted into words expressing distance in the indirect.

Here – thereYesterday – the day before
Now – thenTomorrow – the next day
Ago – beforeLast night – the night before
Today – that dayThis – that
Thus – soThese – those

Incorrect: She phoned me from Ooty that she was glad to be here.

Correct: She phoned me from Ooty that she was glad to be there.

The below mentioned changes are made while converting the sentences from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech:

Direct Speech SentenceIndirect Speech Sentence
Simple Present TenseSimple Past Tense
Present Continuous TensePast Continuous Tense
AreWere
IsWas
Will/shall/can/mayWould/Should/Could/Might
MustHad to
Would/Should/Could/MightWould/Should/Could/Might
TodayThat day
TomorrowThe next day/the following day
NowThen, at that time
ThisThat
TheseThose
YesterdayThe previous day/the day before
Ten minutes agoTen minutes before
Last night/month/week/yearThe previous night/month/week/year
TonightThat night
Next night/month/week/yearThe following night/month/week/year
The day after tomorrowIn two day’s time
A year etc. agoThe previous year/a year before
The day before yesterdayTwo days before
Next weekThe following week/the week after
Direct SpeechDirect Speech
Simple Present: He said, “I am John.”Simple Past: He said that he was John.
Present Progressive: She said, “I am going to the mall.”Past Progressive: She said that she was going to the mall.
Simple Past: He said, “I visited the zoo yesterday.”Past Perfect Simple: He said that he had visited the zoo the previous day.
Present Perfect: She said, “I have taken lunch in the restaurant.”Past Perfect: She said that she had taken lunch in the restaurant.
Past Perfect: He said, “The mechanic had repaired the car when I arrived.”Past Perfect: He said that the mechanic had repaired the car when I had arrived.
Past Progressive: He said, “I was reading a book when this incidence occurred.”Past Perfect Progressive: He said that he had been reading a book when that incidence had occurred.
Present Perfect Progressive: She said, “I have been composing this music for one hour.”Past Perfect Progressive: She said that she had been composing that music for one hour.
Past Perfect Progressive: She said, “I had been writing an article when the cat went to the kitchen.”Past Perfect Progressive: She said that she had been writing an article when the cat had gone to the kitchen.

Universal truths stay unchanged in reported speech.
Examples:

  • The teacher said, “The earth revolves the sun.”
  • The teacher said that the earth revolves the sun.

Regulation:  In case the reporting verb is in the Present tense (For example, say) there is no modification in the tense of the verb in the indirect speech.

Pooja says, “I eat a mango”.
Pooja says that she eats a mango.

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