Direct and Indirect Speech – Rules, Examples, Usage in Sentences (English, Study Material, Exam Preparation, Question, Answer and Explanation)

Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech is used in many instances during written and verbal communication. The two approaches are used depending upon the type of conversation (formal or informal). The study of Direct and Indirect Speech is important if you are preparing for SSC CGL, RRB, IBPS, PO, UPSC, NDA, CDS and other Government or Bank Exams. Direct and Indirect Speech is comparatively easier and with practice, students can score good marks in direct indirect speech.

What is Direct Speech?

Direct speech repeats or quotes the expressed or the words spoken. When we use direct speech, we place the words spoken between the quotation marks (“First-person”). Direct speech is directly conveyed either in speech or in writing.

Example of Direct Speech

He said, “I will work hard to succeed.”
The Commander said, “We will defeat all the enemies.”

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What is Indirect Speech?

Indirect speech or Reported speech is usually used to talk about the past, so we normally change the tense of the words spoken into. We use reporting verbs like ‘tell’, ‘say’, ‘ask’ and we can use the word ‘that’ to introduce the reported in place of (“ ”) Direct and Indirect speech also introduces the concept of ‘Reported speech’ and ‘Reported Verb’.

Example of Indirect Speech

He said that he will work hard to succeed.
The Commander said that they will defeat all the enemies.

Reported Speech and Reported Verb

Both direct and indirect speech has two parts which are complete sentences in themselves. They are:
  • Reported speech is more of ‘Mood/ Tone’ of a speaker. The reported speech can be Assertive/Declarative, Imperative, Interrogative and Exclamatory.
  • Reported verb is the tense in which the sentence is spoken. It can be ‘Past’, ‘present’, ‘Future’.




How to Convert Between Direct and Indirect Speech?

The conversion of English Grammar direct to indirect speech and vice versa are predetermined. Here’s an easy way to remember them using direct and indirect speech rules.

Rule 1

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Present Simple Tense do /does V1 Past Simple Tense did + V1 V2
Present Progressive Tense is/am/are + V4 Past Progressive Tense was /were + V4
Present Perfect Tense has /have + V3 Past Perfect Tense had + V3
Present Perfect Progressive has been /have been + V4 Past Perfect Progressive had been + V4
Past Simple Tense did + V1 V2 Past Perfect Tense had + V3
Past Perfect Tense had + V3 Past Perfect Tense had + V3
Past Perfect Progressive had been + V4 Past Perfect Progressive had been + V4
Future Simple Tense will + V1 would + V1
Future Progressive Tense will be + V4 would be + V4
Future Perfect Tense will have + V3 would have + V3
Future Perfect Progressive will have been + V4 would have been + V4

Rule 2

If the reporting verb is given in present or future tense, then there shall be no change in the tense of reported speech in direct and indirect speech rules.

Reported Verb Reported Speech
Subject First person (I, we) Changes according to the subject of the reported verb
Object Second person (you) Changes according to the object of the reported verb
No Change Third person (he, she, it, they) No change

Example:

  1. He said,” I will go.“
  2. “I” will change according to the subject of the reported verb that is “he”
  3. So in place of “I“, “he” will be used for Indirect speech.

Rule 3

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples
Direct Speech Indirect Speech
He had said to me, “We play.” He had said to me that they played.
He had said to me, “We are playing.” He had said to me that they were playing.
He had said to me, “We have played.” He had said to me that they had played.
He had said to me, “We have been playing.” He had said to me that they had been playing.
He had said to me, “We played.” He had said to me that they had played.
He had said to me, “We were playing.” He had said to me that they had been playing.
He had said to me, “We had played.” He had said to me that they had played.
He had said to me, “We had been playing.” He had said to me that they had been playing.




Use of Direct and Indirect Speech in Different Types of Sentences

Here are tips on how to use Direct and Indirect Speech in different sentences form using direct indirect rules.

Interrogative Sentences

Those sentences, which ask questions, are called interrogative sentences. Every interrogative sentence ends at a sign of interrogation.

Example:

  1. Do you live here?
  2. Have you ever watched the Terminator III movie?
  3. Is it raining?
  • To convert interrogative sentences into Indirect Speech, follow the following rules along with the above-mentioned rules:
  • Reporting Verb said to is changed into asked.
  • If reporting speech is having reporting verb at it its start, then if is used in place of that.
  • If the reporting speech is having interrogative words like who, when, how, why, when then neither if is used nor any other word is added.
  • Full Stop is placed at the end of the sentence instead of the mark of interrogation.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples
Direct Speech Indirect Speech
I said to her, “When do you do your homework?” I asked her when she did her homework.
We said to him, “Are you ill?” We asked him if he was ill.
You said to me, “Have you read the articles?” You asked me if I had read the article.
He said to her, “Will you go to the Peshawar Radio Station?” He asked her if she would go to the Peshawar Radio Station.
She says, “Who is he?” She asked who he was.
Rashid says to me, “Why are you late?” Rashid said to me why I was late.

Exclamatory Sentences

Those sentences, which express our feelings and emotions, are called exclamatory sentences. Mark of exclamation is used at the end of an exclamatory sentence.

Example:

  1. Hurray! We have won the match.
  2. Alas! He failed the test.
  3. How beautiful that dog is!
  4. What a marvellous personality you are!

To change exclamatory sentences into Indirect Speech using direct indirect rules, follow the following rules along with the above-mentioned rules:

  • In case, there is an interjection i.e., alas, aha, hurray, aha etc in the reported speech, then they are omitted along with the sign of exclamation using reported speech rules.
  • Reporting verb i.e. said is always replaced with exclaimed with joy, exclaimed with sorrow, exclaimed joyfully, exclaimed sorrowfully or exclaimed with great wonder or sorrow.
  • In case, there is what or how at the beginning of the reported speech, then they are replaced with very or very great.

In an Indirect Sentence, the exclamatory sentence becomes an assertive sentence.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples
Direct Speech Indirect Speech
He said, “Hurray! I have won the match.” He exclaimed with great joy that he had won the match.
She said, “Alas! My brother failed the test.” She exclaimed with great sorrow that her brother had failed the test.
They said, “What a beautiful house this is!” They exclaimed that that house was very beautiful.
I said, “How lucky I am!” I said that I was very lucky.
You said to him, “What a beautiful drama you are writing! You said to him in great wonder that he was writing a beautiful drama.

Optative Sentences

Those sentences, which express hope, prayer, or wish, are called optative sentences. Usually, there is a mark of exclamation at the end of an optative sentence.

Example:

  1. May you succeed in the test!
  2. May you get well soon!
  3. Would that I were rich!

To change optative sentences in direct to indirect speech, follow the following rules along with the above-mentioned rules:

  • In case, the reported speech starts with the word may, then the reporting verb said is replaced with the word prayed.
  • In case, the reported speech starts with the word would, then the reporting verb said is replaced with the word wished.
  • May is changed to might.
  • Mark of exclamation is omitted.

In Indirect Speech, the optative sentences become assertive sentences.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples
Direct Speech Indirect Speech
He said to me, “May you live long!” He prayed that I might live long.
My mother said to me, “May you succeed in the test!” My mother prayed that I might succeed in the test.
She said, “Would that I were rich!” She wished she were rich.
I said to him, “Would that you were here on Sunday!” I wished he had been here on Sunday.
You said, “I pray you find your camera!” You prayed that I might find my lost camera.




Practice Questions : For Direct and Indirect Speech

Directions (1-4): In the following question, a sentence is given in Direct / Indirect Speech, convert it into another form of speech.

Question 1: Akram said, “I have to carry this bag.”

Answer: Akram said that he had to carry that bag.
Explanation: When converting the statement into Indirect Speech:
- the words of the speaker are not written in quotes.
- usually, the word ‘that’ is used to convey the words of the speaker.
- the original tense of the statement is changed accordingly.

Question 2: The teacher said, “Lucy is an intelligent girl.”

Answer: The teacher said that Lucy has been an intelligent girl.
Explanation: Same as 1st answer.

Question 3: Rashmi says, “My startup is doing very well.”

Answer: Rashmi says that her startup is doing very well.
Explanation: The given direct form of the sentence is an assertive sentence.
- While changing it into its indirect form, ‘says/said’ remains unchanged. ‘comma’ and ‘inverted commas’ are removed and is joined by the conjunction ‘that’.
- The possessive adjective ‘my’ will be changed to ‘her’.

Question 4: Amar urged Amit to stop taking tranquillizers without consulting the doctor.
Answer: “Amit, please stop taking tranquillizers without consulting the doctor,” said Amar.
Explanation: In the given sentence, the verb ‘urged’ shows that it is expressing a request.
- So while converting a sentence into its indirect form, we use ‘please’ and the remaining sentence remains unchanged.



Question 5: Find out the correct indirect speech for the given sentence.
She said,’ I have baked a cake’
A) She said that she baked a cake
B) She said that she had baked a cake.
C) She said that I baked a cake.
D) She said that she had bake a cake.
Answer: Option B - She said that she had baked a cake.

Question 6: Choose the correct sentence. 
Aviral said, ‘What a beautiful rainbow it is!’
A) Aviral exclaimed wonderfully that the scenery was very beautiful.
B) Aviral said with wonder that the scenery was very beautiful.
C) Aviral exclaimed with wonder that the scenery is very beautiful.
D) Aviral exclaimed with wonder that the scenery was very beautiful.
Answer: Option D - Aviral exclaimed with wonder that the scenery was very beautiful.

Question 7: Choose the correct indirect speech for the given sentence.
‘This world’, she said, ‘is full of sorrow. Wish that I were dead’.
A) She observed that the world is full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.
B) She said that the world was full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.
C) She observed that the world was full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.
D) She observed that the world was full of sorrow. She wished to die.
Answer: Option A - She observed that the world is full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.

Question 8: Choose the correct indirect speech for the given sentence.
The policeman said, ‘Where are the weapons?’
A) The policeman inquired where was the weapons.
B) The policeman enquired where are the weapons.
C) The policeman enquired where were the weapons.
D) The policeman questioned where were the weapon.
Answer: Option C - The policeman enquired where were the weapons.

Question 9: Choose the correct indirect speech for the given sentence.
The man said, ‘Ah! I am ruined.’
A) The man cried that he was in ruined.
B) The man exclaimed in grief that he was ruin.
C) The man said that Ah, he is ruined.
D) The man exclaimed with sorrow that he was ruined.
Answer: Option D - The man exclaimed with sorrow that he was ruined.