Direct and indirect Speech | English Grammar

Direct and indirect speech


Student Rocks Explains with English Grammar Expert.

Direct and Indirect Speech also bring confusion between Student as well as confusion for English Learners also. In this Post first we discussed about what is direct and indirect speech then we look at how to talk about what someone said, and how to convert Direct Speech to Indirect speech as well as Vise Verse.

Direct Speech

It is a sentence in which the exact words spoken are reproduced in Speech marks also we can say the actual words that a person Said.

When we use Direct Speech in writing, we place the words spoken between quotation marks (“…”) and there is no change in these words.

For Example:

Confusion regarding DP and SP

Direct speech also Knows as quoted speech. Now it’s time to remove your confusion regarding DP and SP When we are writing or speaking we need to differentiate between what someone being reported to have said and what they are actually saying.

For Example:

  • “I Don’t like apple ice-cream” Anju said. (It’s Called a Direct Speech)
  • Anju said she doesn’t like apple ice-cream. (It’s a Reported Speech)

    Always notice that the direct speech uses speech marks (“….”) to show exactly what was said and reported speech always written in the past tense. This is because the words have already been spoken and the reporter is simply reporting what has already been said.

Reported Speech Causing Tenses Confusion

For Example:

  1. You didn’t tell me that you have a girlfriend. (Does it mean that he still has a girlfriend)


You didn’t tell me that you had a girlfriend. (Does it mean that he no longer has a girlfriend)

  1. I knew that you have a girlfriend.


I knew that you had a girlfriend.

They are both Grammatically correct but there are differences in what is being conveyed in each case.

First, “You didn’t tell me that you have a girlfriend” stresses the present state of mind of both parties, where it is important that the subject (you) has a girlfriend.

Second, “You didn’t tell me that you had a girlfriend” stresses the state of mind of both parties at the time of the initial conversation.

I hope you understand Direct Speech now we are moving to Indirect Speech.


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Indirect Speech


When we want to repeat what someone else said, we usually used Informulation that’s called indirect speech or reported speech.

For Example:

There are 3 Friends Raju, Ram, Rani.

Raju Said, “to rani you are looking so Beautiful”. (Direct Speech)

Ram asked to Raju: What you said to Rani.

Raju Said, I told Rani that she was looking so Beautiful. (Indirect Speech)


Now You have noticed that in this example there are 2 sentences are formulated Direct and Indirect Speech.

In Indirect Speech grammatical categories are change relative to the words of original sentence.

For example,

Person may change as a result of a change of speaker or listener

Changes In Form

Indirect speech need not refer to a speech act that has actually taken place, There may also be a change of tense or other modifications to the form of the verb, such as change of mood. These changes depend on the grammar of the language.

Some examples of changes in form in indirect speech.

  • It is raining hard.

    She says that it is raining hard. (no change)

    She said that it was raining hard. (change of tense when the main verb is past tense)

  • I have painted the ceiling blue.

    He said that he had painted the ceiling blue. (change of person and tense)


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Direct Speech Vs Indirect Speech


In direct speech, a person’s exact words are placed in quotation marks and set off with a comma and a reporting clause or signal phrase, such as “said” or “asked.”

Indirect speech is paraphrasing what someone said or wrote.

How to Convert

In the first example given below, the verb in the present tense in the line of direct speech (is) may change to the past tense (was) in indirect speech, though it doesn’t necessarily have to with a present-tense verb. If it makes sense in context to keep it present tense, that’s fine.

  • Direct speech: “Where is your textbook?” the teacher asked me.
  • Indirect speech: The teacher asked me where my textbook was.
  • Indirect speech: The teacher asked me where my textbook is.

Keeping the present tense in reported speech can give the impression of immediacy, that it’s being reported soon after the direct quote,such as:

  • Direct speech: Bill said, “I can’t come in today, because I’m sick.”
  • Indirect speech: Bill said (that) he can’t come in today because he’s sick.

Future Tense

An action in the future (present continuous tense or future) doesn’t have to change verb tense, either, as these examples demonstrate.

  • Direct speech: Raju said, “I’m going to buy a new car.”
  • Indirect speech: Raju said (that) he’s going to buy a new car.
  • Direct speech: Raju said, “I will buy a new car.”
  • Indirect speech: Raju said (that) he will buy a new car.

Indirectly reporting an action in the future can change verb tenses when

needed. In this next example, changing the am going to was

going implies that she has already left for the mall. However, keeping the

tense progressive or continuous implies that the action continues, that

she’s still at the mall and not back yet.

  • Direct speech: He said, “I’m going to the mall.”
  • Indirect speech: He said (that) he was going to the mall.
  • Indirect speech: He said (that) he is going to the mall.

Other Changes

With a past-tense verb in the direct quote, the verb changes to past


Direct speech: She said, “I went to the mall.”

Indirect speech: She said (that) she had gone to the mall.

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