1. Dr. T. Ramesh Babu
Assistant Professor (A)
Department of H&SS
2. Direct & Indirect Speech
What is direct speech?
The words spoken by a person are reported in two
ways:- Direct and Indirect speech.
The actual words of a speaker are reproduced as such,
it is called direct speech. The actual words are
enclosed with in inverted commas.
She said, “ she is good.”
He says, “I will go home”
3. Direct & Indirect Speech
The actual words of a speaker are reproduced in the
language of some other speaker, it is called indirect speech.
Then his/her words are not in inverted commas, but
merged in the language of the speaker.
Eg. She said that she was good.
He says that he would go home.
Direct Speech has two parts: the reporting verb and the
(i) The reporting verb is that part which reports the actual
words of the speaker, such as She said, He says etc., It is
not written in inverted commas.
4. Direct & Indirect Speech
(ii) The reported speech is that part contains the actual words
of the speaker, such as “ She is good.” , “ I will go home.”
etc., It is always put within inverted commas.
Changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech:
The following five kinds of changes take place:
1. Changes in the reporting verb.
2. The use of a proper conjunction or a joining word.
3. Changes in the personal pronouns of the reported speech.
4. Changes in the verbs of the reported speech according to the tense of
the reporting verb.
5. Changes in the adjectives and adverbs of the reported speech.
5. Rules for changing Direct speech into Indirect speech
If the reporting verb is in the present tense or in the
future tense, the tense of the verb in the reported
speech does not change.
Eg.: He says, “I am busy.”
He says that he is busy.
Rekha says, “ I have some work.”
Rekha says that she has some work.
6. Rules for changing Direct speech into Indirect speech
They will say, “ We are sincere.”
They will say that they are sincere.
Surya will say, “I am clever.”
Surya will say that he is clever.
In the above given examples we have not changed the
tense of the verb in the reported speech sentences
because the reporting verbs are in the present tense
and future tens.
7. Rules for changing Direct speech into Indirect speech
If the reported speech express a universal truth, the
tense remains unchanged.
Eg. My mother said, “ The sun rises in the east.”
My mother said that the sun rises in the east.
My father said, “God is the great cosmic power.”
My father said that God is the great cosmic power.
8. Rules for changing Direct speech into Indirect speech
If the reporting verb is in the past tense, the tense of
the reported verb is changed into the corresponding
Table indicates the changes in tenses while changing
Direct speech into Indirect speech.
( when the reporting verb is in past )
9. Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Simple Present Tense - Simple Past Tense
Eg. Do - Did
Present Continuous Tense - Past Continuous Tense
Eg. Is/am/are + doing - Was/ were + doing
Present Perfect Tense - Past Perfect Tense
Eg. Have/has + done - Had + done
Present Perfect Continuous – Past Perfect Continuous
Eg. Have/has +been+ doing - Had +been+ doing
10. Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Simple Past Tense - Past Perfect Tense
Eg. Did - Had done
Past Continuous Tense - Past Perfect Continuous
Eg. Was/were + doing - Had +been + doing
Shall do - Would do
Will do - Would do
May do - Might do
Can do - Could do
Must do - Had to do
11. Direct and Indirect Speech
She said, “I have a problem.”
She said that she had a problem.
The boy said, “ I am going to market.”
The boy said that he was going to market.
The girl said, “ I have written my exams well.”
The girl said that she had written her exams well.
12. Direct and Indirect Speech
Words expressing nearness in place or time are
changed to words expressing distance in Indirect
Table indicates the changes in expressions nearness in
place or time.
13. Direct and Indirect Speech
Last The previous
Next The following
Tonight That night
Last night The night before
Yesterday The previous day /
the day before
Day before yesterday Two days before
Today That day
Tomorrow The next day/ The following day
Day after tomorrow Two days after
14. Direct and Indirect Speech
Changes in Pronouns:
A) Pronouns of the first person (I, me, my/ we, us , our)
are changed according to the subject of the reporting
Eg. I said, “ I did my home work.”
I said that I had done my home work.
Gopal said, “ I have understood this sum.”
Gopal said that he had understood that sum.
You said, “ I am honest.”
You said that you were honest.
15. Direct and Indirect Speech
B) Pronouns of second person ( you , your) are changed
according to the object of the reporting verb.
Eg. Raji said to him, “ You are late.”
Raji told him that he was late.
He said to her, “ you must do it.”
He told her that she had to do it.
The teacher said to the boys, “ You will know your
The teacher told the boys that they would know their
marks the next day.
16. Direct and Indirect Speech
C) Pronouns of the third person ( he, him, his / she , her,
hers/ it, its,/ they , them, their) are remain unchanged.
Ramesh said,” It is beautiful.”
Ramesh said that it was beautiful.
Saritha said, “ He has cheated me.”
Saritha said that he had cheated her.
17. Direct and Indirect Speech
Reporting the Assertive Sentences. ( Statements)
In an assertive sentences ‘ say, says , said’ remain
Say to /tell becomes tell
Says to / tells becomes tells and
Said to becomes told
The conjunction “ that “ should be added after the
reporting verb in assertive sentences. Remove the
comma and quotation marks after the reporting verb.
18. Direct and Indirect Speech
Some times we take declare , sate, inform, propose, reporting verbs according to the
I say, “ I am busy.” I say that I am busy
He says, “ I am going.” He says that he is going
She said, “ I am innocent.” She said that she was innocent.
I say to her, “ I hate you.” I tell her that I hate her.
Note: Now observe the following tense wise examples:
1) He said, “ I am a teacher.” He said that he was a teacher.
2) She said to me, “ I am waiting for you.” She told me that she was waiting for me.
3) He said to her, “ you have deceived me.” He told her that she had deceived him.
4) They said, “ We have been learning English.” They said that they had been learning English.
5) Geetha said, “I will attend your marriage.” Geethat said that she would attend my marriage.
6) He said, “ I saw a film last week.” He said that he had seen a film the week before.
19. Direct and Indirect Speech
Sheela said, “ My books were lost.”
Sheela said that her books had been lost.
He said, “ We are in the play ground.”
He said that they were in the play ground.
She said, “ It may rain.”
She said that it might rain.
The officer said to the clerk, “You must do it.”
The officer told the clerk that he had to do it.
20. Direct and Indirect Speech
Changing Questions into the Indirect Speech
Questions are two types. They are ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ type questions and
‘Wh’ or informative questions. The reporting verbs used in
questions are asked , enquired wondered, wanted to know and
Yes or No type questions: When the question is introduced by an
auxiliary verb for which we give the answer in Yes or No such
questions are called Yes or No questions. We should take “ If or
whether” as a conjunction after the reporting verb.
21. Direct and Indirect Speech
In the Direct Speech the verb is placed before the
subject but in the Indirect Speech the verb is placed
after the subject and the question mark and quotation
marks should be removed. ‘If ‘or ‘whether’ should be
added after the reporting verb or before the subject
and a full stop is placed at the end of the sentence.
Direct Speech Indirect Speech
I said to them, “ Am I troubling you?”
I asked them if / whether I was troubling them.
22. Direct and Indirect Speech
Rajesh asked Geeta, “ Are you busy now?”
Rajesh asked Geeta if she was busy then.
She said, “ Is it raining outside?”
She asked if it was raining outside.
“Was the Ice cream tasty?”, she said him
She asked him if Ice cream had been tasty.
“ Have paid the fees?” the principal said to them
The principal asked them whether they had paid the
23. Direct and Indirect Speech
“Do you know me?” I said to them
I asked them if they knew me.
“ Did you understand my point?” I said to my students
I asked my students if they had understood my point.
“ Will you show me the way to bus station?” The
stranger said to me
The stranger asked me if I would show the way to the
24. Direct and Indirect Speech
“Can you lend me your pen?” He said to her
He asked her if she could lend her pen.
“ Would like to have a cup of Tea?” Radha asked him
Radha asked him if he would like to have a cup of Tea.
“ Shall we go to film to night?” She said to her husband
She asked her husband if thy would go to film that
“ May I go now?” he said
He asked if he might go then.
25. Direct and Indirect Speech
“ Wh” or informative questions:
When the question is introduced by an interrogative word ( What,
where, when , why, how etc.,) such questions are called “Wh” or
informative questions. “ Wh” word + subject +verb. Question marks
and quotation marks should be removed and full stop is place at the
end of the sentence.
Direct Speech ( D.S.) Indirect Speech ( I.D.S.)
I said to him, “What are you doing here?” ( D.S. )
I asked him what he was doing there. ( I.D.S.)
“ Why are you late?” the teacher asked ( D.S. )
The teacher asked why I was late. ( I.D.S.)
26. Direct and Indirect Speech
“Who is going to answer my question?” the teacher
asked ( D.S. )
The teacher asked who was going to answer his/her
question. ( I.D.S.)
“What do you want?” I said to them ( D.S. )
I asked them what they wanted. ( I.D.S.)
“What can I do for you?” he said to her ( D.S. )
He asked her what he could do for her. ( I.D.S.)
27. Direct and Indirect Speech
Reporting Imperative Sentences:
A sentence which expresses a command or request or wish or advise or
suggestion is called an imperative sentence. It begins with a verb and it
doesn’t have a subject.
The reporting verbs used in Imperative sentences are asked , advised,
ordered , requested, commanded, urged, suggested according to the
sentences. The imperative mood changed into the infinitive. So in
reported speech “ to” is used as a conjunction.
Direct Speech ( D.S.) Indirect Speech ( I.D.S.)
1. The judge said, “ Call the witness.”
The judge ordered to call the witness.
28. Direct and Indirect Speech
2.The officer said to the peon, “ come early.”
The officer ordered the peon to come early
3. The Commander said to his soldiers, “ Fire
The commander commanded his soldiers to fire
4.The teacher said to her students,” don’t make noise.”
The teacher ordered her students not to make noise.
29. Direct and Indirect Speech
1. She said to me, “ Please wait here.”
She requested me to wait there.
2. Rani said to me , “ please lend me your pen.”
Rani requested me to lend her my pen.
3. She said to him, “ Please don’t tease me.”
She requested him not to tease her.
4. Vani said to her mother, “ Please give me thousand rupees.”
Vani requested her mother to give her thousand rupees.
30. Direct and Indirect Speech
Suggestions / Advice
1.The doctor said to the patient, “Take medicine regularly.”
The doctor advised the patient to take medicine regularly.
2.She said to me , “ Don’t smoke cigarettes.”
She suggested me not to smoke cigarettes.
3. My father said to me , “ Don’t waste your time.”
My father suggested me not to waste my time.
4.The Prime Minister said, “ Stay at home during covid-19.”
The Prime Minister advised to stay at home during covid-
31. Direct and Indirect Speech
Reporting Exclamatory Sentences:
Exclamations and wishes need the following changes when
converted into indirect speech:
Said or said to is changed into:
Exclaimed with sorrow, joy, surprise, disgust, according to
the interjection used and the sense implied.
The reporting verbs used in exclamatory sentences are
exclaim, wonder , remark, wish . The conjunction ‘that’ is
used to join the reporting verb with reported speech.
The exclamations are changed into statements in the
32. Direct and Indirect Speech
Direct Speech ( D.S.) Indirect Speech ( I.D.S.)
1.She said , “ How beautiful the rose is!”
She exclaimed that the rose was very beautiful.
2.He said, “Alas! My dad is dead!”
He exclaimed sorrowfully that his dad was dead.
3. He said, “ May your son soon recover!”
He prayed that my son might soon recover.
33. Direct and Indirect Speech
4.He said to her, “ Good morning.
He wished her good morning.
5.She said, “Oh! God! I have lost my gold chain.”
She exclaimed bitterly that she had lost her gold chain.
6.The old man said to the young player, “ Bravo! You
have played well.”
The old man applauded the young player saying that he
had played well.
34. Direct and Indirect Speech
Changing optative sentences into Indirect Speech.
What are Optative Sentences?
Optative sentences are those which express hope, wish, prayer. These
sentences take an exclamation mark either after an interjection or at
the end of the sentence.
Let’s look at the examples:
1. She said, “May God be your on your side”
2. Old man said, “would that I were young again”
3. He said, “Good morning sir!”
35. Direct and Indirect Speech
Reported Speech Rules for Optative Sentences:
Let’s study how to change optative sentences from direct speech into
Rule 1 – understand context of sentence.
Understanding context of sentence is very necessary in order to change
it in indirect narration or speech. Such as if there is context of prayer or
wishes and greeting is expressed in sentence. Sentence structure for
indirect speech will be made accordingly. So, Understanding context of
speaker is most necessary thing and is understandable in a very easy
Here are few examples:
Context of Speaker : Rule 1
36. Direct and Indirect Speech
1.She said, “May God bless her soul.” (Context = Pray)
2. I said, “If I was a bird.” (Context = Wish)
3. Teacher said, “You can go” (Context = Allow)
4. Student said, “May I go ma’am?” (Context = asking permission)
Rule 2 – Changes in Reporting Speech.
Reporting speech is part of direct speech (before quoation “” marks). In
order to change a optative direct narration to indirect speech we must
change verb in reporting speech (that verb is called reporting verb).
Here is how to do that:
Reporting verb will be initially in Indefinite tense (present / past /
future) and will remain being in same tense after changing into
indirect speech. such as:
37. Direct and Indirect Speech
Direct: I said to him, “May you get well soon.” (Reporting verb = Said,
Tense = Past Indefinite)
Indirect: I prayed him to get well soon. (Reporting verb = Prayed,
Tense = Past Indefinite)
There was no change made in tense of Reporting verb.
There are two pronouns (sometimes only one) in Reporting speech.
Both remain same after converting to indirect speech such as:
Direct: Commander said to me, “Go to border.”
Indirect: Commander ordered me to go to border.
(Commander and me are reporting nouns/pronouns)
38. Direct and Indirect Speech
Reporting verb “Says/Said/Will Say” will be changed to another verb
(2nd form) as per context accordingly. Such as: May can be changed to
pray or ask, would can be changed to wish, command, giving
permission, asking for permission and other verbs will be used keeping
context of speaker and nature of sentence in mind.
Direct: Student said, “Good Morning sir.!”
Indirect: Student wished good morning to teacher
Rule 3 – Changes in Reported Speech
Converting an optative sentence into indirect speech is bit tricky (not
difficult). Changes in reporting speech were normally same as all
sentences. In second part of direct speech (i.e. Reported Speech)
sentence structure is always as per previous sentence and prepositions
and verbs are changed accordingly. Here are few common rules.
39. Direct and Indirect Speech
Exclamation mark (!) is completely omitted in indirect speech and it is
replaced by full stop if necessary.
Words showing exclamation such as (May, would, if etc) are completely
omitted while converting because context of exclamation is expressed
in reporting speech of indirect narration.
“THAT” is not used to connect reported speech and reporting speech.
In place of word THAT, other words can be used such as to, for etc.
Sentence structure of reported speech is completely changed keeping
in view of context in reporting speech such as, Prayed for my good
marks, wished for my health, wished to have money, ordered to go etc.
Sentence form in indirect speech is always assertive instead of optative.