Indirect Speech



Indirect Speech :



When the Verb in one sentence reports what is said by some speaker in another sentence, the Verb in the first sentence is called the Reporting Verb and what is said in the second sentence is called the Reported Speech.

My father said, “It is time to go away."

Reporting Verb : My father said,
Reported Speech : “It is time to go away."

There are two different ways in which the reported speech may be expressed.

(a) It may repeat the actual words used by the speaker.
(b) It may give their substance.

When the reported speech repeats the actual words, this is called Direct Speech as in the above example.

Reporting Verb : My father said,
Reported Speech : “It is time to go away."

This is the mode generally used in the languages of India. But in English the sentences are not joined by THAT.

In all cases of Direct Speech the reported speech must be marked off by inverted commas as in the above example.

When the reported speech gives the substance of the words used by the speaker and not the actual words, this is called Indirect Speech.

My father said that it was time to go away.

In this construction the sentences are joined by THAT.

The Tense of the Reporting Verb is never changed. But the Tense of the Reported Speech is liable to certain changes in passing from the Direct Speech to the Indirect and these depend on the Tense of the Reporting Verb.

There are two main rules regarding the change of Tense in the Reported Speech and these are similar to the rules given below about the Sequence of Tenses.

Principal Clause (Past Tense)…..Dependent Clause (Past Tense)

1. It was settled…..that I should do this.
2. He would come…..if you wished it.
3. He was honest…..although he was poor.
4. He asked me…..whether I had seen his dog.
5. He was informed…..that I had been looking for him.
6. We never understood…..how or why he did that.
7. He did not leave off…..till he had succeeded.
8. I was inquiring…..what you had heard.
9. He succeeded…..because he worked hard.
10. He remained silent…..as soon as he heard that.
11. I would do this…..if I were allowed.
12. He walked so far…..that he tired himself.

Rule – I
If the Reporting Verb is a Past Tense, the Tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech must be changed to one or other of the four forms of the Past Tense.
Rule – II
If the Reporting Verb is a Present or Future Tense, the Tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech is not changed at all.



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