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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #72035: Direct and indirect speech
Direct and indirect speech
What is Direct Speech?
l Consider the following sentence:
Rama said : ' A fine lesson will be taught to the wicked Ravana.'
The given sentence is in direct speech.
Here the exact words of the speaker have been put within quotation marks.
There is a colon after 'said'.
The first word inside the quotation marks starts with a capital letter.
What is an indirect speech then?
• Let's consider the indirect speech of the sentence under consideration ,
Rama said (that) a fine lesson would be taught to the wicked Ravana.
In Indirect speech
• The quotation marks as well as the colon after said are removed.
• The conjunction “that” introduces to us the words (not exact) spoken by the speaker. However the latest trend is to drop 'that'
RULES FOR CHANGING DIRECT INTO INDIRECT SPEECH
n Get one thing straight-you do not have to learn the rules by heart. Simply understand what they ask you to do and apply the same in converting a sentence from direct to indirect
n RULE ONE:-If in direct speech you find say/says or will say then DO NOT CHANGE THE TENSE that you can find within the quotation marks
n I say ' I am elated”
n I say I am elated
n He says,” I was a fool then”
n He says he was a fool then.
n She says,” I will be more experienced then”
n She says she will be more experienced then
n I will say,” He loves cricket”
n I will say he loves cricket
n She will say,” He was in the land of nod then”
n She will say he was in the land of nod then.
n They will say,” We will achieve greatness”
n They will say we will achieve greatness.
• If in direct speech the words within the quotation marks talk of a universal truth or habitual action then RULE ONE is followed or in other words the tense inside the quotation marks is not changed at all.. For e.g.
• The teacher said,” The sun rises in the east”
The teacher said the sun rises in the east
* If there is 'said' in the direct speech then the tense of the words inside quotation marks is changed to the past tense.
* I said,” I am suffering from a fit of ennui”
* I said I was suffering from a fit of ennui.
Help List one
o Words indicating nearness are changed into words showing distance
o Here-there tomorrow-the next/following day
o This-that yesterday-the previous day
o These-those the next week-the following week
o Today-that day now-then
o Tonight-that night
Help List Two
o The following changes in the tense need to be considered
o Is (sleeping)-was (sleeping)
o Are (sleeping)-were (sleeping)
o Has/have killed-had killed
o Was/were laughing-had been laughing
o Can-could; will-would; shall-should; may-might
o Did-had done
Rule 3 --Some examples
• I said,” My mother cooks well”
I said my mother cooked well.
She said, “ I am reading a whodunit now”
She said she was reading a whodunit then.
He said,” I killed an ant”
He said he had killed an ant.
We said ,” They have done their job”
We said they had done their job
n She said,” We were all laughing uncontrollably”
She said they had been all laughing uncontrollably.
He said,” I can do it”
He said he could do it.
She said to me,” You may need help”
She told me I might need help.
He said ,” She will do this task quickly”
He said she would do that task quickly.
PRACTICE IS THE KEY
n DO PRACTISE AS MANY EXAMPLES AS POSSIBLE.
ONLY THEN WILL YOU BE ABLE TO USE THIS IMPORTANT AND USEFUL LANGUAGE ITEM WITH CONFIDENCE.
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