ESL Grammar

Direct and Indirect Speech: Useful Rules and Examples

Are you having trouble understanding the difference between direct and indirect speech? Direct speech is when you quote someone’s exact words, while indirect speech is when you report what someone said without using their exact words. This can be a tricky concept to grasp, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to use both forms of speech with ease.

Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech

When someone speaks, we can report what they said in two ways: direct speech and indirect speech. Direct speech is when we quote the exact words that were spoken, while indirect speech is when we report what was said without using the speaker’s exact words. Here’s an example:

Direct speech: “I love pizza,” said John. Indirect speech: John said that he loved pizza.

Using direct speech can make your writing more engaging and can help to convey the speaker’s tone and emotion. However, indirect speech can be useful when you want to summarize what someone said or when you don’t have the exact words that were spoken.

To change direct speech to indirect speech, you need to follow some rules. Firstly, you need to change the tense of the verb in the reported speech to match the tense of the reporting verb. Secondly, you need to change the pronouns and adverbs in the reported speech to match the new speaker. Here’s an example:

Direct speech: “I will go to the park,” said Sarah. Indirect speech: Sarah said that she would go to the park.

It’s important to note that when you use indirect speech, you need to use reporting verbs such as “said,” “told,” or “asked” to indicate who is speaking. Here’s an example:

Direct speech: “What time is it?” asked Tom. Indirect speech: Tom asked what time it was.

In summary, understanding direct and indirect speech is crucial for effective communication and writing. Direct speech can be used to convey the speaker’s tone and emotion, while indirect speech can be useful when summarizing what someone said. By following the rules for changing direct speech to indirect speech, you can accurately report what was said while maintaining clarity and readability in your writing.

Differences between Direct and Indirect Speech

When it comes to reporting speech, there are two ways to go about it: direct and indirect speech. Direct speech is when you report someone’s exact words, while indirect speech is when you report what someone said without using their exact words. Here are some of the key differences between direct and indirect speech:

Change of Pronouns

In direct speech, the pronouns used are those of the original speaker. However, in indirect speech, the pronouns have to be changed to reflect the perspective of the reporter. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I am going to the store,” said John.
  • Indirect speech: John said he was going to the store.

In the above example, the pronoun “I” changes to “he” in indirect speech.

Change of Tenses

Another major difference between direct and indirect speech is the change of tenses. In direct speech, the verb tense used is the same as that used by the original speaker. However, in indirect speech, the verb tense may change depending on the context. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I am studying for my exams,” said Sarah.
  • Indirect speech: Sarah said she was studying for her exams.

In the above example, the present continuous tense “am studying” changes to the past continuous tense “was studying” in indirect speech.

Change of Time and Place References

When reporting indirect speech, the time and place references may also change. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I will meet you at the park tomorrow,” said Tom.
  • Indirect speech: Tom said he would meet you at the park the next day.

In the above example, “tomorrow” changes to “the next day” in indirect speech.

Overall, it is important to understand the differences between direct and indirect speech to report speech accurately and effectively. By following the rules of direct and indirect speech, you can convey the intended message of the original speaker.

Converting Direct Speech Into Indirect Speech

When you need to report what someone said in your own words, you can use indirect speech. To convert direct speech into indirect speech, you need to follow a few rules.

Step 1: Remove the Quotation Marks

The first step is to remove the quotation marks that enclose the relayed text. This is because indirect speech does not use the exact words of the speaker.

Step 2: Use a Reporting Verb and a Linker

To indicate that you are reporting what someone said, you need to use a reporting verb such as “said,” “asked,” “told,” or “exclaimed.” You also need to use a linker such as “that” or “whether” to connect the reporting verb to the reported speech.

For example:

  • Direct speech: “I love ice cream,” said Mary.
  • Indirect speech: Mary said that she loved ice cream.

Step 3: Change the Tense of the Verb

When you use indirect speech, you need to change the tense of the verb in the reported speech to match the tense of the reporting verb.

  • Indirect speech: John said that he was going to the store.

Step 4: Change the Pronouns

You also need to change the pronouns in the reported speech to match the subject of the reporting verb.

  • Direct speech: “Are you busy now?” Tina asked me.
  • Indirect speech: Tina asked whether I was busy then.

By following these rules, you can convert direct speech into indirect speech and report what someone said in your own words.

Converting Indirect Speech Into Direct Speech

Converting indirect speech into direct speech involves changing the reported speech to its original form as spoken by the speaker. Here are the steps to follow when converting indirect speech into direct speech:

  • Identify the reporting verb: The first step is to identify the reporting verb used in the indirect speech. This will help you determine the tense of the direct speech.
  • Change the pronouns: The next step is to change the pronouns in the indirect speech to match the person speaking in the direct speech. For example, if the indirect speech is “She said that she was going to the store,” the direct speech would be “I am going to the store,” if you are the person speaking.
  • Change the tense: Change the tense of the verbs in the indirect speech to match the tense of the direct speech. For example, if the indirect speech is “He said that he would visit tomorrow,” the direct speech would be “He says he will visit tomorrow.”
  • Remove the reporting verb and conjunction: In direct speech, there is no need for a reporting verb or conjunction. Simply remove them from the indirect speech to get the direct speech.

Here is an example to illustrate the process:

Indirect Speech: John said that he was tired and wanted to go home.

Direct Speech: “I am tired and want to go home,” John said.

By following these steps, you can easily convert indirect speech into direct speech.

Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and indirect speech are two ways to report what someone has said. Direct speech reports the exact words spoken by a person, while indirect speech reports the meaning of what was said. Here are some examples of both types of speech:

Direct Speech Examples

Direct speech is used when you want to report the exact words spoken by someone. It is usually enclosed in quotation marks and is often used in dialogue.

  • “I am going to the store,” said Sarah.
  • “It’s a beautiful day,” exclaimed John.
  • “Please turn off the lights,” Mom told me.
  • “I will meet you at the library,” said Tom.
  • “We are going to the beach tomorrow,” announced Mary.

Indirect Speech Examples

Indirect speech, also known as reported speech, is used to report what someone said without using their exact words. It is often used in news reports, academic writing, and in situations where you want to paraphrase what someone said.

Here are some examples of indirect speech:

  • Sarah said that she was going to the store.
  • John exclaimed that it was a beautiful day.
  • Mom told me to turn off the lights.
  • Tom said that he would meet me at the library.
  • Mary announced that they were going to the beach tomorrow.

In indirect speech, the verb tense may change to reflect the time of the reported speech. For example, “I am going to the store” becomes “Sarah said that she was going to the store.” Additionally, the pronouns and possessive adjectives may also change to reflect the speaker and the person being spoken about.

Overall, both direct and indirect speech are important tools for reporting what someone has said. By using these techniques, you can accurately convey the meaning of what was said while also adding your own interpretation and analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is direct and indirect speech?

Direct and indirect speech refer to the ways in which we communicate what someone has said. Direct speech involves repeating the exact words spoken, using quotation marks to indicate that you are quoting someone. Indirect speech, on the other hand, involves reporting what someone has said without using their exact words.

How do you convert direct speech to indirect speech?

To convert direct speech to indirect speech, you need to change the tense of the verbs, pronouns, and time expressions. You also need to introduce a reporting verb, such as “said,” “told,” or “asked.” For example, “I love ice cream,” said Mary (direct speech) can be converted to “Mary said that she loved ice cream” (indirect speech).

What is the difference between direct speech and indirect speech?

The main difference between direct speech and indirect speech is that direct speech uses the exact words spoken, while indirect speech reports what someone has said without using their exact words. Direct speech is usually enclosed in quotation marks, while indirect speech is not.

What are some examples of direct and indirect speech?

Some examples of direct speech include “I am going to the store,” said John and “I love pizza,” exclaimed Sarah. Some examples of indirect speech include John said that he was going to the store and Sarah exclaimed that she loved pizza .

What are the rules for converting direct speech to indirect speech?

The rules for converting direct speech to indirect speech include changing the tense of the verbs, pronouns, and time expressions. You also need to introduce a reporting verb and use appropriate reporting verbs such as “said,” “told,” or “asked.”

What is a summary of direct and indirect speech?

Direct and indirect speech are two ways of reporting what someone has said. Direct speech involves repeating the exact words spoken, while indirect speech reports what someone has said without using their exact words. To convert direct speech to indirect speech, you need to change the tense of the verbs, pronouns, and time expressions and introduce a reporting verb.

You might also like:

  • List of Adjectives
  • Predicate Adjective
  • Superlative Adjectives

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Direct and Indirect Speech

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Introduction to Direct and Indirect Speech

The distinction between Direct and Indirect Speech may be confusing for some students. Often when we need to explain an incident or action, it involves quoting what someone said. A social situation, as well as a work email or presentation, are examples of such instances. There are two forms of Speech used to explain what other people say: direct Speech and indirect Speech (or reported Speech).

Direct Speech

The same words spoken are quoted indirect Speech. If we use Direct Speech in writing, we bring the words spoken between quotation marks (" ") and leave them alone. We may be reporting something that is being said (for example, a phone conversation) or asking someone about a previous conversation later.

Nirmal said, "There's a dog outside the window."

Mahima says, "What time will you be home?"

Supriya said, "I don't know!"

Indirect Speech

When we use reported or Indirect Speech to speak about the past, we generally change the tense of the words we say. We use reporting verbs like 'say,' 'tell,' and 'ask,' and we can introduce the reported words with the word 'that.' There are no inverted commas in this sentence.

For Example,

Mahima said that she had seen him.

Nirmal said he was looking forward to playing in the match on Saturday.

Children often mix up Direct and Indirect Speech. We need a way to say the difference between what someone is claimed to have said and what they said when we're writing. What did she say if you asked her? You may respond in one of two ways:

“I don’t like pizza,” Siddi said. (Direct Speech)

Siddi says she doesn’t like pizza. (Indirect Speech)

Note how Speech marks (“...”) are used in Direct Speech to indicate precisely what was said. Speech labels are located at the beginning and end of the actual words spoken. The words 'Siddi said' are not in Speech marks because they were not spoken aloud; rather, they are a way for the writer to express who was speaking to the reader.

The past tense is often used in reported Speech. This is because the words have already been spoken, and the writer is simply reporting on what has already been saying. It's critical to think about what was said and convert it to the past tense.

Direct and Indirect Narration Rules

Following are the steps to convert the Direct/Indirect Speech and also let’s discuss Direct and Indirect Speech tenses rules in detail.

Step 1: Write down the reporting verb that is used to determine the Indirect Speech's tense.

Step 2: Change the position and time to reflect the speaker's actual location and time.

Step 3: For both the object and the subject, use the correct pronoun.

Step 4: Make sure the sentence has the correct structure and word order.

Now we'll go through each of these measures in greater depth.

Step 1: Choosing the Verb's Tense and Conversion

Case 1: Nirmal said, ‘I go to the gym every day.

Case 2: Nirmal says, ‘I go to the gym every day.’

The verb ‘say' is used in both of the instances above to express the action of speaking. In addition, the reporting verb say is used in the past tense in the first case – said. In case 2, however, the reporting verb is in the present tense.

As a consequence, all verbs must be in the relevant past tense here. If the reporting verb is in the past tense, this is often followed. Thus, Nirmal said, ‘I go to the class every day will change to Nirmal said that he went to the gym every day.

The second rule is that the tense is not changed whether the reporting verb is in the future or present tense. So, Nirmal says, ‘I go to the class every day will be changed to Nirmal says that he goes to the class every day.

Step 2: Changes are Made to the Word That Communicates Place, Time, and Connection.

The time or place specified in the sentence should be changed to match the current time or position.

On 21st, May 2015: ‘I will come tomorrow,’ Sriram said.

On 21st, May 2015, Sriram said that he would come the next day.

Step 3: The Subject and Object Pronouns are Chosen Separately.

Case 1: Saurav will say to his friends, “I have started learning psychology” will change to Saurav will tell his friends that he has started learning psychology.

In this case, the speaker and the reporter are the same people. As a consequence, the pronoun should be the first person pronoun.

Case 2: Ma’am said to me, “I hope you will bring the geometry to my next class” will changed to Ma’am hoped that I would bring the geometry to her next class.

The speaker is ma'am, and the reporter is the student. As a consequence, the ma'am pronoun should be in the third person. The reporter's pronoun should also be in the first person.

Remember that we do not change the tense of the reporting verb within the quotation marks when it is in the present or future tense.

When using English, you'll want to use both direct and indirect Speech regularly, so make sure you're familiar with both and can use them correctly. Direct Speech isn't always an accurate representation of what someone has said. Using inverted commas before and after the quotation, you may quote from other texts similarly. Instead of using the verb "to tell," consider using a verb like "to compose," "to state," or "to define." You may convey what is being reported using a variety of verbs; for example, while "to say" is widely used, you may also want to use "to tell" to explain something that has been told to you. Keeping a small diary of what has been said around you is an important way to practise – explain what people have said and try to write a few examples of each form.

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FAQs on Direct and Indirect Speech

1. What is Direct and Indirect Speech with Examples?

The same words spoken are quoted in the direct speech. If we use direct speech in writing, we bring the words spoken between quotation marks (" ") and leave them alone. We are talking about the present moment and we are talking about the original content. Direct Speech: “I'm seeing my brother tomorrow.” or “I’ll call them tomorrow”

While reporting if we are changing the words without changing the meaning of the sentence then it is called indirect speech. Here the present tense is converted into past tense. Here the sentence of the speaker is summarized without changing the meaning and reported.

Indirect Speech: She said she was seeing her brother the following day. Or She said that it was hot.

2. What are Simple Rules for Conversion of Indirect Speech to Direct Speech? 

Both inverted commas and quotation marks should be eliminated. Put a full stop at the end of the sentence. Shift the present tense of the verb within the inverted commas/quotation marks to the corresponding past tense. Shift it to the past perfect tense if it's in the simple past tense.

Step 1: change the tenses from present to past 

Present Tense: I like chocolates

Past Tense: she said that she liked chocolates 

Step 2: Change the sentences from simple past to past perfect

Present: He arrived on Tuesday

Past: He said that he had arrived on Tuesday

Step 3:  while converting future tense, ‘will’ changes to would

Present: I will be attending the wedding.

Past: She said that she would be attending the wedding.

Step 4: change the present continuous tense to the past continuous tense.

Present:   We are eating dinner

Past: They said that they were eating dinner.

Step 5: Change the  Present Perfect Tense into Past Perfect Tense

Present: She has finished her task.

Past: She said that she had finished her task.

Step 6: Change the Past Progressive Tense into the Perfect Continuous Tense

Present: My husband was cooking

Past: She said that her husband had been cooking.

Step 7:   And also remember past perfect and past perfect progressive doesn't change.

Step 8: And also the future Progressive Tense changes into “would be”. The Future Perfect Tense changes into “would have”.The Future Perfect Progressive Tense changes into “would have been”. 

And also follow these simple rules.

The conjunction ‘that’ is used in indirect speech.

The pronoun ‘I’ has to be changed according to the person.

The verb “am" is changed to “was".

For converting to Indirect speech, the words representing nearness will be changed to the words representing distance like the adverb “now” will be converted to the word “Then”, here now represent the nearness in time while ‘then’ represent distance.

3. What are the Examples of Direct Speech?

Few examples of Direct speech are:

Nirmal said, "There's a dog outside the window."

Mahima says, "What time will you be home?"

Supriya said, "I don't know!"

I like chocolates.

Where do you live in?

Where are you?

I play basketball

I do yoga every morning

Can you pass me the bottle, please?

I brought a new pen

I will shift to Mumbai

She had worked hard.

My mom is preparing sweets

Don’t talk to me 

I play chess every day

Ananth is dancing on the floor

I like Sachin Tendulkar

She plays the guitar very well

4. Differentiate between Direct and Indirect Speech.

5. Give some examples for indirect speech.

She said that she liked chocolates

He said that he played basketball

She asked me to be on time

Neha said that her parents were very well.

He said that he played chess every day

She told me that she liked Sachin Tendulkar

She told me that she had been to the USA.

She said that she had finished her task.

he said that he would come to the party by 8 PM

She said that she hadn’t seen Nupur recently. 

She asked me to bring her dress the next day

He asked us not to be late.

They told that they were ready for competition

  • B1-B2 grammar

Reported speech: statements

Reported speech: statements

Do you know how to report what somebody else said? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we can tell someone what another person said.

direct speech: 'I love the Toy Story films,' she said. indirect speech: She said she loved the Toy Story films. direct speech: 'I worked as a waiter before becoming a chef,' he said. indirect speech: He said he'd worked as a waiter before becoming a chef. direct speech: 'I'll phone you tomorrow,' he said. indirect speech: He said he'd phone me the next day.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 1: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Reported speech is when we tell someone what another person said. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech.

direct speech: 'I work in a bank,' said Daniel. indirect speech: Daniel said that he worked in a bank.

In indirect speech, we often use a tense which is 'further back' in the past (e.g. worked ) than the tense originally used (e.g. work ). This is called 'backshift'. We also may need to change other words that were used, for example pronouns.

Present simple, present continuous and present perfect

When we backshift, present simple changes to past simple, present continuous changes to past continuous and present perfect changes to past perfect.

'I travel a lot in my job.' Jamila said that she travelled a lot in her job. 'The baby's sleeping!' He told me the baby was sleeping. 'I've hurt my leg.' She said she'd hurt her leg.

Past simple and past continuous

When we backshift, past simple usually changes to past perfect simple, and past continuous usually changes to past perfect continuous.

'We lived in China for five years.' She told me they'd lived in China for five years. 'It was raining all day.' He told me it had been raining all day.

Past perfect

The past perfect doesn't change.

'I'd tried everything without success, but this new medicine is great.' He said he'd tried everything without success, but the new medicine was great.

No backshift

If what the speaker has said is still true or relevant, it's not always necessary to change the tense. This might happen when the speaker has used a present tense.

'I go to the gym next to your house.' Jenny told me that she goes to the gym next to my house. I'm thinking about going with her. 'I'm working in Italy for the next six months.' He told me he's working in Italy for the next six months. Maybe I should visit him! 'I've broken my arm!' She said she's broken her arm, so she won't be at work this week.

Pronouns, demonstratives and adverbs of time and place

Pronouns also usually change in indirect speech.

'I enjoy working in my garden,' said Bob. Bob said that he enjoyed working in his garden. 'We played tennis for our school,' said Alina. Alina told me they'd played tennis for their school.

However, if you are the person or one of the people who spoke, then the pronouns don't change.

'I'm working on my thesis,' I said. I told her that I was working on my thesis. 'We want our jobs back!' we said. We said that we wanted our jobs back.

We also change demonstratives and adverbs of time and place if they are no longer accurate.

'This is my house.' He said this was his house. [You are currently in front of the house.] He said that was his house. [You are not currently in front of the house.] 'We like it here.' She told me they like it here. [You are currently in the place they like.] She told me they like it there. [You are not in the place they like.] 'I'm planning to do it today.' She told me she's planning to do it today. [It is currently still the same day.] She told me she was planning to do it that day. [It is not the same day any more.]

In the same way, these changes to those , now changes to then , yesterday changes to the day before , tomorrow changes to the next/following day and ago changes to before .

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 1: 2

Language level

Could you tell me why say is sometimes used in reported speech instead of said?

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Hello Khangvo2812,

In general, it's used when it's something that people say not just in one specific situation, but in general. 

We also sometimes use the present simple to talk about the past when telling stories. You can read more about this on our Present simple page -- scroll down to the very end of the explanation, just after the Present simple 8 exercise.

If there's a specific sentence you want to ask about, please include it in your comment.

Best wishes, Kirk LearnEnglish team

If I understand correctly, I cannot say she said she finished it two hours ago. Instead, I have to say she said she finished it two hours before?

Generally when we teach reported speech, we say that 'ago' in the direct speech should be changed to 'before' in the reported speech. This is because of what is commonly called 'backshifting', that is, the change in perspective from one time, such as the present, to another time, such as the past.

In terms of the sentence you ask about, the standard way of saying it is 'She said she had finished it two hours earlier' ('before' is also fine). This would be the correct form if you were telling me about a conversation you had with this person yesterday or sometime well before the moment of speaking.

If, however, you were reporting a conversation from a short while ago (in this case, since the sentence includes 'two hours ago', it would have to be very recent, probably within the last 30 minutes), they you could say 'She said she finished it two hours ago' and that would be correct. In this case 'two hours ago' would refer not back to the time of the conversation, but the time that this person was actually talking about.

I hope that makes sense.

Could I say my mom told me that I wouldn't need to get married if I could not find a right man for me?If I understand correctly, I don't need to change the tenses in a conditional sentence.

That's fine, yes. Are you sure the verb forms have not been changed here, however? It seems likely that the original sentence was this: You won't need to get married if you can't find the right man for yourself .

The LearnEnglish Team

Could I say he said that he will be 10 minutes late, so let’s wait for him for 10 minutes?

Yes, that's fine.

Hi. I had a doubt in these questions- 1. Convert it into indirect speech- Tamana said “Marcus is tall.” 2. Convert it into indirect speech- She said “You can move in immediately.”

Hi aru sha,

What do you think about it? We prefer to not simply give out answers, as we may be doing students' homework for them! But the information on the page above should be useful for these questions. Let us know what you think and we can guide you further.

LearnEnglish team

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Direct and indirect speech exercises

There are many occasions in which we need to describe an event or action that happened, and very often that includes repeating what someone said. Such occasions can include a social situation as well as in a work email or presentation. In order to describe what people said there are two different types of speech – direct speech and indirect speech (or reported speech).

Read on to find out more about these forms and improve your English storytelling skills.

Direct Speech

When we want to describe what someone said, one option is to use direct speech . We use direct speech when we simply repeat what someone says, putting the phrase between speech marks:

  • Paul came in and said, “I’m really hungry.”

It is very common to see direct speech used in books or in a newspaper article. For example:

  • The local MP said, “We plan to make this city a safer place for everyone.”

As you can see, with direct speech it is common to use the verb ‘to say’ (‘said’ in the past). But you can also find other verbs used to indicate direct speech such as ‘ask’, ‘reply’, and ‘shout’. For example:

  • When Mrs Diaz opened the door, I asked, “Have you seen Lee?”
  • She replied, “No, I haven’t seen him since lunchtime.”
  • The boss was angry and shouted, “Why isn’t he here? He hasn’t finished that report yet!”

Indirect Speech

When we want to report what someone said without speech marks and without necessarily using exactly the same words, we can use indirect speech (also called reported speech). For example:

  • Direct speech: “We’re quite cold in here.”
  • Indirect speech: They say (that) they’re cold.

When we report what someone says in the present simple, as in the above sentence, we normally don’t change the tense, we simply change the subject. However, when we report things in the past, we usually change the tense by moving it one step back. For example, in the following sentence the present simple becomes the past simple in indirect speech:

  • Direct speech: “I have a new car.”
  • Indirect speech: He said he had a new car.

All the other tenses follow a similar change in indirect speech. Here is an example for all the main tenses:

direct and indirect speech examples

The same rule of moving the tenses one step back also applies to modal verbs. For example:

direct and indirect speech examples

Using ‘say’ or ‘tell’

As an alternative to using ‘say’ we can also use ‘tell’ (‘told’ in the past) in reported speech, but in this case you need to add the object pronoun. For example:

  • He told me he was going to call Alan.
  • They told her they would arrive a little late.
  • You told us you’d already finished the order.

Changing Time Expressions

Sometimes it’s necessary to change the time expressions when you report speech, especially when you are speaking about the past and the time reference no longer applies. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I’m seeing my brother tomorrow .”
  • Indirect speech: She said she was seeing her brother the following day .

Here are some other examples:

  • Direct speech: “I had a headache yesterday .”
  • Indirect speech: You said you’d had a headache the day before yesterday .
  • Direct speech: “It’s been raining since this afternoon .”
  • Indirect speech: He said it’d been raining since that afternoon .
  • Direct speech: “I haven’t seen them since last week .”
  • Indirect speech: She said she hadn’t seen them since the previous week .

Reporting Questions

When you report a question you need to change the interrogative form into an affirmative sentence, putting the verb tense one step back, as with normal reported speech.

There are two types of questions that we can report – questions that have a yes/no response, and questions that begin with a question word like ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘who’ etc. When we report a yes/no question, we use ‘if’. For example:

  • Direct speech: “Do they live here?”
  • Indirect speech: You asked me if they lived here.

As you can see, in the reported version of the question, ‘do’ is eliminated because it is no longer a question, and the verb ‘live’ becomes ‘lived’.

For questions starting with question words like ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘who’, etc., we report the question using the question word but change the interrogative form to the affirmative form. For example:

  • Direct speech: “Where do they live?”
  • Indirect speech: You asked me where they lived.
  • Direct speech: “When are you leaving?”
  • Indirect speech: He asked us when we were leaving .
  • Direct speech: “How will they get here?”
  • Indirect speech: She asked me how they would get here.

When we report a question we normally use the verb ‘ask’. As with the verb ‘to tell’, the verb ‘to ask’ is normally followed by an object pronoun, though it is possible to omit it.

Reporting Orders and Requests

When you give someone an order, you use the imperative form, which means using just the verb without a subject. For example:

  • “ Call me back later.”
  • “ Have a seat.”
  • “ Don’t do that!”

To report an order we use ‘tell’ and the infinitive of the verb. For example:

  • You told me to call you back later.
  • He told me to have a seat.
  • She told us not to do that.

When you make a request, you normally use words like ‘can’, ‘could’, or ‘will’. For example:

  • “Could you call me back later?”
  • “Will you have a seat?”
  • “Can you not do that please?”

To report a request, we use the verb ‘to ask’ and the infinitive form of the verb. For example:

  • You asked me to call you back later.
  • He asked me to have a seat.
  • She asked us not to do that.

Now you’ve seen how we use direct and indirect speech , practice using them yourself. An excellent and easy way to see how they are used is by reading a short story in English or a news article online, because stories and articles contain many examples of reported speech.

Have you heard people talk about the present participle and not been sure what they meant? Find out more here.

There are nine main forms of punctuation that we use frequently when we write. What are they, and how are they used in English? Let’s see!

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Direct and Indirect Speech (Grammar Rules and Great Examples)

Every day, people relay messages from one person to another. Whether it is to prove a point, describe an event, or disclose an opinion, we use the freedom of speech to share information. There are generally two ways of reporting a spoken idea: direct and indirect speech. This article shall explain and compare these two types of speech. Some examples are also provided to give you a more in-depth understanding.

Table of Contents

Direct and Indirect Speech

Both direct and indirect speech are methods to narrate the words spoken by a specific person. The difference between them lies in how they are constructed and in the purpose of using them.

Direct Speech

In a direct speech , the actual words of the speaker are quoted explicitly. It is often used to relay something being said in the present tense. It can also be used to recall the exact words of the speaker when retelling a previous conversation. You can recognize a direct speech instantly because it has a text enclosed in a set of quotation marks. That text or idea is known as the reported speech .

  • He says, “I want to adopt a dog.”
  • Julia asks, “What do you want to have for dinner?”
  • Penny answers, “I would like to have some soup.”
  • “I have a new job,” Kyle says to us.
  • “I will be working as a virtual assistant,” he added.

As you can see, direct speech can be presented in different tenses: past, present, or future. It depends on when the actual words were spoken and when the reporter is retelling them. Also, reporting verbs (say, ask, answer, etc.) are not necessarily placed before the quoted text. You can also place them after it.

This type of speech is often used in writing novels or telling a story. This is because it gives the text a more actual and realistic effect.

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech is usually used to relay what was being said by the speaker without directly quoting the original words. In this case, the tense of the sentence is typically changed. Reporting verbs, such as say, tell, ask, and others, are used as an introduction. The words of the original speaker will not be enclosed inside the quotation marks. Instead, the word “that” is used to connect the reporting verb to the reported text.

  • He says that he wants to adopt a dog.
  • Julia asks Penny what she wants for dinner.
  • Penny answers that she would like to have some soup.
  • Kyle told us that he got a new job.
  • He added that he will be working as a virtual assistant.

The above sentences are actually converted from the previous examples of direct speech. Aside from eliminating the quotation marks, correct pronouns are also used. Additionally, the reporting verbs are now all found before the reported speech. The reporting verb is then followed with “that.”

Converting Direct to Indirect Speech

Now, let us specify the rules in converting direct speech to indirect speech. Here are the steps on how to do so:

1. Eliminate the quotation marks that enclose the relayed text.

The quotation marks are the primary indication of a direct speech. Therefore, it is crucial to take them out if you are forming an indirect one.

2. Retain the tense of the reporting verb and add the word “that” after it.

You have to retain the tense of the reporting verb to allow consistency of reports. Instead of placing a comma to separate the reporting clause from the reported one, the word “that” is added. However, if the reported speech is a yes-no question, you use “if” instead of “that.” If the question starts with who, what, when, where, etc., no additional words are needed. Instead, you have to rearrange the sentence into a declarative form.

  • Direct Speech:  She says, “I want to go to Paris.”
  • Indirect Speech:  She says  that  she wants to go to Paris.
  • Direct Speech:  She asks, “Do you want to go to Paris?”
  • Indirect Speech:  She asks me  if  I want to go to Paris.
  • Direct Speech:  “Ms. Thompson, where are you going?” I asked.
  • Indirect Speech:  I asked Ms. Thompson  where she was going .

3. Change the tense of the verb in the reported speech, if needed.

If the reporting verb is in the past tense, you should change the tense of the verb inside the reported speech into its past tense. This is not necessary if the reporting verb is in the present or future tense.

  • Direct Speech:  He  said , “I am watching a new TV series.”
  • Indirect Speech:  He said that  he was watching  a new TV series.
  • Direct Speech:  He  says , “I am watching a new TV series.”
  • Indirect Speech:  He says that  he is watching  a new TV series.

Of course, you have to consider the correlation between the report and the idea on the quoted text. Sometimes, a change in tense is not needed even if the reporting verb is in the past tense.

  • Direct Speech:  He said, “I will be watching a new TV series.”
  • Indirect Speech:  He said that  he will be watching  a new TV series.
  • Direct Speech:  He said, “I watch TV series every night.”
  • Indirect Speech:  He said that  he watches  TV series every night.

For the first example, the quoted text is still about to happen. So, you don’t need to change the tense of the sentence inside the quotation. For the second example, watching TV series is implied as a habitual action. Therefore, you still have to retain the present tense of the verb.

4. Change the pronouns accordingly.

You should also change the pronoun based on who the speaker, doer, and receiver of the action is.

  • Direct Speech:  Wendy says, “Ron, y ou  should take care of  yourself .”
  • Indirect Speech:  Wendy told Ron that  he  should take care of  himself .

Appropriate changing of pronouns is done to avoid misunderstanding the whole text. If pronouns are not changed, it might confuse the reader or the listener as to who is saying or doing the action.

The change in pronouns gives rise to changes in the plurality of the verb used. That being said, you have to consider and follow correct subject-verb agreement at all times.

Tense Changes in Indirect Speech

Verb tenses changes.

Present Simple Tense into Past Simple Tense

For example:

  • Direct speech: She always wears a coat.
  • Reported speech: He said (that) she always wore a coat.

Present Continuous Tense into Past Continuous Tense

  • Direct speech: I ‘m looking for my keys.
  • Reported speech: She said that she was looking for her keys.

Present Perfect Tense into Past Perfect Tense

  • Direct speech: She has written three letters for her friend.
  • Reported speech: He said she had written three letters for her friend.

Past Simple Tense into Past Perfect Tense

  • Direct speech:   My friend gave me a bar of chocolate.
  • Reported speech: He said that his friend had given him a bar of chocolate.

Past Continuous Tense into  Past   Perfect Continuous Tense

  • Direct speech: We were living in London.
  • Reported speech: They said that they had been living in London.

Past Perfect Tense ( T he tense remains unchanged )

  • Direct speech: The bread had gone stale.
  • Reported speech: She said the bread had gone stale.

Future Simple Tense (e.g. will ) into “ would “

  • Direct speech: I will finish my report in two days.
  • Reported speech: He said that he would finish his report in two days.

Future Progressive Tense (e.g. will be ) into “ would be “

  • Direct speech: I will be making tea.
  • Reported speech: He said (that) he would be making tea.

Future Perfect Tense (e.g. will have ) into “ would have “

  • Direct speech: I will have called a doctor.
  • Reported speech: He said (that) she would have called a doctor.

Future Perfect Tense (e.g. will have been ) into “ would have been “

  • Direct speech:  All the money  will have been  spent.
  • Reported speech: He said (that) all the money would have been spent.

Other Verb Form Changes in Reported Speech

Can into Could

  • Direct speech: I can speak English.
  • Reported speech: She said she could speak English.

Could ( The verb remains unchanged)

  • Direct speech: He could play in the match.
  • Reported speech: They said he could play in the match.

Have to into Had to

  • Direct speech: I have to submit this assignment by 3 pm tomorrow.
  • Reported speech: She said she had to submit this assignment by 3 pm tomorrow.

Must into Must/Had to

  • Direct speech: I must go to the bank and get some money.
  • Reported speech: She said she must / had to go to the bank and get some money.

May into Might

  • Direct speech:  I may invite them to dinner.
  • Reported speech: She said that she  might invite them to the dinner.

Might (The verb remains unchanged)

  • Direct speech: He might get a flight tomorrow.
  • Reported speech: She said he might get a flight the next day.

Should (The verb remains unchanged)

  • Direct speech: I should start a job.
  • Reported speech: She said that she should start a job.

Direct and Indirect Speech | Images

Direct and Indirect Speech: Verb Tense Changes

Direct Speech and Indirect Speech Video

Learn how to convert from direct speech to indirect speech with a video lesson .

Last Updated on October 18, 2023

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40 thoughts on “Direct and Indirect Speech (Grammar Rules and Great Examples)”

Nadia said “this is my son ” Transfer to indirect

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Nadia said that, that was her son.

Nadia said that “he is her son”

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Reported speech

Reported speech is how we represent the speech of other people or what we ourselves say. There are two main types of reported speech: direct speech and indirect speech.

Direct speech repeats the exact words the person used, or how we remember their words:

Barbara said, “I didn’t realise it was midnight.”

In indirect speech, the original speaker’s words are changed.

Barbara said she hadn’t realised it was midnight .

In this example, I becomes she and the verb tense reflects the fact that time has passed since the words were spoken: didn’t realise becomes hadn’t realised .

Indirect speech focuses more on the content of what someone said rather than their exact words:

“I’m sorry,” said Mark. (direct)
Mark apologised . (indirect: report of a speech act)

In a similar way, we can report what people wrote or thought:

‘I will love you forever,’ he wrote, and then posted the note through Alice’s door. (direct report of what someone wrote)
He wrote that he would love her forever , and then posted the note through Alice’s door. (indirect report of what someone wrote)
I need a new direction in life , she thought. (direct report of someone’s thoughts)
She thought that she needed a new direction in life . (indirect report of someone’s thoughts)

Reported speech: direct speech

Reported speech: indirect speech

Reported speech: reporting and reported clauses

Speech reports consist of two parts: the reporting clause and the reported clause. The reporting clause includes a verb such as say, tell, ask, reply, shout , usually in the past simple, and the reported clause includes what the original speaker said.

Reported speech: punctuation

Direct speech.

In direct speech we usually put a comma between the reporting clause and the reported clause. The words of the original speaker are enclosed in inverted commas, either single (‘…’) or double (“…”). If the reported clause comes first, we put the comma inside the inverted commas:

“ I couldn’t sleep last night, ” he said.
Rita said, ‘ I don’t need you any more. ’

If the direct speech is a question or exclamation, we use a question mark or exclamation mark, not a comma:

‘Is there a reason for this ? ’ she asked.
“I hate you ! ” he shouted.

We sometimes use a colon (:) between the reporting clause and the reported clause when the reporting clause is first:

The officer replied: ‘It is not possible to see the General. He’s busy.’

Punctuation

Indirect speech

In indirect speech it is more common for the reporting clause to come first. When the reporting clause is first, we don’t put a comma between the reporting clause and the reported clause. When the reporting clause comes after the reported clause, we use a comma to separate the two parts:

She told me they had left her without any money.
Not: She told me, they had left her without any money .
Nobody had gone in or out during the previous hour, he informed us.

We don’t use question marks or exclamation marks in indirect reports of questions and exclamations:

He asked me why I was so upset.
Not: He asked me why I was so upset?

Reported speech: reporting verbs

Say and tell.

We can use say and tell to report statements in direct speech, but say is more common. We don’t always mention the person being spoken to with say , but if we do mention them, we use a prepositional phrase with to ( to me, to Lorna ):

‘I’ll give you a ring tomorrow,’ she said .
‘Try to stay calm,’ she said to us in a low voice.
Not: ‘Try to stay calm,’ she said us in a low voice .

With tell , we always mention the person being spoken to; we use an indirect object (underlined):

‘Enjoy yourselves,’ he told them .
Not: ‘Enjoy yourselves,’ he told .

In indirect speech, say and tell are both common as reporting verbs. We don’t use an indirect object with say , but we always use an indirect object (underlined) with tell :

He said he was moving to New Zealand.
Not: He said me he was moving to New Zealand .
He told me he was moving to New Zealand.
Not: He told he was moving to New Zealand .

We use say , but not tell , to report questions:

‘Are you going now?’ she said .
Not: ‘Are you going now?’ she told me .

We use say , not tell , to report greetings, congratulations and other wishes:

‘Happy birthday!’ she said .
Not: Happy birthday!’ she told me .
Everyone said good luck to me as I went into the interview.
Not: Everyone told me good luck …

Say or tell ?

Other reporting verbs

The reporting verbs in this list are more common in indirect reports, in both speaking and writing:

Simon admitted that he had forgotten to email Andrea.
Louis always maintains that there is royal blood in his family.
The builder pointed out that the roof was in very poor condition.

Most of the verbs in the list are used in direct speech reports in written texts such as novels and newspaper reports. In ordinary conversation, we don’t use them in direct speech. The reporting clause usually comes second, but can sometimes come first:

‘Who is that person?’ she asked .
‘It was my fault,’ he confessed .
‘There is no cause for alarm,’ the Minister insisted .

Verb patterns: verb + that -clause

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direct and indirect speech examples

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50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech, Example Sentences

Table of Contents

Direct And Indirect Speech Examples

While using English, we use direct and indirect speeches quite often. If a sentence is expressed exactly as it came out of the mouth of the person who said it, it becomes a direct speech. However Indirect Speech (also called reported speech) refers to transmitting a sentence that someone has said. It is often used in daily language.

For example,

  • Susan told me she ate pizza yesterday. (Indirect Speech)

Susan said, “I ate pizza yesterday.”. (Direct Speech)

  • Mathilda told me she had to go out. (Indirect Speech)

Mathilda said: “I have to go out.”. (Direct Speech)

  • Julie asked if the train had left when she arrived at the ticket office. (Indirect Speech)

Julie asked: “Did the train leave?” (Direct Speech)

50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

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89 Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

direct and indirect speech examples

Understand the concept of Direct and Indirect Speech examples with step-by-step guides on how to convert Direct Speech into Indirect Speech and vice versa. Learn how to use the proper tense , pronouns , and modals while converting Direct and Indirect Speech with Examples .

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples are discussed in the following. This will help you to be skilled in Changing Tenses, Pronouns, Time, and Place words from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech with examples in different sentences.

Direct Speech Examples

When a  speech  is quoted with  exact words  used by the speaker is called Direct speech   or  narration .

Direct Speech: Ravi says, “I am tired.”

The speech which is quoted above in actual words (“ I am tired”  is called the  Reported Speech  and the verb (“ says “) that introduces speech is called the  Reporting Verb.  The above  speech  is called  Direct Speech .

Indirect Speech Examples

On the other hand, when the  speech  is reported in the form of a narrative,  without quoting the speaker’s  actual words , it is called Indirect speech   or  narration.

Indirect Speech: Ravi says that He was tired.

The above  speech  is reported in the form of a narrative,  without quoting the speaker’s  actual words , but keeping the meaning the same. So, it is  Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples in sentences

Direct: He said, “You are intelligent.” Indirect: He said that I was intelligent.

Direct: You will say, “I am right.” Indirect: You will say that you are right.

Direct: Rita said, “She is my favourite player.” Indirect: Rita said that she was her favourite player.

Direct: I said to you, ‘I wish to start a business next year.’ Indirect: I told you that I wished to start a business in the following years.

Direct: Mother said to her, “Are you feeling feverish?” Indirect: Mother inquired of her if she was feeling feverish.

Direct: She said to him, ‘Which of the books do you want to buy?’ Indirect: She asked him which of the books he wanted to buy.

Direct: The teacher said, “Boys, go to your classes.” Indirect: The teacher ordered the boys to go to their classes.

Direct: Mother said, ‘May you be happy.’ Indirect: Mother wished that I might be happy.

More Direct & Indirect Speech Resources:

Change of Tenses in Direct and Indirect Speech Examples.

Direct: He says, “You will make a good result.” Indirect: He says that I shall make a good result.

Direct: Mother says, “I made the fish curry.” Indirect: Mother says that She made the fish curry.

Direct: He will say, “I shall be there within an hour.” Indirect: He will say that he will be there for an hour.

Direct: They say, “We won the match.” Indirect: They say that they won the match.

Direct: They said to us, “You make a mistake.” Indirect: They told us that we made a mistake

Direct: The teacher said to us, “Oil floats on water.” Indirect: The teacher told us that oil floats on water

Direct: She said to me, “I am writing a letter now.” Indirect: She told me that she was writing a letter then.

Direct: The doctor said to me, “You have brought the patient in time.” Indirect: The doctor told me that I had brought the patient in time.

Direct: Mother said, “I took tea.” Indirect: Mother said that she had taken tea.

Direct: My friend said to me, “you were doing a good job.” Indirect: My friend told me that I had been doing a good job.

Direct: The man said to me, “I had not seen you before.” Indirect: The man told me that he had not seen me before.

Direct: He said to me, “I shall not do it.” Indirect: He told me that he would not do it.

Direct: He said to me, “My father will visit there.” Indirect: He told me that his father would visit there.

Direct: He said to me, “I can try it.” Indirect: He told me that he could try it.

Direct: He said to me, “You may go .” Indirect: He told me that I might go .

Change of Pronouns Examples from Direct to Indirect Speech

Direct: He said to me, “ I am ill.” Indirect: He told me that he was ill.

Direct: They will say to you, “ We have made it.” Indirect: They will tell you that they have made it.

Direct: You said to him, “ You are not like me.” Indirect: You told him that he was not like you.

Direct: He said to me, “ My name is John.” Indirect: He tells me that his name is John.

Direct: They said to me, “ This is our playground.” Indirect: They told me that that was their playground.

Direct: He says to me, “Elders give us blessings.” Indirect: He tells me that elders give them blessings.

Direct: He said to me, “ You are not smart .” Indirect: He told me that I was not smart.

Direct: She said to him, “ I am not your friend.” Indirect: She told him that she was not his friend.

Direct: He said to us, “ I shall give you money.” Indirect: He told us that he would give us money.

Direct: You said, “ He is right.” Indirect: You said that he was right.

Direct: I said, “ They will be late.” Indirect: I said that they would be late.

Change of Time & Place: Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct: He said to me, “ This is my house.” Indirect: He told me that that was his house.

Direct: She said to him, “ These are golden flowers.” Indirect: She told him that those were golden flowers.

Direct: He said, “I have done it today .” Indirect: He said that he had done it that day.

Direct: She said to him, “I bought the book yesterday .” Indirect: She said that she had the book the previous day.

Direct: They said, ‘We will play now. ‘ Indirect: They said that they would play then .

Direct: You said, ‘ Here lives a lion.’ Indirect: You said that there lived a lion.

Direct: She always says, ‘I like these flowers.’ Indirect: She always says that she likes those flowers.

Direct: He said, ‘I will come here tomorrow. ‘ Indirect: He said that he would go there the next day .

Direct: I said, ‘You will get it today or tomorrow.’ Indirect: I said that you would get it that day or the next day.

Direct: He said to me, ‘ Come here .’ Indirect: He told me to go there.

Direct: He said, ‘I shall go there the day after tomorrow .’ Indirect: He said that he would go there in two day’s time.

Direct: He said to me, ‘I saw your sister two years ago. ‘ Indirect: He told me that he had seen my sister two years before.

Direct: He said to me, “I have no friend here .” Indirect: He told me that he had no friends here.

Direct: I said, ‘We cannot be happy in this world. Indirect: I said that we could not be happy in this world.

Assertive Sentences Examples: Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct: Peter says, “My mother teaches me English.” Indirect: Peter says that his (Peter’s) mother teaches him English.

Direct: Shyam will say, “I have done this work. Indirect: Shyam will say that he has done that work.

Direct: Bappa said to him, “I am ten years old.” Indirect: Bappa told him that he was ten years old.

Direct: Laltu said, “I am watching television now. Indirect: Laltu said that he was watching television then.

Direct: He said to me, “My mother is now sleeping.’ Indirect: He told me that his mother was sleeping then.

Direct: I said, “The teacher has taken me to the task. Indirect: I said that the teacher had taken me to the task.

Direct: Mother said to me, “I have taken the medicine twice today.” Indirect: Mother told me that she had taken the medicine twice that day.

Direct: My sister said to me, “The bird flew away. Indirect: My sister told me that the bird had flown away.

Direct: Namrata said, “They came here yesterday.’ Indirect: Namrata said that they had come there the previous day.

Direct: Jamuna said, “Lalan was listening to my words. Indirect: Jamuna said that Lalan had been listening to her words.

Direct: He said, “I shall take rice.” Indirect: He said that he would take rice.

Direct: They said, “We shall leave for Goa tomorrow.” Indirect: They said that they would leave for Goa the next day.

Direct: Ashisbabu said, “Now we shall start the ceremony.’ Indirect: Ashisbabu said that they should start the ceremony then.

Examples of Universal truth or habitual truth, Historical truth

Direct: Lopa said, “God is almighty.” Indirect: Lopa said that God is almighty.

Direct: Father said, “God is good.” Indirect: Father said that God is good.

Direct: Keats said, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” Indirect: Keats said that beauty is truth, truth beauty.

Direct: The teacher said, “The earth moves round the sun.” Indirect: The teacher said that the earth moves round the sun.

Direct: My grandfather said, “Honesty is the best policy.” Indirect: My grandfather said that honesty is the best policy.

Direct: Father said, “The sun rises in the east.” Indirect: Father said that the sun rises in the east.

Direct: Saurav said, “My grandfather recites the Geeta every morning.” Indirect: Saurav said that his grandfather recites the Geeta every morning.

Direct: Arindam’s uncle said, “I walk for half an hour every afternoon.” Indirect: Arindam’s uncle said that he walks for half an hour every afternoon.

Direct: He said, “Man is mortal.” Indirect: He said that man is mortal.

Direct: The old man said, “God is merciful.” Indirect: The old man said that God is merciful.

Direct: The teacher said, “Ashoka was a great emperor.” Indirect: The teacher said that Ashoka was a great emperor.

Direct: The student answered, “Lord Buddha died in his eightieth year.” Indirect: The student answered that Lord Buddha died in his eightieth year.

Direct: He said, “Babar was the first emperor of the Mughal empire.” Indirect: He said that Babar was the first emperor of the Mughal Empire.

Interrogative Sentences Examples: Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct: The boy said to me. “Is the mango sweet?” Indirect: The boy asked me whether(or, if) the mango was sweet.

Direct: Tanmay said to me, “Are you ill?” Indirect: Tanmay asked me whether (or, if) I was ill.

Direct: I said to him, “Do you know him?” Indirect: I asked him whether he knew him.

Direct: Rabin said to me, “Is there any problem?” Indirect: Rabin enquired of me if there was any problem.

Direct: I said to my brother, “Are you going to school?” Indirect: I asked my brother whether he was going to school.

Direct: The teacher said to the student. Did you come to school yesterday?” Indirect: The teacher enquired of the student whether he (the student) had come to school the day before.

Direct: I said to Binay, “Did you see Palash?” Indirect: I asked Binay whether he (Binay) had seen Palash.

Direct: His mother angrily said to him, “Do you know better than your elder brother?” Indirect: His mother asked him angrily whether he supposed that he knew better than his elder brother.

Direct: The judge said to the accused, “Have you anything to say in justification of your action?” Indirect: The judge wanted to know from the accused if he had anything to say in justification of his action.

Direct: Sadhan said to Nabin, “Have you read the letter?” Indirect: Sadhan asked Nabin if he had read the letter.

Direct: Santosh said to Seema, “Can you lend me a pen?” Indirect: Santosh asked Seema if she could lend him (Santosh) a pen.

Direct: The trainer said to Tarun, “Can you swim?” Indirect: The trainer asked Tarun whether he (Tarun) could swim.

Direct: The poet said, “Real happiness is only a dream.” Indirect: The poet said that real happiness is only a dream.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples of “Wh-word”

Direct: He said to me, “What are you doing?” Indirect: He asked me what I was doing.

Direct: I said to him, “What is your name?” Indirect: I asked him what his name was.

Direct: The passerby said to me, “What is the time now by your watch?” Indirect: The passerby asked me what time it was then by my watch.

Direct: I said to Basu, “Where do you live?” Indirect: I asked Basu where he (Basu) lived.

Direct: Dinu said to Manu, “Where are you going?” Indirect: Dinu asked Manu where he (Manu) was going.

Direct: I said to Gopal, “Where is your pencil box?” Indirect: I enquired of Gopal where his (Gopal’s) pencil box was.

Direct: The passenger asked, “When will the train start?” Indirect: The passenger asked (or, wanted to know) when the train would start.

Direct: Ratan said to me, “How are you?” Indirect: Ratan wanted to know from me how I was.

Direct: Suman said to me, “How did you know this? Indirect: Suman enquired (asked) me how I had known that.

Direct: I said to the policeman, “Why did you strike the boy?” Indirect: I wanted to know from the policeman why he had struck the boy.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples of Imperative Sentences

Direct: The teacher said to the students, “Sit down.” Indirect: The teacher told the students to sit down.

Direct: The commander-in-chief said to the soldiers, “March forward.” Indirect: The commander-in-chief ordered the soldiers to march forward.

Direct: The master said to his servant, Polish my shoes,” Indirect: The master ordered his servant to polish his master’s shoes.

Direct: Ratanbabu said to the man, “Leave the house at once,” Indirect: Ratanbaby ordered the man to leave the house at once.

Direct: The teacher said to his pupils, “Go out.” Indirect: The teacher told his pupils to go out.

Direct: Mother said to me, “Go to school at once.” Indirect: Mother ordered/urged me to go to school that very moment.

Direct: He said to Sujay. “Let’s have a cup of tea. Indirect: He invited Sujay to have a cup of tea with him.

Direct: Sunillbabe said to Sistab. Please lend me some money.” Indirect: Sunilbabe requested Sisibaba to lend him (Sababu) some money.

Direct: Father said, “Go on, apply for the job.” Indirect: Father advised/encouraged me to apply for the job.

Direct: The teacher said to the boy, “Don’t spit on the floor. Indirect: The teacher forbade the boy to spit on the floor.

Direct: I said to my brother, “Do not run in the sun.” Indirect: I advised my brother not to run in the sun. Or I forbade my brother to run in the sun.

Direct: The teacher said to me, “Do not waste time.” Indirect: The teacher advised me not to waste time.

Direct: He said to his sons, “Do not quarrel among yourselves.” Indirect: He advised his sons not to quarrel among themselves.

Direct Speech and Indirect Speech Examples with “Let”

Direct: Mukti said, “Let’s go for a walk.” Indirect: Mukti suggested that they should go for a walk.

Direct: The inspector said to the constable, “Let the man go.” Indirect: The inspector ordered the constable to let the man go.

Direct: Rama said, “Let’s arrange a musical party.” Indirect: Rama suggested that they should arrange a musical party.

Direct: The clergyman said, “The nations of the world should forget their differences and work together for peace.” Indirect: The clergyman suggested that the nations of the world should forget their differences and work together for peace.

Direct: Ramen said, “I must not delay any longer.” Indirect: Ramen said that he ought not to delay any longer.

Direct: He said, “I must return before 5 in the evening.” Indirect: He said that he must (or, would have to) return before 5 in the evening.

Direct: Rima said to me, “You ought to be careful when driving.” Indirect: Nima advised me to be careful when driving.

Direct: My father said, “You ought not to trust a man who is a habitual liar.” Indirect: My father warned me against trusting a man who was a habitual liar

Direct: Father said, “You should not be late in reaching school.” Indirect: Father advised me not to be late in reaching school. Or, Father said that I should not be late in reaching school.

Direct: Somen said, “It might rain tonight.” Indirect: Somen said that it might rain that night, Or Somen said that there was the possibility of rainfall that night,

Optative Sentences Examples

Direct: He said, “May God bless you.’ Indirect: He prayed that God might bless him (or, me).

Direct: The priest said to the accused, “May God pardon your sins.” Indirect: The priest prayed to God that He might pardon his sins (or, the sins of the accused).

Direct: We said, “May Mother Teresa’s soul rest in peace.” Indirect: We prayed that Mother Teresa’s soul might rest in peace.

Direct: The retiring teacher said to his pupils, “I bid all of you goodbye.” Indirect: The retiring teacher bade goodbye (or, farewell) to all his pupils.

Direct: They said, “Long live Netaji.” Indirect: They prayed for Netaji’s long life.

Direct: My grandfather said to me, “May you be happy.” Indirect: My grandfather blessed me wishing that I might be happy. Or. My grandfather blessed me by wishing me a happy life. Or, My grandfather wished that I might be happy.

Direct: His father said to him, “May you prosper.” Indirect: His father wished him prosperity. Or. His father wished that he might prosper.

Direct: Ajay said to his brother, “Welcome home.” Indirect: Ajay bade his brother welcome.

Direct: Rahul said to his playmates, “Good morning, I hope you are quite well.” Indirect: Rahul wished his playmates a good morning and expressed his hope that they were quite well.

Exclamatory Sentences

Direct: The students said, “Hurrah! Our school won the match.” Indirect: The students shouted with delight (exclaimed with joy) that their school had won the match.

Direct: He said, “Alas! I am ruined.” Indirect: He lamented that he was ruined.

Direct: He said, “What a fool I am !” Indirect: He reproached (feata lucuíba) himself for being such a big fool.

Direct: The audience said to the actor, “How wonderful is your acting !” Indirect: The audience expressed to the actor their appreciation of his fine acting.

Direct: Returning from the place of the accident, he said, “What a ghastly sight it was!” Indirect: Returning from the place of the accident he expressed his disgust at the ghastliness of the sight.

Direct: Looking at the Tajmahal the tourist said, “What an exquisitely beautiful creation !” Indirect: Looking at the Tajmahal the tourist exclaimed in wonder that it was indeed an extremely beautiful creation.

Direct: The youth said, “Alas! I am undone by the death of my father.” Indirect: The youth lamented that he was undone by his father’s death.

Direct: The coach of the team said to his players, “Bravo! You have played extremely well.” Indirect: The coach of the team cheered the players and said that they had played extremely well indeed.

Direct: Nabinbabu said to Sajal, “What a pity you could not succeed in spite of such great efforts !” Indirect: Nabinbabu expressed his sympathy for Sajal for not being successful in spite of his great efforts.

More than one sentence

Direct: Sanu said to Sushama over the telephone, “I have got the tickets. Meet me at the station at 6.30 p.m.” Indirect: Sanu informed Sushama over the telephone that he had got the tickets and suggested that she meet him at the station at 6.30 p.m.

Direct: The supervisor of the examination said to the candidates, “Do not forget to put your names at the top of the page. Write down also the roll and the number.” Indirect: The supervisor of the examination advised the candidates not to forget to put their names at the top of the page and also reminded them to write down their roll and number therein.

Direct: Surabhi said to Mohan, “Let’s buy some flour. We will prepare bread at home.’ Indirect: Surabhi suggested to Mohan that they buy some flour and make bread themselves at home.

Direct: My assistant said to me, “You look tired. Why don’t you take a rest for a couple of days?” Indirect: My assistant told me that I looked tired, and suggested that I should take a rest for a couple of days.

Direct: My friend said to me, “Why don’t you open a bank account? I have opened one.” Indirect: My friend advised me to open a bank account and he also informed me that he had opened one.

Frequently Asked Questions Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

Q: What are the 10 examples of direct and indirect speech?

  • Direct Speech: Rohan said, “She works hard.”
  • Indirect Speech: Rohan said that she worked hard
  • Direct Speech: Rohan said, “She is singing a song.”
  • Indirect Speech: Rohan said that she was singing a song.
  • Direct Speech: The guest said shouting, “We have arrived .”
  • Indirect Speech: The guest said shouting that they had arrived.
  • Direct Speech: My sister said, “It has been raining hard for 3 days”.
  • Indirect Speech: My sister said that it had been raining hard for 3 days.
  • Direct Speech: Father said, “I visited the Taj yesterday.”
  • Indirect Speech: Father said that he had visited the Taj the previous day.
  • Direct Speech: Boys said, “They were travelling in the park.”
  • Indirect Speech: Boys said that they had been travelling in the park.
  • Direct Speech: The reporters commented that the Kohinoor had been lost long ago.
  • Indirect Speech: The reporters commented, “The Kohinoor had been lost long ago”.
  • D i rect Speech: Jyotsna said, “ She had been doing the work for 3 hours”.
  • Indirect Speech: Jyotsna said that she had been doing the work for 3 hours.
  • Direct: The boy said to his mother, “ The sun rises in the East”. Indirect: The boy told his mother that the sun rises in the East. [ Universal Truth ]
  • Direct: The monk answered, “ Man is mortal”. Indirect: The monk answered that man is mortal. [ Universal Truth ]

Q: What is direct and indirect speech with examples for Class 5?

Ans: When a sentence is quoted with the exact words used by the speaker, it is called a sentence in Direct Speech.

When the sentence is spoken or written in the form of a narrative without quoting the speaker’s actual words but keeping the meaning the same, it is called a sentence in Indirect Speech .

(1) I said to him that I had once seen him before. Ans: I said to him, “ I once saw you ago.”

(2) She said that she had a dream that night. Ans : She said, “I have a dream tonight.”

(3) The boy said. “We were playing.” Ans: The boy said that they had been playing.

(4) He told me that I should obey my parents. Ans: He said to me, “You will obey your parents.”

(5) Amal said to Bimal, “I gave you, my pen.” Ans: Amal told Bimal that he had given him his pen.

Q: What is the example of direct and indirect speech Class 9?

Ans: Direct: You say, ‘I am always busy.’ Indirect: You say that you are always busy.

Direct: The child will say, ‘Mum knows everything.’ Indirect: The child will say that Mum knows everything.

Direct: He said, ‘I need some money.’ Indirect: He said that he needed some money,

Direct: She said, ‘I am waiting for him.’ Indirect: She said that she was waiting for him.

Q: What are the 5 rules of indirect speech?

Ans: The five rules of indirect speech consist of Assertive sentence, Interrogative Sentence, Imperative Sentence, Optative Sentence, and Exclamatory Sentence.

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100 Examples of direct and indirect speech - wordscoach.com

100 Examples of direct and indirect speech

Direct Speech:- Direct speech is a report of the exact words used by a speaker or writer. Direct speech is usually placed inside quotation marks and accompanied by a reporting verb, signal phrase, or quotative frame.

Indirect Speech:- Transferring the sentence that someone else says is called indirect speech. It is also called reported speech.

Learn more about Words Coach: Vocabulary Application.

Active Voice and Passive Voice

100+ Examples of direct and indirect speech

Direct: What are you doing? Indirect: He asked me what I was doing.

Direct: Today is nice, said George. Indirect: George said that day was nice.

Direct: Listen to me! Indirect: Mother told me to listen to him.

Direct: She said, “I went to the shopping center.” Indirect: She said that she had gone to the shopping center.

Direct: Why are you going to school? Indirect: Mary asked Alex why he was going to school.

Direct: I often have a big meat. Indirect: My son says that he often has a big hamburger.

Direct: He said, “I will wash my teeth”. Indirect: He said he would wash his teeth.

Direct: He said, “I live in the city center.” Indirect: He said he lived in the city center.

Direct: The butcher told us, “We are closing at 7 o’clock.” Indirect: The butcher told us that we were closing at 7 o’clock.

Direct: He asked her, “How often do you work?” Indirect: He asked her how often she worked.

Direct: I don’t understand you. Indirect: Teacher said that he didn’t understand me.

Direct: He works in a bank. Indirect: She said that he worked in a bank.

Direct: He said “I had lived in Paris.” Indirect: He said that she had lived in Paris.

Direct: Must I do the city? Indirect: My sister asked if she had to do the city.

Direct: He said, “I can swim.” Indirect: He said he could swim.

Direct: I’m angry with you. Indirect: My mother said she was angry with me.

Direct: My father is helping me study. Indirect: He said his father was helping his study.

Direct: I didn’t go to the party. Indirect: Alex said that he hadn’t gone to the party.

Direct: Dance with me! Indirect: Maria told me to dance with her.

Direct: I can help you tomorrow. Indirect: She said that she could help me tomorrow.

Direct: Michael asked Tom, “Are you married?” Indirect: Michael asked Tom whether she was married.

Direct: Please wash your hands! Indirect: My father told me to wash my hands.

Direct: Don’t smoke! Indirect: The teacher told us not to smoke.

Direct: I write poems. Indirect: He says that he writes poems.

Direct: She said: “I would buy new house if I were rich”. Indirect: She said that she would buy new house if she had been rich”.

Direct: May I go out? Indirect: She wanted to know if she might go out.

Direct: She is American, she said. Indirect: She said she was American.

Direct: My son, do the exercise.“ Indirect: She told her son to do the exercise.

Direct: I don’t know what to do. Indirect: Samuel added that he didn’t know what to do.

Direct: I am reading a book, he explained. Indirect: He explained that he was reading a book.

Direct: My father said, “I am cooking dinner.” Indirect: My father said he was cooking dinner.

Direct: I said, “He is driving a car” Indirect: I said that he was driving a car.

Direct: I am a doctor he said. Indirect: He said he was a doctor.

Direct: My sister said, “I had already eaten.” Indirect: My sister said she had already eaten.

Direct: I could swim when I was four. Indirect: He said he could swim when he was four.

Direct: George is said, “I write a letter”. Indirect: George is said that she wrote a letter.

Direct: I should call my mother. Indirect: He said he should call her mother.

Direct: I like ice cream. Indirect: He said that he liked ice cream.

Direct: Michael said, “I may go there.’ Indirect: Michael says that she may go there.

Direct: I’II see you later. Indirect: He said he would see me later.

Direct: My boyfriend asked, “Do you like horror films?” Indirect: Do you like horror films? my boyfriend asked.

Direct: I might be late. Indirect: He said he might be late.

Direct: We can´t go the zoo next week. Indirect: They said they couldn’t go to the zoo next week.

Direct: I never get up late, my mother said. Indirect: My mother said that she never got up late.

Direct: He said, “I was teaching earlier.” Indirect: He said he had been teaching earlier.

Direct: Mary said, “I have been writing this essay.” Indirect: Mary said that he had been writing that essay.

Direct: I could swim when I was five. Indirect: My girl friend said (that) she could swim when she was five.

Direct: She said, “I might come early.” Indirect: She said she might come early.

Direct: Michael was ill. Indirect: Michael’s father said (that) Michael had been ill.

Direct: I am leaving home now.” Indirect: He said that he left home then.

Direct: Are you living here? Indirect: He asked me if I was living here.

Direct: I’m going to come. Indirect: She said that she was going to come.

Direct: We can communicate smoothly. Indirect: They said that they could communicate smothly.

Direct: My mother isn’t very well. Indirect: She said that her mother wasn’t very well.

Direct: I need help with my work. Indirect: George said “I need help with my homework.”

Direct: I was walking along the Street. Indirect: He said he had been walking along the Street.

Direct: I haven’t seen George recently. Indirect: She said that she hadn’t seen George recently.

Direct: I would help, but… Indirect: He said he would help but…

Direct: I’m waiting for Michael, she said. Indirect: She said (that) she was waiting for Michael”.

Direct: My parents are very well. Indirect: Alex said that his parents were very well.

Direct: I bought a car. Indirect: He said he bought a car.

Direct: They said, “They have taken exercise.” Indirect: They said that they had taken exercise.

Direct: I am living in Paris. Indirect: He said that he was living in Paris.

Direct: Please don’t be late. Indirect: He asked their not to be late.

Direct: She said; “The exam is difficult. Indirect: She said the test was difficult.

Direct: I can speak perfect Spanish. Indirect: He said he could speak perfect Spanish.

Direct: I haven’t seen Mary. Indirect: He said he hadn’t seen Mary.

Direct: What is your name? she asked me. Indirect: She asked me what my name was.

Direct: I was sleeping when Mary called. Indirect: He said that he had been sleeping when Mary called.

Direct: Please help me! Indirect: He asked me to help his.

Direct: I’m living in Texas now. Indirect: Her father said that he was living in London now.

Direct: “I’ve found a new job,” my mother said. Indirect: My mother said that she had found a new job.

Direct: Go to bed! mother said to the children. Indirect: Mother told the children to go to bed.

Direct: Mark arrived on Sunday, he said. Indirect: He said that Mark had arrived on Sunday.

Direct: I will study”, Mary said. Indirect: I will study”, said Mary.

Direct: The Minister said, “There will be no growth this year.” Indirect: The Minister said that there will be no growth this year.

Direct: I have been to France, she told me. Indirect: She told me that she had been to France.

Direct: She says, “I am ill.” Indirect: She says that she is ill.

Direct: Michael said, “I have finished my lunch.” Indirect: She said that she had finished his lunch.

Direct: I’m sitting on the chair. Indirect: Arya said that she was sitting on the chair.

Direct: My brother said, “I met Alex yesterday.’ Indirect: My brother said that he had met Alex yesterday.

Direct: The dentist said, “Your father doesn’t need an operation.” Indirect: Dentist said that my father doesn’t need an operation.

Direct: He said, “Man is mortal.” Indirect: He said that man is mortal.

Direct: He said, “I like coffee.” Indirect: He said (that) he likes coffee.

Direct: Sansa said “I am very busy now”. Indirect: Sansa said that she was very busy then.

Direct: Everything is going fine. Indirect: The news says that everything is going fine.

Direct: I had taken Spanish lessons before. Indirect: He said he had taken Spanish lessons before.

Direct: Come at 11! Indirect: Alex told me to come at 11.

Direct: He said, “I am a football player.” Indirect: He said that he was a football player.

Direct: My father was born in 1962. Indirect: My father told us that he was born in 1962.

Direct: It is too late. Indirect: I said it was too late.

Direct: Did you do your homework? Indirect: He asked me if I did (had done) my homework.

Direct: I often enjoy myself. Indirect: Mary will say that that she often enjoys herself.

Direct: He said, “he is listening to the music” Indirect: He said that he was listening to the music.

Direct: She said, “I’ve missed my train.” Indirect: She said that she’d missed her train.

Direct: Please help me carry this! Indirect: My mother asked me to help her carry that.

Direct: Michael said, “I will buy a new car.” Indirect: Michael said that she will buy a new car.

Direct: Mercedes is a good car. Indirect: Tom said Mercedes was a good car.

Direct: I’m sorry for the accident. Indirect: Georger told Samuel (that) he was sorry for the accident.

Direct: Mark said, “Bill needs a pencil.” Indirect: Mark said that Bill needed a pencil.

100 Examples of direct and indirect speech - wordscoach.com

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Indirect Speech Definition and Examples

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Indirect speech is a report on what someone else said or wrote without using that person's exact words (which is called direct speech). It's also called indirect discourse or reported speech . 

Direct 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." In fiction writing, using direct speech can display the emotion of an important scene in vivid detail through the words themselves as well as the description of how something was said. In nonfiction writing or journalism, direct speech can emphasize a particular point, by using a source's exact words.

Indirect speech is paraphrasing what someone said or wrote. In writing, it functions to move a piece along by boiling down points that an interview source made. Unlike direct speech, indirect speech is  not  usually placed inside quote marks. However, both are attributed to the speaker because they come directly from a source.

How to Convert

In the first example 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:  Jerry said, "I'm going to buy a new car."
  • Indirect speech:  Jerry said (that) he's going to buy a new car.
  • Direct speech:  Jerry said, "I will buy a new car."
  • Indirect speech:  Jerry 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:  She said, "I'm going to the mall."
  • Indirect speech:  She said (that) she was going to the mall.
  • Indirect speech: She said (that) she is going to the mall.

Other Changes

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

  • Direct speech:  She said,  "I went to the mall."
  • Indirect speech:  She said (that)  she had gone to the mall.

Note the change in first person (I) and second person (your)  pronouns  and  word order  in the indirect versions. The person has to change because the one reporting the action is not the one actually doing it. Third person (he or she) in direct speech remains in the third person.

Free Indirect Speech

In free indirect speech, which is commonly used in fiction, the reporting clause (or signal phrase) is omitted. Using the technique is a way to follow a character's point of view—in third-person limited omniscient—and show her thoughts intermingled with narration.

Typically in fiction italics show a character's exact thoughts, and quote marks show dialogue. Free indirect speech makes do without the italics and simply combines the internal thoughts of the character with the narration of the story. Writers who have used this technique include James Joyce, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Zora Neale Hurston, and D.H. Lawrence.  

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English Grammar Here

50 examples of direct and indirect speech.

English Direct and Indirect Speech Example Sentences, 50 examples of direct and indirect speech

English Direct and Indirect Speech Example Sentences, 50 examples of direct and indirect speech

Transferring the sentence that someone else says is called  indirect speech . It is also called  reported speech . Usually, it is used in spoken language . If the transmitted action is done in the past, the sentence becomes the past tense.

Here are 50 examples of direct and indirect speech

1. Direct : Today is nice, said George. Indirect : George said that day was nice.

2. Direct : He asked her, “How often do you work?” Indirect : He asked her how often she worked.

3. Direct : He works in a bank. Indirect : She said that he worked in a bank.

6. Direct : I often have a big meat. Indirect : My son says that he often has a big hamburger.

7. Direct : Dance with me! Indirect : Maria told me to dance with her.

8. Direct : Must I do the city? Indirect : My sister asked if she had to do the city.

9. Direct : Please wash your hands! Indirect : My father told me to wash my hands.

10. Direct : She said, “I went to the shopping center.” Indirect : She said that she had gone to the shopping center.

11. Direct : I write poems. Indirect : He says that he writes poems.

12. Direct : She said: “I would buy new house if I were rich”. Indirect : She said that she would buy new house if she had been rich”.

13. Direct : May I go out? Indirect : She wanted to know if she might go out.

14. Direct : She is American, she said. Indirect : She said she was American.

15. Direct : My son, do the exercise.“ Indirect : Sh told her son to do the exercise.

16. Direct : I don’t know what to do. Indirect : Samuel added that he didn’t know what to do.

17. Direct : I am reading a book, he explained. Indirect : He explained that he was reading a book.

18. Direct : My father said, “I am cooking dinner.” Indirect : My father said he was cooking dinner.

21. Direct : I never get up late, my mother said. Indirect : My mother said that she never got up late.

22. Direct : She said, “I might come early.” Indirect : She said she might come early.

23. Direct : I am leaving home now.” Indirect : He said that he left home then.

24. Direct : Are you living here? Indirect : He asked me if I was living here.

25. Direct : I’m going to come. Indirect : She said that she was going to come.

26. Direct : We can communicate smoothly. Indirect : They said that they could communicate smothly.

27. Direct : My mother isn’t very well. Indirect : She said that her mother wasn’t very well.

28. Direct : I need help with my work. Indirect : George said “I need help with my homework.”

29. Direct : I was walking along the Street. Indirect : He said he had been walking along the Street.

30. Direct : I haven’t seen George recently. Indirect : She said that she hadn’t seen George recently.

31. Direct : I would help, but… Indirect : He said he would help but…

32. Direct : I’m waiting for Michael, she said. Indirect : She said (that) she was waiting for Michael”.

33. Direct : They said, “They have taken exercise.” Indirect : They said that they had taken exercise.

34. Direct : I can speak perfect Spanish. Indirect : He said he could speak perfect Spanish.

35. Direct : I haven’t seen Mary. Indirect : He said he hadn’t seen Mary.

36. Direct : What is your name? she asked me. Indirect : She asked me what my name was.

37. Direct : I was sleeping when Mary called. Indirect : He said that he had been sleeping when Mary called.

38. Direct : Please help me! Indirect : He asked me to help his.

39. Direct : “I’ve found a new job,” my mother said. Indirect : My mother said that she had found a new job.

40. Direct : Go to bed! mother said to the children. Indirect : Mother told the children to go to bed.

41. Direct : Mark arrived on Sunday, he said. Indirect : He said that Mark had arrived on Sunday.

44. Direct : My brother said, “I met Alex yesterday.’ Indirect : My brother said that he had met Alex yesterday.

45. Direct : The dentist said, “Your father doesn’t need an operation.” Indirect : Dentist said that my father doesn’t need an operation.

46. Direct : He said, “Man is mortal.” Indirect : He said that man is mortal.

47. Direct : Sansa said “I am very busy now”. Indirect : Sansa said that she was very busy then.

48. Direct : He said, “I am a football player.” Indirect : He said that he was a football player.

49. Direct : Michael said, “I will buy a new car.” Indirect : : Michael said that she will buy a new car.

50. Direct : Mark said, “Bill needs a pencil.” Indirect : : Mark said that Bill needed a pencil.

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Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, Exercises, Worksheet_00.1

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, Rules, Exercises with Answers, WorkSheet

Understanding the Direct and Indirect Speech examples and rules is crucial for English grammar. Practice all the Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, worksheet and the rules with examples here.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, Exercises, Worksheet_20.1

Table of Contents

Direct and Indirect Speech examples: The concept of indirect and direct speech is one of the fundamental concepts in English Grammar. As language is used to convey our thoughts and feelings to others, the concept of speech becomes even more important from the language perspective. When you use direct speaking, you repeat exactly what someone has stated. To indicate where the speaker’s words begin and end, you use quotation marks. When you report what someone has said without using their exact words, you are utilizing indirect speaking. You do not use quotation marks, and you modify the speaker’s words to fit the grammar and punctuation of the sentence in which they are reported. Here we discussed some direct and indirect speech examples which are very useful for board exams and other one-day exams.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

Here are some direct and indirect speech examples are given below:

Direct Speech Examples:

  • “I am going to the store,” said Sarah.
  • “It’s a beautiful day,” exclaimed John.
  • “Please turn off the lights,” Mom told me.
  • “I will meet you at the library,” said Tom.
  • “We are going to the beach tomorrow,” announced Mary.

Indirect Speech Examples:

  • Sarah said that she was going to the store.
  • John exclaimed that it was a beautiful day.
  • Mom told me to please turn off the lights.
  • Tom said that he would meet me at the library.
  • Mary announced that they were going to the beach the next day.

Remember, when converting from direct to indirect speech:

  • Change the pronouns to match the subject of the reporting clause.
  • Adjust the tense of the reported verb (usually one step back in time).
  • Modify time expressions (today -> that day, tomorrow -> the next day, etc.).
  • Use reporting verbs such as “said,” “told,” “asked,” “exclaimed,” etc.
  • If the sentence is a question, change it to a statement and use the appropriate reporting verb.

Indirect speech is used when reporting what someone else said without quoting their exact words. It is essential to pay attention to the changes in pronouns, tenses, and reporting verbs to convey the speaker’s original message accurately.

Direct and Indirect Speech Meaning

Since all sentences are constructed, spoken, and written using either direct or indirect speech, as was previously mentioned, this is significant. When we need to repeat a remark or action of someone via written or verbal communication, we employ both direct and indirect speech. It is employed to provide a direct-indirect description of what someone stated. Before proceeding to the Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises and Examples

Direct Speech

Direct speech repeats or quotes what has been expressed or spoken. We may need to quote something spoken by a third person while speaking to another. Direct speech is used when a third party is directly cited. Inverted commas (” “) are used to write sentences in direct speech. The cited statement or sentence is written between the commas.

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech or reported speech is typically used to discuss the past, therefore we modify the tense of the words uttered into. We employ reporting verbs such as ‘tell,”say,’ and ‘ask,’ and the word ‘that’ can be used to introduce the reported in place of (” “) Direct and indirect speech introduces the concepts of’reported speech’ and’reported verb’.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, Exercises, Worksheet_30.1

Direct Speech Examples

Direct and Indirect Speech are the two types of speech that are used to explain with examples what other people say (or reported Speech).

Direct Speech: Direct speech is exactly what it sounds like: text that records a person’s exact words as they were spoken at the moment. In order for the reader to realise that the quoted text is the speaker’s own story, it is frequently surrounded by quotation marks.

some examples of direct speech:

  • Statement: She said, “I will be there by 5 PM.”
  • Question: He asked, “Have you finished the report?”
  • Command: The coach shouted, “Run faster!”
  • Exclamation: Mary exclaimed, “What a beautiful sunset!”
  • Request: Tom said, “Please pass me the salt.”
  • Response: John said, “Yes, I can help you with that.”
  • Assertion: Sarah declared, “I’m confident that I can do this.”
  • Expression of Emotion: Jane cried, “I’m so happy for you!”
  • Confirmation: The teacher asked, “Is everyone ready for the test?”
  • Offer: Mike said, “Would you like some more coffee?”

Indirect Speech Examples

Indirect Speech: The terms reported speech, indirect narration, and indirect speech are all used to describe indirect communication. Indirect speech is the term used in grammar to describe when you describe someone else’s statement in your own words without changing the statement’s meaning.

some examples of direct speech transformed into indirect speech:

  • Indirect Speech: She said that she was going to the store.
  • Indirect Speech: He said that he would call me later.
  • Indirect Speech: They said that they had finished their project.
  • Indirect Speech: She said that it was raining outside.
  • Indirect Speech: He exclaimed that he loved that song.
  • Indirect Speech: She asked if I could help her with her homework.
  • Indirect Speech: They told us that they were going to the party.
  • Indirect Speech: He said that he wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting.
  • Indirect Speech: She requested me to pass her the salt.
  • Indirect Speech: He admitted that he hadn’t seen the movie.
  • Indirect Speech: They informed us that the concert started at 7 PM.
  • Indirect Speech: She explained that she had been working on that project.
  • Indirect Speech: He warned not to touch that.
  • Indirect Speech: She promised to meet me at the cafe.
  • Indirect Speech: They assured us that they could solve that problem.

Indirect speech is commonly used in writing, conversations, and storytelling to report what someone else has said in a more contextual and flowing manner.

10 Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

  • Direct: She said, “I am going to the store.” Indirect: She said that she was going to the store.
  • Direct: He asked, “Have you completed your homework?” Indirect: He asked if I had completed my homework.
  • Direct: They exclaimed, “We won the match!” Indirect: They exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.
  • Direct: The teacher said, “The exam will be on Friday.” Indirect: The teacher announced that the exam would be on Friday.
  • Direct: She whispered, “I have a secret.” Indirect: She whispered that she had a secret.
  • Direct: He complained, “I haven’t had any coffee today.” Indirect: He complained that he hadn’t had any coffee that day.
  • Direct: The child asked, “Can I have some ice cream?” Indirect: The child asked if he could have some ice cream.
  • Direct: She said, “I don’t like spinach.” Indirect: She said that she didn’t like spinach.
  • Direct: He warned, “Be careful with that glass!” Indirect: He warned me to be careful with that glass.
  • Direct: The manager announced, “The meeting is postponed.” Indirect: The manager announced that the meeting was postponed.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, Exercises, Worksheet_40.1

Change into Indirect Speech Answer

we can easily change into indirect speech answer examples are given below.

Direct speech – Reporting the message of the Speaker in the exact words as spoken by him.

Direct speech example : Suman said ‘I am busy now’.

Indirect speech : Reporting the message of the Speaker in our own words

Indirect speech example: Suman said that she was busy then.

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples Rules

Below we have mentioned some rules for converting direct speech into indirect speech. These rules will help students in mastering this topic.

Rule 1: All present tenses in indirect speech are converted to the matching past tense when the reporting verb in direct speech is in the past tense

For example, Direct: She said , ‘I am sad’.

Indirect: She said that she was happy

Rule 2: The tenses of the direct speech are not changed if the words used are within double quotes (“”) or the reporting verb is in the present or future tense

Direct: He said, ” Humans are social animals”

Indirect: He said that Humans are social animals.

Direct: He says/will say, ‘I am running’

Indirect: He says/will say he is running

Rule 3: Past Tense and Future Tense Conversion

The past tense and future tense will change in the following tense in indirect speech.

  • Simple past changes to Past Perfect
  • Past Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous
  • Simple Future Changes to Present Conditional
  • Future Continuous to Conditional Continuous

Rule 4: Interrogative sentences starting with Wh questions do not require a joining clause (conjunction) while converting into indirect speech. They act as a joining clause. Said/Said to changes into demanded, inquired, or asked

Direct: The boy asked, “Where do you live?”

Indirect: The boy inquired where I lived

Rule 5: Interrogative sentences starting with a helping verb or auxiliary verb, while converting them into indirect speech, joining clause “if” or “whether” is used.

Direct: She said, ‘Will you go home?’

Indirect: She asked whether we would go home.

Learn: Rules of Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech Examples: Important for Board Exams

Understanding Direct and Indirect Speech with Examples is the most significant component of English Grammar since direct and indirect speech construct questions in many competitive tests as well as in the board exams.

Direct and Indirect Speech Conversion – Present Tense Examples

Simple Present to Simple Past

Direct: “I am happy”, he said. Indirect: He said that he was happy.

Present Continuous to Past Continuous

Direct: “I am playing football”, she said. Indirect: She said that she was playing football.

Present Perfect to Past Perfect

Direct: He said, “she has completed her work”. Indirect: He said that she had completed her work.

Present Perfect Continuous to Past Perfect Continuous

Direct: “I have been to San Francisco”, She told me. Indirect: She told me that she had been to San Francisco.

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Direct and Indirect speech conversion – Past Tense Examples

Simple Past to Past Perfect

Direct: “I did the work”, he said. Indirect: He said that he had done the work.

Past Continuous to Past Perfect Continuous

Direct: “I was reading a novel”, she said. Indirect: She said that she had been reading a novel.

Direct and Indirect Speech Conversion – Interrogative Sentences Examples

Direct: “Where do you stay?” asked the boy. Indirect: The boy enquired where I stayed.

Note: While changing the interrogative sentence into indirect speech remove the question mark ‘?’.

Direct: She said, “Will you come to the party?” Indirect: She asked whether I would come to the party.

Note: While changing the interrogative sentence reporting verbs (verbs used in the first part) such as ‘said/ said to’ changes to enquired, asked, or demanded.

Direct and Indirect Speech Conversion- Modals Examples

  • Can becomes Could
  • May changes to Might
  • Must change to had to /Would have to
  • Will changes would
  • Direct: She said, “Her sister can dance.”
  • Indirect: She said that her sister could dance.
  • Direct: They said, “We may go to the party.”
  • Indirect: They said that they might buy a dress.
  • Direct: Rahul  said, “I must complete the work on time.”
  • Indirect: Rahul said that he had to complete the work on time.

Note: Could, Would, Should, Might, and Ought to modal verbs do not change.

Direct and Indirect Speech Conversion- Pronoun Examples

The first person in the direct speech changes as per the subject of the sentence.

Direct: My brother said, “I am in class Twelfth.” Indirect: My brother said that he was in class Twelfth.

The second person of direct speech changes as per the object of reporting speech.

Direct: She says to her students, “You have done your work.” Indirect: She tells them that they have done their work.

The third person of direct speech doesn’t change.

Direct: My friend says, “She dances well.” Indirect: My friend says that she dances well.

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises 1: Convert the following sentences from direct speech to indirect speech.

  • Direct: She said, “I am going to the park.” Indirect: She said that she was going to the park.
  • Direct: “I love ice cream,” he exclaimed. Indirect: He exclaimed that he loved ice cream.
  • Direct: “We will visit the museum tomorrow,” they told us. Indirect: They told us that they would visit the museum the next day.
  • Direct: “I have completed my homework,” said Jane. Indirect: Jane said that she had completed her homework.
  • Direct: “It’s raining outside,” he said. Indirect: He said that it was raining outside.

Direct and Indirect speech Exercises 2: Rewrite the following paragraph in indirect speech.

Direct: “I can’t come to the party,” Lisa said. “I have a doctor’s appointment. Peter won’t be able to make it either. He’s stuck in traffic. But we hope you all have a fantastic time.”

Indirect: Lisa said that she couldn’t come to the party as she had a doctor’s appointment. She also mentioned that Peter wouldn’t be able to make it as he was stuck in traffic. However, they hoped that everyone would have a fantastic time.

Direct and Indirect speech Exercises 3: Convert the following questions from direct speech to indirect speech.

  • Direct: She asked, “Are you coming to the meeting?” Indirect: She asked if I was coming to the meeting.
  • Direct: “Will they finish the project on time?” he wondered. Indirect: He wondered if they would finish the project on time.
  • Direct: “Can you pass me the salt?” she asked her friend. Indirect: She asked her friend if she could pass her the salt.
  • Direct: “Have you seen my keys?” he inquired. Indirect: He inquired if I had seen his keys.
  • Direct: “Did they enjoy the movie?” he asked. Indirect: He asked if they had enjoyed the movie.

Remember to change the pronouns, tenses, time expressions, and other relevant changes when converting from direct to indirect speech. Practicing these exercises will help you become more proficient in reporting speech accurately.

50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises

50 examples of direct and indirect speech exercises are given below. Read 50 examples of direct and indirect speech exercises to improve your practice

  • Direct : The weather is nice today, said George. Indirect : George said that the weather was nice that day.
  • Direct : He asked her, “How often do you play?” Indirect : He asked her how often she played.
  • Direct : She said, “I work in a bank.” Indirect : She said that she worked in a bank.
  • Direct: My mother said , “ I’m angry with you.” Indirect : My mother said she was angry with me.
  • Direct : She said’ “I can help you tomorrow.” Indirect : She said that she could help me tomorrow.
  • Direct : My son says, “I will not eat food.” Indirect : My son says that he will not eat food.
  • Direct : “Dance with me!” Maria said to me Indirect : Maria told me to dance with her.
  • Direct : Must I do the city? Indirect : My sister asked if she had to do the city.
  • Direct : Please wash your hands! Indirect : My father told me to wash my hands.
  • Direct : She said, “I went to the shopping center.” Indirect : She said that she had gone to the shopping center.
  • Direct : I write poems. Indirect : He says that he writes poems.
  • Direct : She said: “I would buy new house if I were rich”. Indirect : She said that she would buy new house if she had been rich”.
  • Direct : May I go out? Indirect : She wanted to know if she might go out.
  • Direct : She is American, she said. Indirect : She said she was American.
  • Direct : My son, do the exercise.“ Indirect : Sh told her son to do the exercise.
  • Direct : I don’t know what to do. Indirect : Samuel added that he didn’t know what to do.
  • Direct : I am reading a book, he explained. Indirect : He explained that he was reading a book.
  • Direct : My father said, “I am cooking dinner.” Indirect : My father said he was cooking dinner.
  • Direct : My sister said, “I had already eaten.” Indirect : My sister said she had already eaten.
  • Direct : My boyfriend asked, “Do you like horror films?” Indirect : Do you like horror films? my boyfriend asked.
  • Direct : I never get up late, my mother said. Indirect : My mother said that she never got up late.
  • Direct : She said, “I might come early.” Indirect : She said she might come early.
  • Direct : I am leaving home now.” Indirect : He said that he left home then.
  • Direct : Are you living here? Indirect : He asked me if I was living here.
  • Direct : I’m going to come. Indirect : She said that she was going to come.
  • Direct : We can communicate smoothly. Indirect : They said that they could communicate smoothly.
  • Direct : My mother isn’t very well. Indirect : She said that her mother wasn’t very well.
  • Direct : I need help with my work. Indirect : George said “I need help with my homework.”
  • Direct : I was walking along the Street. Indirect : He said he had been walking along the Street.
  • Direct : I haven’t seen George recently. Indirect : She said that she hadn’t seen George recently.
  • Direct : I would help, but… Indirect : He said he would help but…
  • Direct : I’m waiting for Michael, she said. Indirect : She said (that) she was waiting for Michael”.
  • Direct : They said, “They have taken exercise.” Indirect : They said that they had taken exercise.
  • Direct : I can speak perfect Spanish. Indirect : He said he could speak perfect Spanish.
  • Direct : I haven’t seen Mary. Indirect : He said he hadn’t seen Mary.
  • Direct : What is your name? she asked me. Indirect : She asked me what my name was.
  • Direct : I was sleeping when Mary called. Indirect : He said that he had been sleeping when Mary called.
  • Direct : Please help me! Indirect : He asked me to help his.
  • Direct : “I’ve found a new job,” my mother said. Indirect : My mother said that she had found a new job.
  • Direct : Go to bed! mother said to the children. Indirect : The mother told the children to go to bed.
  • Direct : Mark arrived on Sunday, he said. Indirect : He said that Mark had arrived on Sunday.
  • Direct : I have been to France, she told me. Indirect : She told me that she had been to France.
  • Direct : Michael said, “I have finished my lunch.” Indirect : She said that she had finished his lunch.
  • Direct : My brother said, “I met Alex yesterday.’ Indirect : My brother said that he had met Alex yesterday.
  • Direct : The dentist said, “Your father doesn’t need an operation.” Indirect : The dentist said that my father doesn’t need an operation.
  • Direct : He said, “Man is mortal.” Indirect : He said that man is mortal.
  • Direct : Sansa said, “I am very busy now”. Indirect : Sansa said that she was very busy then.
  • Direct : He said, “I am a football player.” Indirect : He said that he was a football player.
  • Direct : Michael said, “I will buy a new car.” Indirect : Michael said that she will buy a new car.
  • Direct : Mark said, “Bill needs a pencil.” Indirect : Mark said that Bill needed a pencil.

Reported Speech Examples with Answers

Example 1: Direct Speech: “I am going to the party tonight,” she said. Reported Speech: She said that she was going to the party tonight.

Example 2: Direct Speech: “We have been working on this project for months,” they exclaimed. Reported Speech: They exclaimed that they had been working on that project for months.

Example 3: Direct Speech: “He will come back tomorrow,” he assured us. Reported Speech: He assured us that he would come back the next day.

Example 4: Direct Speech: “I won’t be able to attend the meeting,” she told him. Reported Speech: She told him that she wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting.

Example 5: Direct Speech: “They had already left,” he informed me. Reported Speech: He informed me that they had already left.

Example 6: Direct Speech: “I didn’t see her at the event,” John said. Reported Speech: John said that he hadn’t seen her at the event.

Example 7: Direct Speech: “We’re planning a surprise for you,” they whispered. Reported Speech: They whispered that they were planning a surprise for me.

Example 8: Direct Speech: “It’s raining outside,” she observed. Reported Speech: She observed that it was raining outside.

Example 9: Direct Speech: “I have finished my homework,” he mentioned. Reported Speech: He mentioned that he had finished his homework.

Example 10: Direct Speech: “I am reading a great book,” she told me. Reported Speech: She told me that she was reading a great book.

Remember that in reported speech, the tense may shift back (usually one tense back) from the original direct speech, and some pronoun changes might occur depending on the context. Also, changes in time expressions, adverbs, and demonstratives might be necessary.

Direct and Indirect Speech Worksheet

Direct and indirect speech worksheet is a great way to practice and understand how reported speech works in English. Below, you’ll find a worksheet with exercises designed to test knowledge of converting sentences from direct to indirect speech and vice versa.

Instructions: Convert the following sentences from direct speech to indirect speech, and vice versa. Make sure to change the tense, pronouns, and time expressions where necessary.

Part A: Convert from Direct to Indirect Speech

  • She said, “I am reading a book.”
  • He said, “I will go to the park tomorrow.”
  • The teacher said, “The Earth revolves around the Sun.”
  • “I have finished my homework,” said John.
  • The doctor said, “You need to take this medicine twice a day.”

Part B: Convert from Indirect to Direct Speech

  • She said that she had been waiting for the bus since morning.
  • He told me that he was going to visit his grandparents the next day.
  • They said that they had seen the movie the previous week.
  • She mentioned that she could play the piano.
  • The boy exclaimed that he had won the race.
  • She said that she was reading a book.
  • He said that he would go to the park the next day.
  • The teacher said that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
  • John said that he had finished his homework.
  • The doctor said that I needed to take that medicine twice a day.
  • “I have been waiting for the bus since morning,” she said.
  • “I am going to visit my grandparents tomorrow,” he told me.
  • “We saw the movie last week,” they said.
  • “I can play the piano,” she mentioned.
  • “I have won the race!” the boy exclaimed.

This worksheet covers basic transformations between direct and indirect speech, focusing on the changes in verb tenses, pronouns, and time expressions. Adjustments in complexity can be made to cater to different learning levels.

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Q. How do you know if a speech is direct or indirect?

Ans. Direct speech is exactly what it sounds like: text that records a person's exact words as they were spoken at the moment. Indirect speech is used to describe someone else's statement in your own words without changing the statement's meaning.

Q. Why do we use indirect speech?

Ans. Indirect speech is used to report what someone may have said, so it is always used in the past tense.

Q. What are the two parts of direct speech?

Ans. The two parts of direct speech are reporting verb and reported speech.

Q. Why do we learn direct and indirect speech?

Ans. Direct speech reveals the tone and moods of the characters. Indirect speech, if not used properly, creates a distance between the utterance and the reader's perception of it.

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Direct and Indirect Speech: Definitions, Examples, Exercises and Rules

Direct and indirect speech: this article brings to you complete details about direct and indirect speech. find definitions of direct and indirect speech, conversion exercises, examples, rules, and much more. through this article, we aim to teach you the basics of direct and indirect speech, while also imparting the correct method of doing related exercises. .

Tanisha Agarwal

Direct Speech Definition

While speaking to another person, we might have to quote something the third person has said. If the third person is being directly quoted, then it is called direct speech. In order to write a sentence in direct speech, inverted commas are used (“ “). The statement or sentence that is to be quoted is written in between the commas. For example: Ram said, “I am working on the project right now”.

Direct Speech Examples

  • "Can I borrow the book", he said
  • "Where do you live?"
  • "I had pizza yesterday", Rita said

Indirect Speech Examples

  • He asked if he could borrow the book
  • He asked me where I lived
  • Rita said that she had pizza yesterday

Indirect Speech Definition

If the third person is being quoted indirectly, without using his exact words or phrases, then the speech is said to be indirect. For indirect speech, inverted commas are not used and the sentences are written in the third form, referring to the third person. For example: Ram said that he was working on the project at that time. While converting direct speech into indirect speech, the form of tense and subject are changed. One important aspect is to keep the meaning of the sentence intact.

Difference between Direct and Indirect Speech

Rules of direct and indirect speech.

There are some important rules for writing direct and indirect speeches and for conversion of the two. These are important for forming correct sentences. Check all the rules for direct and indirect speech here.

Rules for Converting Direct Speech into Indirect Speech

1. While converting direct speech into indirect speech, remove the inverted commas and replace them with that.

For example: Riya said, “I am honest”. (Direct)

                             Riya said that……. (Indirect)

2. If the quote or message under inverted commas is a universal truth or a habitual action, then the tense remains the same.

3. If the reporting verb of the sentence is in the present tense, then the tense remains unchanged.

     For example: He says” There are eight planets in the world”. (Direct)

                                   He says that there are eight planets in the world. (Indirect)

4. If the reporting verb of the sentence is in past tense, the reporting speech will be changed to past tense.

For Example: Rahul said, “He is playing” (direct)

  • Simple present gets converted to simple past
  • Present Continuous gets converted to past continuous
  • Present Perfect gets converted to past perfect
  • Present Perfect Continuous gets converted to Past Perfect Continuous
  • Simple Past gets converted to Past Perfect
  • Past Continuous gets converted to Past Perfect Continuous
  • Will gets changed to would
  • May gets changed to might
  • Can gets changed to could
  • Shall gets changed to should

5. While converting direct speech into indirect speech, the subject in the reported speech gets changed to pronouns, as present in the reporting verb.

For Example: She said “I am smart” (Direct)

                              She said that she is smart (indirect)

 6. If there’s a mention of time in the reported speech, then the way of referring to that particular time gets changed in indirect speech.

For example: Rita said “I will be going to the temple tomorrow” (Direct)

  • Today gets changed to that day
  • Tomorrow gets changed to the next day or the following day
  • Yesterday gets changed to the previous day
  • Now changes to Then
  • Tonight changes to that night
  • Yesterday night changes to the previous night
  • Tomorrow night changes to the following night
  • Here changes to There

7. If a sentence in direct speech starts with a question, no conjunction will be used while converting it into indirect speech and the question mark will be removed.

For Example: “What are you doing” asked Riya (Direct)

                              Riya asked me what I was doing. (Indirect)

8. If a sentence in direct speech starts with a helping verb/auxiliary verb, then the joining clause gets changed to if/whether. During conversion, if the reporting verb has words like said or said to, then it gets changed to asked/enquired/demanded, depending on the nature of the sentence.

For Example: He asked me “Do you listen to Hindi music?” (Direct)

                              He asked me if I listen to Hindi music

9. Interjections are removed while converting direct speech into indirect speech. The sentence is turned into an assertive sentence.

For example: Riya said, “Wow, I won the competition”. (Direct)

  Rules for converting Indirect Speech into Direct Speech

  • While converting Indirect speech into direct speech, put a comma before the statement starts and put the first letter of the statement in the capital.
  • You can use question marks, quotations, commas, and exclamations on the basis of the nature of the sentence.
  • Avoid the usage of conjunctions. Use only when necessary.
  • Change the past tense into the present tense, while converting.
  • Change past perfect tense either into present perfect tense or past tense (based on the need).
  • Use say, said to effectively. Ensure that the meaning of the sentence is not tweaked.

Direct to Indirect Speech Conversion Exercise with Answers

1. He said, “I arrived before you”.

Answer. He said that he had arrived before you.

2. Harish said, “I have a headache today”.

Answer. Harish said that he had a headache that day.

3. He asked me, “When are you leaving?”

Answer. He questioned me when I was leaving.

4. Rahul said, “Can you call me back later?”

Answer. Rahul asked me if I could call him back later.

5. Mom said to me, “May God Bless you”.

Indirect to Direct Speech Conversion Exercise with Answers

1. She asked whether I would come to the sun festival

Answer. She said, “Will you come to the Sun Festival?”.

2. My friend says that she dances well.

Answer. My friend says, “She dances well”.

3. Ram said that he was walking alone on the street the previous night.

Answer. Ram said, “I was walking alone on the street yesterday night”.

 4. He enquired me if I reach home by 9 PM every day.

Answer. He asked me, “Do you reach home by 9 PM every day?”.

5. The boy said that he has a habit of biting nails.

Answer. The boy said, “I have a habit of biting nails”.

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Rules For Direct And Indirect Speech For English Language

In this article, we will cover important rules of direct and indirect speech, relevant for the English Language section of various competitive exams. 

Aspirants of various Government exams such as SSC, RRB, IBPS, Insurance, etc. must go through the concept and rules of direct – indirect speech carefully, as the English language is a part of the syllabus for most of these exams.  

What is Direct & Indirect Speech?

Direct speech – reporting the message of the speaker in the exact words as spoken by him.

Direct speech example : Maya said ‘I am busy now’.

Indirect speech : reporting the message of the speaker in our own words 

Indirect speech example:  Maya said that she was busy then.

Let us understand the direct and indirect rules with examples and for all tenses so that you can apply them correctly, without making any mistakes in the exams.

Direct And Indirect Speech Rules PDF:- Download PDF Here

Direct And Indirect Speech Rules

Rules for converting Direct into Indirect speech

To change a sentence of direct speech into indirect speech there are various factors that are considered, such as reporting verbs, modals, time, place, pronouns, tenses, etc. We will discuss each of these factors one by one.

Rule 1 – Direct To Indirect Speech Conversion – Reporting Verb

  • When the reporting verb of direct speech is in past tense then all the present tenses are changed to the corresponding past tense in indirect speech. 

Direct to indirect speech example: 

Direct: She said , ‘I am happy’.

Indirect: She said (that) she was happy.

  • In indirect speech, tenses do not change if the words used within the quotes (‘’) talk of a habitual action or universal truth.

Direct to indirect speech example:

Direct: He said, ‘We cannot live without air’.

Indirect: He said that we cannot live without air. 

  • The tenses of direct speech do not change if the reporting verb is in the  future tense or present tense . 

Direct: She says/will say, ‘I am going’

Indirect: She says/will say she is going.

Rule 2 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech conversion – Present Tense  

  • Present Perfect Changes to Past Perfect.

Direct: “I have been to Boston”, she told me.

Indirect: She told me that she had been to Boston.

  • Present Continuous Changes to Past Continuous

Direct: “I am playing the guitar”, she explained.

Indirect: She explained that she was playing the guitar.

  • Present Perfect Changes to Past Perfect

Direct: He said, “She has finished her homework“.

Indirect: He said that she had finished her homework.

  • Simple Present Changes to Simple Past

Direct: “I am unwell”, she said.

Indirect: She said that she was unwell.

Rule 3 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech conversion – Past Tense & Future Tense

  • Simple Past Changes to Past Perfect

Direct: She said, “Irvin arrived on Sunday.”

Indirect: She said that Irvin had arrived on Sunday.

  • Past Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous

Direct to indirect speech example

Direct: “We were playing basketball”, they told me.

Indirect: They told me that they had been playing basketball.

  • Future Changes to Present Conditional

Direct: She said, “I will be in Scotland tomorrow.”

Indirect: She said that she would be in Scotland the next day.

  • Future Continuous Changes to Conditional Continuous

Direct: He said, “ I’ll be disposing of the old computer next Tuesday.”

Indirect: He said that he would be disposing of the old computer the following Tuesday.

To ace the verbal ability section, it is important to have a clear conceptual knowledge of Direct and Indirect Speech, their usage and applications in English language. Therefore, candidates can go through the video on Direct and Indirect Speech rules in English Language, given below for better understanding-

direct and indirect speech examples

For the preparation of the English language section in a better way, it is important that you go through the following topics thoroughly.

  • Tenses rules
  • Conjunctions rules
  • Prepositions Rules
  • List of Prefix and Suffix With Examples
  • Active And Passive Voice Rules
  • List of Homophones/Homonyms
  • List of Synonyms and Antonyms

Candidates are advised to check the General English for Competitive Exams page for more articles on rules for English grammar, list of idioms and phrases, synonyms & antonyms, etc.

Rule 4 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Interrogative Sentences

  • No conjunction is used, if a sentence in direct speech begins with a question (what/where/when) as the “question-word” itself acts as a joining clause.

Direct: “ Where do you live?” asked the boy.

Indirect: The boy enquired where I lived.

  • If a direct speech sentence begins with an auxiliary verb/helping verb, the joining clause should be if or whether.

Direct: She said, ‘W ill you come for the party’?

Indirect: She asked whether we would come for the party.

  • Reporting verbs such as ‘said/ said to’ changes to enquired, asked, or demanded.

Direct: He said to me, ‘What are you wearing’?

Indirect: He asked me what I was wearing.

Candidates can also check the links given below to understand the concept of word formation in English and to learn the common words in English Language that appear in most of the competitive exams-

  • English Root Words
  • Most asked English Vocabulary Words

Rule 5 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Changes in Modals

While changing direct speech to indirect speech, the modals used in the sentences change like:

  • Can becomes could
  • May becomes might
  • Must becomes had to /would have to 

Check the examples:

  • Direct : She said, ‘She can dance’.
  • Indirect: She said that she could dance. 
  • Direct: She said, ‘I may buy a dress’.
  • Indirect: She said that she might buy a dress.
  • Direct: Rama said, ‘I must complete the assignment’.
  • Indirect: Rama said that he had to complete the assignment.

There are modals that do not change –  Could, Would, Should, Might, Ought to

  • Direct: She said, ‘I should clean the house’
  • Indirect: She said that she should clean the house.

Rule 6 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Pronoun

  • The first person in direct speech changes as per the subject of the speech.

Direct speech to indirect speech examples-

Direct: He said, “I am in class Twelfth.”

Indirect: He says that he was in class Twelfth.

  • The second person of direct speech changes as per the object of reporting speech.

Direct speech to indirect speech examples –

Direct: She says to them, “You have done your work.”

Indirect: She tells them that they have done their work.

  • The third person of direct speech doesn’t change .

Direct: He says, “She dances well.”

Indirect: He says that she dances well.

Rule 7 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Request, Command, Wish, Exclamation

  • Indirect Speech is supported by some verbs like requested, ordered, suggested and advised. Forbid-forbade is used for negative sentences. Therefore, the imperative mood in the direct speech changes into the Infinitive in indirect speech.

Direct: She said to her ‘Please complete it’.

Indirect: She requested her to complete it.

Direct: Hamid said to Ramid, ‘Sit down’.

Indirect: Hamid ordered Ramid to sit down.

  • In Exclamatory sentences that express grief, sorrow, happiness, applaud,  Interjections are removed and the sentence is changed to an assertive sentence .

Direct: She said, ‘Alas! I am undone’.

Indirect: She exclaimed sadly that she was broke.

Aspirants are well aware that English is an important component of the syllabus of various competitive exams and it is important to be clear with the basic concepts. Therefore, given below are a few articles to clarify the confusion between usage of common but confusing words in the English Language.

More such concept-wise, subject-wise differences can be found on the 100 Difference between Articles page linked here.

Rule 8 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Punctuations

  • In direct speech, the words actually spoken should be in (‘’) quotes and always begin with a capital letter.

Example: She said, “I am the best.”

  • Full stop, comma, exclamation or question mark, are placed inside the closing inverted commas.

Example: They asked, “Can we sing with you?”

  • If direct speech comes after the information about who is speaking, a comma is used to introduce the speech, placed before the first inverted comma.

Direct speech example : He shouted, “Shut up!”

Direct speech example: “Thinking back,” he said, “she didn’t expect to win.” (Comma is used to separate the two direct speeches and no capital letter to begin the second sentence).

Online Quiz 2023

Rule 9 – Direct Speech to Indirect Speech Conversion – Change of Time

  • In direct speeches, the words that express nearness in time or place are changed to words that express distance in indirect speech. Such as :
  • Now becomes then                  
  • Here becomes there
  • Ago becomes before                
  • Thus becomes so
  • Today becomes that day         
  • Tomorrow becomes the next day
  • This becomes that                 
  • Yesterday becomes the day before
  • These become those              
  • Hither becomes thither
  • Come becomes go                     
  • Hence becomes thence
  • Next week or month becomes following week/month

Direct: He said, ‘His girlfriend came yesterday.’

Indirect: He said that his girlfriend had come the day before.

  • The time expression does not change if the reporting verb is in the present tense or future tense .

Direct: He says/will say, ‘My girlfriend came yesterday.’

Indirect:  He says/will say that his girlfriend had come the day before.

Video – Direct & Indirect Speech in English Grammar

direct and indirect speech examples

Rules of converting Indirect Speech into Direct Speech

The following rules should be followed while converting an indirect speech to direct speech:

  • Use the reporting verb such as (say, said to) in its correct tense.
  • Put a comma before the statement and the first letter of the statement should be in capital letter.
  • Insert question mark, quotation marks, exclamation mark and full stop, based on the mood of the sentence.
  • Remove the conjunctions like (that, to, if or whether) wherever necessary.
  • Where the reporting verb is in past tense in indirect, change it to present tense in the direct speech.
  • Change the past perfect tense either into present perfect tense or past tense, as necessary.
  • Indirect: She asked whether she was coming to the prom night.
  • Direct: She said to her, “Are you coming to the prom night?”
  • Indirect: The girl said that she was happy with her result.
  • Direct: The girl said. “I am happy with my result.”

Direct-Indirect Speech – Sample Questions For the English Language

The significance of knowing the rules of direct and indirect speech for the English language section of various competitive exams can only be understood by knowing the type of questions asked in the examination, based on the same.

Given below are samples of direct and indirect speech questions asked in the English language section of various government examinations:

Q.1. Find out the correct indirect speech for the given sentence.

She said,’ I have baked a cake’

  • She said that she baked a cake
  • She said that she had baked a cake.
  • She said that I baked a cake.
  • She said that she had bake a cake.

Answer (2) She said that she had baked a cake.

Q.2. Choose the correct sentence. 

Aviral said, ‘What a beautiful rainbow it is’.

  • Aviral exclaimed wonderfully that the scenery was very beautiful.
  • Aviral said with wonder that the scenery was very beautiful.
  • Aviral exclaimed with wonder that the scenery is very beautiful.
  • Aviral exclaimed with wonder that the scenery was very beautiful.

Answer (4) Aviral exclaimed with wonder that the scenery was very beautiful.

Q.3. The correct indirect speech for ‘This world’, she said, ‘is full of sorrow. Wish that I were dead’. is?

  • She observed that the world is full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.
  • She said that the world was full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.
  • She observed that the world was full of sorrow. She wished to be dead.
  • She observed that the world was full of sorrow. She wished to die.

Answer (1) She observed that the world is full of sorrow. She wished to be dead

Q.4. The policeman said, ‘Where are the weapons?’

  • The policeman inquired where was the weapons.
  • The policeman enquired where are the weapons.
  • The policeman enquired where were the weapons.
  • The policeman questioned where were the weapon.

Answer (3) The policeman enquired where were the weapons.

Q.5. The man said, ‘Ah! I am ruined.’

  • The man cried that he was in ruined.
  • The man exclaimed in grief that he was ruin.
  • The man said that Ah, he is ruined.
  • The man exclaimed with sorrow that he was ruined.

Answer (4) The man exclaimed with sorrow that he was ruined.

To prepare well for the English section, it is essential to practise and revise regularly for conceptual clarity. Hence, go through the exercise on Direct and Indirect Speech Questions and Answers in the given link.

For more variety and scope of direct and indirect speech questions asked in the English section of various competitive exams, go through Previous Year Question Papers PDF with Solutions . 

Candidates can also check the variations and scope of questions asked in the competitive exams on the other relevant topics of English language below:

  • One Word Substitution Questions & Answers
  • Tenses Questions And Answers
  • Idioms and Phrases Questions and Answers
  • Synonyms Questions And Answers

Check the Verbal Ability page to get more Question and Answer articles based on different general English topics.

Candidates who are preparing for the upcoming government exams must carefully go through the concept of Direct and Indirect speech rules, as candidates tend to score the least in the English Language section of these exams.

Aspirants of various government exams can refer to the detailed exam syllabus in the links given below:

Government Exam 2023

For further questions or information regarding competitive exams, study material or best books for preparation, candidates can turn to BYJU’S.

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50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

Here you find list of 50 examples of direct and indirect speech .

examples of direct and indirect speech

Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

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50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences

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  • Dec 20, 2023

direct and indirect speech examples

Effective communication involves both understanding and the ability to convey questions clearly and coherently. In this blog post, we will learn about the rules of transforming interrogative sentences from direct to indirect speech . This skill is important as it helps to maintain the flow of conversations and narratives. It adds finesse to language proficiency.

This Blog Includes:

Direct speech interrogative sentences, indirect speech interrogative sentences, rules for changing interrogative sentences into indirect speech, 50 examples of change of interrogative sentences from direct to indirect speech.

MUST READ! Reported Speech: Definition, Rules, Usage with Examples, Tips, Exercises for Students

Understanding Direct And Indirect Speech of Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences are generally used to ask a question to gather some information.

In direct speech, the actual words spoken by the speaker are enclosed in quotation marks. Whenever you form questions using direct speech, it is important to make note of actual words spoken and punctuation.

For example : 

Example 1 He asked, “ Where are you going”?

Example 2  She asked ,” Did you finish your homework”?

In Indirect speech, the questions are not quoted in quotation marks as they are not the actual words of the speaker whereas the speaker tries to quote the meaning of someone’s else words. Transformation of sentences from direct speech to indirect speech involves several changes such as a change in the verb form, the removal of quotation marks, alteration in pronouns, and a change in word order.

For example:

Example 1  He asked where I was going.

Example 2  She asked if I had finished my homework.

Also Read Tenses Rules: Charts, Examples, Types [PDF Available]

One must follow these rules while changing direct speech interrogative sentences to indirect speech 

Rule 1: Reporting Verb is changed to ask, inquire, or wonder according to the sentence.

Rule 2 : The question mark is removed thus changing the interrogative form of the sentence to an affirmative sentence. This is done by placing the subject before the verb and if a sentence starts with a helping verb such as do or did they are removed in indirect speech.

Rule 3 : If the sentence begins with the who words such as where, how etc. then we will not use any conjunction in the indirect speech for conversion.

Rule 4 : If the sentence begins with the helping verbs such as do, did, have, etc. then conjunctions “if “ or “whether” are used to transform it into indirect speech.

Must Read: Subject-Verb Agreement: Definition, 12 Rules & Examples

Read the following examples thoroughly to know the changes made while converting direct to indirect speech.

Must Read: Figures of Speech: Types, Usage & Examples [Download PDF]

Reported speech often known as indirect speech means conveying someone else’s words or thoughts without quoting them directly.

In reported speech, interrogative sentences are changed by changing the question word order, omitting the question mark, and using appropriate conjunctions.

Indirect speech is when someone says but does not use the person’s actual words.

To advance your grammar knowledge and read more informative blogs, check out our Learn English page and don’t forget to follow Leverage Edu .

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    Learn how to use direct and indirect speech in different situations, such as social situations, work emails, or news articles. Find out the rules and examples of changing the verb tense, time expressions, and reporting questions, orders, and requests. Do the exercises to improve your English storytelling skills.

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  8. 100 examples of direct and indirect speech

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    Updated: Oct 4, 2023 11:30 AM EDT What are direct and indirect speech? Read on to learn the differences (with examples). What Is Direct Speech? What Is Indirect Speech? Direct speech is exactly what it sounds like—text that reports the exact thoughts expressed by a person in their original form.

  11. Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

    Direct and Indirect Speech Examples in sentences Direct: He said, "You are intelligent." Indirect: He said that I was intelligent. Direct: You will say, "I am right." Indirect: You will say that you are right. Direct: Rita said, "She is my favourite player." Indirect: Rita said that she was her favourite player.

  12. 100 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

    Learn how to use direct and indirect speech in English with 100 examples of reported speech in English. See the difference between direct and indirect speech with definitions, examples, and tips for grammar.

  13. 100 Examples of direct and indirect speech

    Direct Speech:-Direct speech is a report of the exact words used by a speaker or writer.Direct speech is usually placed inside quotation marks and accompanied by a reporting verb, signal phrase, or quotative frame. Indirect Speech:-Transferring the sentence that someone else says is called indirect speech.It is also called reported speech.

  14. Indirect Speech Definition and Examples

    In nonfiction writing or journalism, direct speech can emphasize a particular point, by using a source's exact words. Indirect speech is paraphrasing what someone said or wrote. In writing, it functions to move a piece along by boiling down points that an interview source made. Unlike direct speech, indirect speech is not usually placed inside ...

  15. Direct and Indirect Speech Rules and Examples

    These reported verbs, whenever used in direct or indirect speech, change into the past simple form like said, told, asked, informed, instructed, claimed, suggested, enquired, etc. But the verbs used in a speech between the inverted commas will remain as it is. Examples of direct and indirect speech:

  16. 50 examples of direct and indirect speech

    1. Direct: Today is nice, said George. Indirect: George said that day was nice. 2. Direct: He asked her, "How often do you work?" Indirect: He asked her how often she worked. Advertisements 3. Direct: He works in a bank. Indirect: She said that he worked in a bank. 4. Direct I'm angry with you. Indirect: My mother said she was angry with me. 5.

  17. Direct and Indirect Speech Examples, Exercises, Worksheet

    Direct Speech Examples: "I am going to the store," said Sarah. "It's a beautiful day," exclaimed John. "Please turn off the lights," Mom told me. "I will meet you at the library," said Tom. "We are going to the beach tomorrow," announced Mary. Indirect Speech Examples: Sarah said that she was going to the store.

  18. Direct and Indirect Speech: Definitions, Examples, Exercise and Rules

    Learn how to write and convert direct and indirect speech in English grammar. Find out the difference between direct and indirect speech, the rules for converting them, and the exercises to practice. See examples of direct and indirect speech in sentences and learn how to use them in exams.

  19. Rules For Direct And Indirect Speech For Competitive Exams

    Present Perfect Changes to Past Perfect. Direct to indirect speech example: Direct: "I have been to Boston", she told me. Indirect: She told me that she had been to Boston. Present Continuous Changes to Past Continuous Direct to indirect speech example: Direct: "I am playing the guitar", she explained.

  20. 50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech

    Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech. 1. "I am tired," said Jane. Jane said that she was tired. 2. "Can you please pass the salt?" asked Mark. Mark asked if I could please pass the salt. 3. "I love playing the guitar," said Sam.

  21. 50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises [PDF Available]

    50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Now, you should check these 50 examples of Direct and Indirect Speech exercises for a good insight into the topic: Direct Speech: "I love pizza," said Sarah. Indirect Speech: Sarah said that she loved pizza. Direct Speech: "I'm going to the movies tonight," said David.

  22. Direct and Indirect Speech Examples with Answers

    Direct and Indirect Speech Examples with Answers. Direct speech is simply self-explanatory. It is a sentence or statement that reports a person's ideas, opinions and expressions precisely in their natural form. Quotation marks frequently surround it to make it clear to the reader that the quoted statement is the presenter's original narrative.

  23. 50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences

    One must follow these rules while changing direct speech interrogative sentences to indirect speech. Rule 1: Reporting Verb is changed to ask, inquire, or wonder according to the sentence. Rule 2: The question mark is removed thus changing the interrogative form of the sentence to an affirmative sentence. This is done by placing the subject ...