Direct and Indirect Speech

Reported Speech is direct and Indirect Speech or Narration. In Indirect Speech, we convey the speaker’s message in our own words. Thus, the message can be conveyed in 2 ways.

  1. Direct Speech
  2. Indirect Speech

Direct speech is known as repeating the exact words spoken and Indirect speech is known as reporting the words.

But the question occurs how to report or how to use Indirect speech? There are certain rules to make changes in a sentence from Direct to Indirect speech.  Read the complete blog to know more.

Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

Below, we are sharing the rules to make changes from Direct to Indirect speech. The changes of Direct and Indirect speech depend on some factors like modals, reporting verb, place, time, tense, pronoun etc. You can check the complete information of changes in Direct and Indirect speech.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
MustHad to/ Would have to
Ought toOught to

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises for Modals:

Look to the Direct and Indirect Speech examples with answers using modals.

  1. He said, “I can cook food.”

          He said that he could cook food.

  1. They said, “We may go to Canada.”

           They said that they might go to Canada.

  1. She said, “I must finish the work on time.”

           She said that she had to finish the work on time.

Modals that remain unchanged are: Should, might, could, would, ought to.

  1. Kanika said, “I ought to avoid junk food.”

          Kanika said that she ought to avoid junk food.

Changes as per Reporting Verb

According to the reporting verb, changes are made in the direct sentence or the sentence in inverted commas.

If the reporting verb is in the past tense, then the direct sentence is changed in its past tense.
The tense of direct speech remains unchanged when the reporting verb is in the present or future tense.
If the direct sentence contains the universal truth, then it remains unchanged in the Indirect Speech.

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises for Reporting Verb

Below, we are providing Direct and Indirect Speech examples using reporting verb changes.

  1. Navin said, “He is young.”

          Navin said that he was young.

  1. Isha says, “I am pretty.”

          Isha says that she is pretty.

  1. Rohan will say, “I am tall.”

          Rohan will say that he is tall.

  1. They said, “The sun rises in the east.”

           They said that the sun rises in the east.

Changes as per Tense

In the below table, we are sharing how tense changes into Indirect speech.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
Present simple (Subject +V1st + Object)Past simple(Subject +V2 + Object)
Present continuous (Subject +is/am/are+V1 +ing+ Object)Past Continuous(Subject +was/were+V1 +ing+ Object)
Present perfect(Subject + has/have+V3+Object)Past perfect(Subject+had+V3+Object)
Past simple(Subject+V2+Object)Past perfect(Subject+had+V3+Object)
Past Continuous(Subject +was/were+V1 +ing+ Object)Past perfect continuous(Subject +had been+V1 +ing+ Object)
Future simple(Subject+ will/shall+V1+object)Present Conditional(Subject+ would+V1+object)
Future Continuous(Subject +will/shall+be+V1 +ing+ Object)Conditional Continuous(Subject +would+be+V1 +ing+ Object)

Direct and Indirect speech exercises for Tense

Check the Direct and Indirect speech examples for tense using the above table. Changes will always be made according to the given table only.

  1. Heena said, “I walk.”

          Heena said that she walked.

  1. Deepak said, “I am having tea.”

          Deepak said that he was having tea.

  1. Ayesha said, “Honey has left for school.”

          Ayesha said that Honey had left for school.

  1. Vidisha said, “Ananya took pasta.”

          Vidisha said that Ananya had taken pasta.

  1.  They told, “We were living in Paris.”

           They told that they had been living in Paris.

  1.  Ramesh said, “I will go to Sri Lanka.”

           Ramesh said that he would go to Sri Lanka.

  1. Aishwarya Said, “They will be watering plants.”

          Aishwarya said that they would be watering plants.

Changes in Place and Time

Words are changed in an Indirect Speech to replace nearness from distance. In the table, we are sharing some words which are changed in Indirect speech.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
TodayThat day
TomorrowThe next day
Last weekThe previous week
TonightThat night

Changes of Interrogative Sentences

Here, we are sharing certain rules of Direct and Indirect speech for interrogative sentences conversions.

The reporting verb said/said to is changed in asked, demanded, ordered, enquired as per the nature of the sentence.
While a sentence starts with reporting verb then at the conversion time if /whether is used as the joining clause.
In case the sentence starts from “Wh” question word, then no extra conjunction is used.

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises for Interrogative Sentences

We are applying the above rules in the given exercise below to make changes in Direct and Indirect speech.

  1. Ravi said, “What is Heena doing?”

          Ravi asked me what Heena was doing.

  1. Esha said, “Will she come for lunch?”

          Esha asked if she would come for lunch.

  1. The boy asked, “Where do you stay?”

          The boy inquired where I stayed

Changes of Pronouns

While making the changes from Direct and Indirect speech, one should be having knowledge of rules of changes in pronouns.

The first person in reported speech changes according to the subject of reporting speech.
In Reported Speech change of the second person depends on the object of reporting speech.
The third person remains unchanged.

You can check the table for the changes in pronoun.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises for Changes in Pronoun

  1. Vidya said, “I am a good girl.”

           Vidya said that she was a good girl.

  1. I told them, “You have finished your work.”

          I told them that they had finished their work.

  1. He said, “She is in Delhi.”

          He said that she was in Delhi.

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