Direct & Indirect Speech
What is Direct & Indirect Speech?
Direct Speech: the message of the speaker is conveyed or reported in his own actual words without any change.
Indirect Speech: the message of the speaker is conveyed or reported in our own words.
Example on Process of Conversion from Direct to Indirect Speech
- a) Direct: Radha said, “I am very busy now.”
- b) Indirect: Radha said that she was very busy then.
- All inverted commas or quotation marks are omitted and the sentence ends with a full stop.
- Conjunction ‘that’ is added before the indirect statement.
- The pronoun ‘I’ is changed to ‘she’. (The Pronoun is changed in Person)
- The verb ‘am’ is changed to ‘was’. (Present Tense is changed to Past)
- The adverb ‘now’ is changed to ‘then’.
Tips on Direct and Indirect Speech:
Tip 1: Conversion Rules as per the Reporting Verb
When the reporting or principal verb is in the Past Tense, all Present tenses of the direct are changed into the corresponding Past Tenses.
- a) Direct: He said, “I am unwell.”
- b) Indirect: He said (that) he was
If the reporting verb is in the Present or Future Tense, the tenses of the Direct Speech do not change.
- a) Direct: He says/will say, “I am unwell.”
- b) Indirect: He says/will say he is
The Tense in Indirect Speech is NOT CHANGED if the words within the quotation marks talk of a universal truth or habitual action.
- a) Direct: They said, “We cannot live without water.”
- b) Indirect: They said that we cannot live without water.
Tip 2: Conversion Rules of Present Tense in Direct Speech
Simple Present Changes to Simple Past
- a) Direct: “I am happy”, she said.
- b) Indirect: She said that she was
Present Continuous Changes to Past Continuous
- a) Direct: “I am reading a book”, he explained.
- b) Indirect: He explained that he was reading a book.
Present Perfect Changes to Past Perfect
- a) Direct: She said, “He has finished his food“.
- b) Indirect: She said that he had finished his food.
Present Perfect Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous
- a) Direct: “I have been to Gujarat”, he told me.
- b) Indirect: He told me that he had been to
Tip 3: Conversion Rules of Past & Future Tense
Simple Past Changes to Past Perfect
- a) Direct: He said, “Ira arrived on Monday.”
- b) Indirect: He said that Ira had arrived on Monday.
Past Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous
- a) Direct: “We were living in Goa”, they told me.
- b) Indirect: They told me that they had been living in Goa.
Future Changes to Present Conditional
- a) Direct: He said, “I will be in Kolkata tomorrow.”
- b) Indirect: He said that he would be in Kolkata the next day.
Future Continuous Changes to Conditional Continuous
- a) Direct: She said, “I’ll be using the car next Friday.”
- b) Indirect: She said that she would be using the car next Friday.
Tip 4: Changes in Modals
CAN changes into COULD
- a) Direct: He said, “I can “
- b) Indirect: He said that he could
MAY changes into MIGHT
- a) Direct: He said, “I may buy a house.”
- b) Indirect: He said that he might buy a house.
MUST changes into HAD TO/WOULD HAVE TO
- a) Direct: He said, “I must work hard.”
- b) Indirect: He said that he had to work hard.
Modals that DO NOT Change: Would, Could, Might, Should, Ought to.
- a) Direct: He said, “I should face the challenge.”
- b) Indirect: He said that he should face the challenge.
Tip 5: Conversion of Interrogative
Reporting Verb like ‘said/ said to’ changes to asked, enquired or demanded
- a) Direct: He said to me, “What are you doing?”
- b) Indirect: He asked me what I was doing.
If sentence begins with auxiliary verb, the joining clause should be if or whether.
- a) Direct: He said, “Will you come for the meeting?”
- b) Indirect: He asked them whether they would come for the meeting.
If sentence begins with ‘wh’ questions then no conjunction is used as the “question-word” itself act as joining clause.
- a) Direct: “Where do you live?” asked the girl.
- b) Indirect: The girl enquired where I lived.
Tip 6: Command, Request, Exclamation, Wish
Commands and Requests
Indirect Speech is introduced by some verbs like ordered, requested, advised and suggested. Forbid(s)/ forbade is used for the negative sentences. The imperative mood is changed into the Infinitive.
- a) Direct: Rafique said to Ahmed, “Go away.”
- b) Indirect: Rafique ordered Ahmed to go
- c) Direct: He said to her, “Please wait.”
- d) Indirect: He requested her to wait.
Exclamations and Wishes
Indirect Speech is introduced by some words like grief, sorrow, happiness, applaud. Exclamatory sentence changes into assertive sentence and Interjections are removed.
- a) Direct: He said, “Alas! I am undone.”
- b) Indirect: He exclaimed sadly that he was broke.
Tip 7: Change of Pronouns
The first person of the reported speech changes according to the subject of reporting speech.
- a) Direct: She said, “I am in ninth class.”
- b) Indirect: She says that she was in ninth class.
The second person of reported speech changes according to the object of reporting speech.
- a) Direct: He says to them, “You have completed your”
- b) Indirect: He tells them that they have completed their
The third person of the reported speech doesn’t change.
- a) Direct: He says, “She is in tenth class.”
- b) Indirect: He says that she is in tenth class.
Tip 8: Change of Place and Time
Words expressing nearness in time or place in Direct Speech are generally changed into words expressing distance in Indirect Speech.
Now — then
Here — there
Ago — before
Thus — so
Today — that day
Tomorrow — the next day
This — that
Yesterday — the day before
These — those
Come — go
Hence — thence
Next week/month — following week/month
- a) Direct: She said, “My father came ”
- b) Indirect: She said that her father had come the day before.
- c) Direct: She says/will say, “My father came ”
Indirect: She says/will say that her father had come yesterday. (Here the reporting verb ‘says’ is in the present tense OR ‘will say’ is in future tense; hence the time expression ‘yesterday’ won’t change.)
Tip 9: Punctuation
The words that are actually spoken should be enclosed in quotes and begin with a capital letter
Example: He said, “You are right.”
Comma, full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark must be present at the end of reported sentences and are placed inside the closing inverted comma or commas.
Example: He asked, “Can I come with you?”
If direct speech comes after the information about who is speaking, comma is used to introduce the piece of speech, placed before the first inverted comma.
Example: She shouted, “Stop talking!”
Example: “Thinking back,” she said, “he didn’t expect to win.” (Comma is used to separate the two reported speech and no capital letter to begin the second sentence).
Tip 10: Conversion of Indirect to Direct Speech
- Use the reporting verb, “say” or “said to” in its correct tense.
- Remove the conjunctions “that, to, if or whether etc” wherever necessary.
- Insert quotation marks, question mark, exclamation and full stop, as per the mood of the sentence.
- Put a comma before the statement.
- Write the first word of the statement with capital letter.
- Change the past tense into present tense wherever the reporting verb is in the past tense.
- Convert the past perfect either into past tense or present perfect as found necessary.
- a) Indirect: He asked whether he is coming.
- b) Direct: He said to him, “Are you coming?”
Spot the Errors:
Each of the following sentences will contain a mistake in the usage of Direct and Indirect Speech. See if you can spot that mistake.
Direct: The boy said, “I’m happy with my results.”
Indirect: The boy said that he is happy with his results. (Incorrect)
Indirect: The boy said that he was happy with his results. (Correct)
Direct: She said, “I have baked a cake.”
Indirect: She said (that) she baked a cake. (Incorrect)
Indirect: She said (that) she had baked a cake. (Correct)
Direct: He said, “All people have equal rights.”
Indirect: He said that all people had equal rights. (Incorrect)
Indirect: He said that all people have equal rights. (Correct)
Direct: Roshni said, “I may meet him here”.
Indirect: Roshni said that she may meet him here. (Incorrect)
Indirect: Roshni said that she might meet him there. (Correct)
Direct: She says, “I will go to school tomorrow.”
Indirect: She says that she would go to school the day after. (Incorrect)
Indirect: She says that she will go to school tomorrow. (Correct)
Direct: He said, “She is coming this week to discuss this.”
Indirect: He said that she was coming this week to discuss this. (Incorrect)
Indirect: He said that she was coming that week to discuss it. (Correct)
Direct: He said to them, “Will you come for dinner?”
Indirect: He said to them will they come for dinner? (Incorrect)
Indirect: He asked them whether they would come for dinner.(Correct)
Direct: The teacher said, “Be quiet and listen to my words.”
Indirect: The teacher said them to be quiet and listen to my words. (Incorrect)
Indirect: The teacher urged /ordered them to be quiet and listen to his words. (Correct)
Direct: The old man said, “Ah! I am ruined.”
Indirect: The old man said that Ah he was ruined! (Incorrect)
Indirect: The old man exclaimed with sorrow that he was ruined.
Indirect: The policeman enquired where we were going.
Direct: The policeman enquired where are you going. (Incorrect)
Direct: The policeman said, “Where are you going?” (Correct)
POINTS TO REMEMBER
1. Editing is generally done during proof reading.
2. It can be of two types – Error or Omission
3. A short text with is one error/omission in each line is given.
4. Numbered blanks are provided with each line for writing the corrected/omitted word.
5. Identify the error/omission keeping in mind the PPACTS rule.
6. PPACTS RULE – error/omission would be any of the following:
P – Preposition
P – Pronoun
A – Article/determiner
C – Conjunction
T – Tense/Verb Forms (singular/plural)
S – Spelling
7. After reading the passage, identify the tense and see whether it is appropriate to the context.
8. Check the subject-verb agreement.
9. Check the areas where word is missing in case of omission and check the errors as mentioned above for error correction.
10. Mention the answer against the given blank number.
11. In case of omission write the word before and the word after the omitted word along with the supplied word.
12. In case of error correction write the incorrect as well as the corrected word in two columns.
1.Edit the passage underlining the mistake present in every line by writing the correct word in the blank space.My day begins on five O’clock in the morning a) _____
It has been so since the last forty years b) ______
except for the two years of which I was c) _______
very ill. I wake up at the sound of an d) ______
alarm clock bought at 1952. e) _______
From then until today, it has never f) _______
let me down. My routine, however turns topsy-turvy
in holidays when I cannot sleep for ten O’clock. I have g) ______ maintained a fairly regular routine over my working years. h) _______
When I retire on two years’ time, I hope I will be i) _______
able to continue this practice.
2.The following passage is incomplete. One word has been omitted in every line against which there is a blank. Indicate the place where the word has to be inserted with a / and write the word in the space provided.
Parmesh and his friends planning a trip a) _____
during the summer vacations. While all of them b) _____
keen to get away from the heat, none them were able to suggest which place to visit. c) _____
It only draw of lots which could finally decide the matter. d) _____
They decided on Ooty as it neither too far away nor too crowded.
The date of departure and the duration of their stay still to be decided. f) _____
The announcement of their final exam date sheet still two weeks away. g) _____
Until then, each of them resolved h) _____
collect information about hill station. i) _____
3.Underline each error and write the correction in the space provided.
One morning, the Nawab call a) _________
his minister and said him b) _________
that I wanted the length and c) _________
breadth from the earth d) _________
measured. He also feel the e) _________
need to have the stars on the f) _________
sky counted. The minister says g) _________
that the task he have been h) _________
set being impossible. i) _________
4.The following passage has not been edited. There is an error in each line against which there is a blank. Underline each error and write your correction in the space provided.
I entered the manager’s office and sat down.
I have just lost five hundred rupees and I felt very upset. a) ______
“I leave the money in my desk,” I said, b) ______
“and it is not there now”. The manager was very sympathetic
but he can do nothing. “Everyone loses money these days”, c) ______
he said, He start to complain about this wicked world, d) ______
but is interrupted by a knock at the door. e) ______
A girl came in and puts an envelope on his desk. f) ______
It contains five hundred rupees. “I found this g) ______
outside this gentleman’s room,” she said.
“Well! I say to the manager, “there is still some h) ______
honesty in this world !”
1. a) on – at
b) has – had c) for – of
d) at – by e) at- in
f) from – since
g) for – till
h) over – during
i) on – after
2. word before missing word word after
a)friends are planning
b) them are keen
c) none of them
d) only was draw
e) it was neither
f) stay is still
g) sheet is still
h) them are resolved
i) _ to collect
3. a) call – called
b) said him- said to him
c) i – he
d) from – of
e) feel – felt
f) on – in
g) says – said
h) have – has
i) being – is
4. a) have – had
b) leave – left
c) can – could
d) start – started
e) is – was
f) puts – put
g) contains – contained
h) say – said