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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #72035: Direct and indirect speech
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Direct/Indirect speech [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Interrogative clauses - Direct and Indirect Interrogative forms ... - Difficulties in Reported Speech - Direct or indirect interrogative clauses - How and What ... like - Direct or Indirect Clauses - Reported speech - Reported speech and present continuous
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    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'



    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/am-was

    o    Are-were

    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.





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    English exercise "Direct and indirect speech" created by sreedhar with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from sreedhar]
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    1. I said,' This man is a real nincompoop'. I said that .

    2. She said to me,' You are singing very melodiously'. She told me that .

    3. You said,' I killed a rat rather wickedly'. You said that .

    4. He said,' I have done amazingly well today'. He said that .

    5. We said,' We were watching a truly absorbing movie'. We said that .

    6. She said,' I may badly need some medical help soon'. She said that .

    7. You said to me,' You can do this ridiculously easy task'. You told me that .

    8. I said,' I shall certainly take care of all eventualities'. I said that .

    9. He said,' I will teach him a lesson to remember me by'. He said that .

    10. They said,' We have put up an extraordinary performance indeed' . They said that

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Direct and indirect speech
    A free English exercise to learn English.
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