In English, we need to report messages, speeches, comments, requests etc, of a person or persons to others. We may report the words of a speaker in two ways.
There two ways to convey a message of a person, or the words spoken by a person to other person.
1.Direct Speech : The speech which is under Quotation marks or inverted commas in writing is called Direct Speech or Reporting Speech.
Nila says, “I am ill” (Direct Speech)
Nila says that she is ill. (Indirect Speech)
Direct Speech / Quoted SpeechSaying exactly what someone has said is called direct speech (sometimes called quoted speech)
Here what a person says appears within quotation marks ("...") and should be word for word.
She said, "Today's lesson is on presentations."
"Today's lesson is on presentations", she said.
*The words that are actually spoken should be enclosed in inverted commas:
‘He’s very clever, you know.’
*In British English, the usual style is to use single inverted commas but it is not wrong to use double ones:
“He’s very clever, you know.”
‘They think it’s a more respectable job,’ said Jo.
‘I don’t agree,’ I replied.
‘Can I come in?’ he asked.
‘Just a moment!’ she shouted.
‘You’re right,’ he said.
'I didn't expect to win.'
Steve replied, ‘No problem.’
‘You’re right,’ he said. ‘It feels strange.’
‘Thinking back,’ she said, ‘I didn’t expect to win.’
‘No!’ he cried. ‘You can’t leave now!’
Indirect Speech / Reported SpeechIndirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), doesn't use quotation marks to enclose what the person said and it doesn't have to be word for word.
When reporting speech the tense usually changes. This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The verbs therefore usually have to be in the past too.
Fundamental rules for indirect speech.
- Reported speech is not enclosed in quotation marks.
- Use of word “that”: The word “that” is used as a conjunction between the reporting verb and reported speech.
- Change in pronoun: The pronoun (subject) of the reported speech is changed according to the pronoun of reporting verb or object (person) of reporting verb (first part of sentence). Sometimes the pronoun may not change.
Direct speech: He said, “I am happy”
Indirect Speech: He said that he was happy.
Direct speech: I said to him, “you are intelligent”
Indirect Speech: I said him that he was intelligent. (“You” changed to “he” the person of object of reporting verb)
- Change in time: Time is changed according to certain rules like now to then, today to that day, tomorrow to next day and yesterday to previous day.
- Change in the tense of reported speech: If the first part of sentence (reporting verb part) belongs to past tense the tense of reported speech will change. If the first part of sentence (reporting verb part) belongs to present or future tense, the tense of reported speech will not change.
Direct speech: He said, “I am happy”
Indirect Speech: He said that he was happy. (Tense of reported speech changed)
Direct speech: He says, “I am happy”
Indirect Speech: He said that he is happy. (Tense of reported speech didn’t change)
|Tense||Direct Speech||Reported Speech|
|present simple||I like ice cream||She said (that) she liked ice cream.|
|present continuous||I am living in London||She said she was living in London.|
|past simple||I bought a car||She said she had bought a car OR She said she bought a car.|
|past continuous||I was walking along the street||She said she had been walking along the street.|
|present perfect||I haven't seen Julie||She said she hadn't seen Julie.|
|past perfect*||I had taken English lessons before||She said she had taken English lessons before.|
|will||I'll see you later||She said she would see me later.|
|would*||I would help, but..||She said she would help but...|
|can||I can speak perfect English||She said she could speak perfect English.|
|could*||I could swim when I was four||She said she could swim when she was four.|
|shall||I shall come later||She said she would come later.|
|should*||I should call my mother||She said she should call her mother|
|might*||"I might be late"||She said she might be late|
|must||"I must study at the weekend"||She said she must study at the weekend OR She said she had to study at the weekend|