Direct Speech into Indirect Speech



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Direct Speech into Indirect Speech :



Compare the following.

(а) Ravi said, “I am very busy.”
(b) Ravi said that he was very busy.

These sentences represent the two ways of relating what somebody has said.

In (a) we have given the exact words used by the speaker. This way of quoting is called direct speech. Such words are placed between inverted commas (‘ ’ or “ ”).

In (b), we have reported the idea, indirectly, without quoting the actual words of the speaker. This method is called indirect speech (or reported speech).

You may have noticed the following changes in the indirect statement.

(i) There is no comma after SAID. The reporting words are introduced by THAT.

The THAT may be omitted.

(ii) The inverted commas are removed.
(iii) The verb AM has become WAS.
(iv) The pronoun I has become HE.

Here are detailed notes on the changes that should be made when we turn direct speech into indirect speech.

When the reporting verb (the verb SAID in the example above) is in the past tense, the tenses of the verb in direct speech usually change as follows.

(a) The simple present changes to the simple past.
Direct : He said, “I am unwell.”
Indirect : He said he was unwell.

(b) The present continuous changes to the past continuous.
Direct : He said, “I’m waiting for my sister.”
Indirect : He said he was waiting for his sister.

(c) The present perfect changes to the past perfect.
Direct : She said. “I've done my homework.”
Indirect : She said she had done her homework.

(d) The simple past changes to the past perfect.
Direct : “Padma took my pen,” said Rekha.
Indirect : Rekha said Padma had taken her pen.

(e) The will-can-may forms change to the world-could-might forms.
Direct : “My father will be back on Sunday.” he said.
Indirect : He said his father would be back on Sunday.

Direct : “You may go home.” said the boss.
Indirect : The boss said I might go home.

The past continuous normally remains unchanged.

When the reporting verb is in the present tense, the tenses do not change.

Direct Speech : He says, “I am unwell.”
Indirect Speech : He says he is unwell.

Direct Speech : He has just said, “My father will be back on Sunday.”

Indirect Speech : He has just said his father will be back on Sunday.

But very often the reporting verb is in the past tense.

The pronouns change according to the context or situation.

Study the following examples.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
v “I will meet you again,” he said to me.
“I will meet you again,” she said to him.
“I will meet you again,” I said to her.

He told me he would meet me again.
She told him she would meet him again.
I told her I would meet her again.

Words or phrases expressing nearness in time generally change to those expressing distance.

Direct Speech….Indirect Speech

Now….then / at that time
Today….that day
Tonight…..that night
last week (or) month….the previous week (or) month
last week (or) month….the week (or) month
last week (or) month….the next month (or) year
next month (or) year….the following month (or) year
next month (or) year….the month (or) year after
yesterday….the previous day
yesterday…..the day before
tomorrow…..the next day
tomorrow…..the following day
tomorrow…..the day after
the day before yesterday……two days before / earlier
the day after tomorrow…..two days after / later

But if the speech is made and reported during the same period, these changes are not necessary.

For example….compare :

Direct Speech : Last Friday he said, “My father will come today.”
Indirect Speech : Last Friday he said his father would come that day.

Direct Speech : This afternoon he said, “My father will come today.”
Indirect Speech : This afternoon he said his father would come today.

Similarly, HERE changes to THERE unless the speech is reported at the same place.

THIS and THESE change to THESE and THOSE unless the thing or things pointed out are near at hand at the time of reporting the speech.

Besides, we should make other changes according to whether the sentence is a statement or an imperative.

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