Direct and Indirect Speech

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DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH T he words of a speaker can be reported to a third party in one of two ways. We can quote the actual words of the speaker. T his is called D irect speech . We can convey the substance of what the speaker said. This is called Indirect Speech .


FOR EXAMPLE: Direct Speech Ram told Rahim, “I am unwell.” Seema asked me, “Where do you live?” Indirect Speech Ram told Rahim that he was unwell. Seema enquired where I lived.


ANALYSIS OF THE DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH We have just noted that reported speech is conveyed to a third person in one of two ways. We can do so either quoting the exact words of the speaker through direct speech or through indirect speech..

RULE 1:: 

RULE 1: If the reporting verb is in the past tense the tense of the verb in the reported speech must be changed to one of the four forms of the past tense that is : The Simple Past Tense The Past Continuous Tense The Past Perfect Tense The Past Perfect Continuous Tense


EXAMPLES Direct : He said, “I am doing my lessons now.” Indirect : He said that he was doing his lessons then. Direct : He said, “I came late” Indirect : He said that he had come late. Direct : He said, “I was writing a letter.” Indirect : He said that he had been writing a letter. Direct : Shakespeare wrote: “All the world is a stage.” Indirect : Shakespeare wrote that all the world is a stage. ….In the last sentence we see that the reporting verb remains unchanged even though the reporting verb(wrote) is in the past tense. This happens when the direct speech makes a statement that is universal or an habitual fact .

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IN DIRECT SPEECH IN INDIRECT SPEECH Ago becomes Before Come becomes Go Hence becomes Thence Here becomes There Last night becomes The previous night or the night before Now Then This That These Those Thus So, in that way Today That day Tomorrow The next day or the following day Yesterday The day before/the previous day Words including nearness of time or place in Direct speech, are changed into similar words expressing distance. Thus :

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Direct : The teacher said, “We can never be happy here.” Indirect : The teacher said that we can never be happy here. ………When words like here, now, this etc are used to refer to things that were present before the person who reports what was said, they remain unchanged. Direct : Ashoka the king said to his courtiers, “It is time we put an end to all bloodshed.” Indirect : Ashoka the king advised his courtiers that it was time they put an end to all bloodshed.


INTERROGATIVE SENTENSES Direct : The king said to his ministers, “Are these my brave heroes?” Indirect : The king asked his ministers if those were his brave heroes. Direct : He said to me, “Where are you going?” Indirect : “He asked me where was I going.

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When the reported speech is a question, the reporting verb is changed into ask or enquire, followed by “if” and the words must be restored to the natural order as shown in the first pair of sentences. But when the reported speech is introduced by the WH Family (who, which, what, why, when, where and how) “if” is not used.

RULE 2:: 

RULE 2: If the reporting verb is in a present or a future tense, the tense of the verb in the reported speech is not changed at all. Direct : He says, “It is a fine day” Indirect : He says that it is a fine day. Direct : He will say, “I did it” Indirect : He will say that he did it.


IMPERATIVE SENTENCE When the verb in the Direct Speech is in the Imperative mood, it is changed into the infinite form in the Indirect speech and the reported speech is introduced by some such verb as tell, order, advise, request, forbid, propose, suggest, command, beg, entreat, etc. as the sense of the speech may require

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Direct : He said, “Come here. ” Indirect : He ordered to go there. Direct : Mother said, “Do not play in the sun.” Indirect : Mother advised not to play in the sun. Direct : She said, “Do not insult the poor.” Indirect : She advised not to insult the poor.


USE OF LET: If Let is used to express proposal, reporting verb is changed said into “ proposal ” or “ suggested ” . Remove comma and inverted commas and place there conjunction that Verb let is changed into Should.


EXAMPLES Direct : He said, “Let us go for walk.” Indirect : He suggested that they should go for walk. Direct : He said, “Let me go.” Indirect : He ordered to let him go. Direct : The beggar shouted, “Let him have a piece of bread .” Indirect : The beggar shouted to let him have a piece of bread.