In English Grammar




Direct-Indirect (or Reported) Speech

He said to me, “John is a good boy.”
Direct Speech
He told me that John was a good boy.
Indirect (Reported) Speech




Direct-Indirect Speech
Direct Speech sentences are
mostly used in writing; the actual
spoken words by somebody else are
written as they are, and are placed
within a pair of quotation marks “…”.
Mary said, “John is a good boy.”
‘John is a good boy’ – actual spoken words



Direct-Indirect Speech

Mary and Joseph were arguing. Tom heard Mary
say to Joseph “I will kill you.”, and then he (Tom)
told us what Mary said, in her own words.
(Tom said to us)
Mary said to Joseph, “I will kill you.”
– Direct Speech




(Tom told us) Mary told Joseph that she would kill him. -. Tom heard Mary say to Joseph “I will kill you.Direct-Indirect Speech • Mary and Joseph were arguing. This speech is mostly used in conversation.”.Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 5 . he reported Mary’s words. and then he (Tom) told us what Mary said – not in her own words but in an indirect way.e. i.

Direct-Indirect Speech   To understand the difference between the direct speech sentence and the indirect (reported) speech sentence. we need to learn the changes that take place – changes in verb tense. The changes we see are applied only when the main verb in the introductory clause of the Direct Speech sentence is in Past Tense! 07-05-2009 BCK 6 . in punctuation marks and in personal pronouns.

” Direct Speech introductory clause actual spoken words ‘said’ = main verb in introductory clause simple past tense ‘said to’ in direct speech changes to ‘told’ in indirect speech 07-05-2009 BCK 7 .Direct-Indirect Speech • John said to Mary. “I am your friend.

” Direct Speech ‘understand’ – main verb – simple present tense  Sue told Peter that she understood the problem. Indirect Speech ‘understood’ – main verb – simple PAST tense 07-05-2009 BCK 8 .Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes 1 Tense Sue said to Peter. “I understand the problem.

“ I understand the problem. “ 07-05-2009 BCK 9 .Direct-Indirect Speech –Changes 2 the other changes – punctuation  Sue said to Peter .

” Direct Speech Sue told Peter that she understood the problem. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 10 .Direct-Indirect Speech – changes 3 Other changes  Sue said to Peter. “I understand the problem.

Indirect ‘were boxing’ – main verb – PAST continues tense 07-05-2009 BCK 11 .Direct-Indirect Speech -.” Direct ‘are boxing’ – main verb – present continues tense She told him that they were boxing. “They are boxing.Changes 4 Tense  She said to him.

Indirect Speech ‘had given’ – main verb – PAST perfect tense 07-05-2009 BCK 12 . “He has given me some medicine.” Direct Speech ‘has given’ – main verb – present perfect tense She told me that he had given her some medicine.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes 5 Tense • She said to me.

PAST perfect continues 07-05-2009 BCK 13 . Indirect Speech ‘had been waiting’ .” Direct Speech ‘have been waiting’ .main verb .Direct-Indirect Speech -.main verb .Changes 6 Tense Kate said. “I have been waiting here for an hour.present perfect continues Kate said that she had been waiting there for an hour.

Indirect speech ‘had played’ -.main verb -.” Direct Speech ‘played’ -. “She played golf in the morning.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes 7 Tense  He said.main verb -.simple past tense He said that she had played golf in the morning.past perfect tense 07-05-2009 BCK 14 .

Direct-Indirect Speech -.note • The simple past tense in the subordinate clause (actual spoken words) in the direct speech sentence. sometimes changes into past perfect tense and sometimes remains unchanged. when changed into indirect speech. 07-05-2009 BCK 15 .

“I bought a house.Direct-indirect Speech – note (continued) • He said.unchanged 07-05-2009 BCK 16 .” Direct Speech ‘bought’ – main verb – simple past tense (A) He said that he had bought a house. Indirect Speech ‘had’ – main verb -.” Direct Speech ‘had’ – main verb – simple past tense He said that he had a dream last night. “I had a dream last night.simple past tense -. Indirect ‘had bought’ – main verb – past perfect tense – changed (B) He said.

“He was swimming in the pool. Indirect Speech ‘had been swimming’ -.” Direct Speech ‘was swimming’ -.past continues tense She told me that he had been swimming in the pool.main verb -.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes 8 Tense She said to me.past perfect continues tense Past continues tense becomes PAST PERFECT CONTINUES TENSE 07-05-2009 BCK 17 .main verb -.

Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes 9 Tense  The Modal Auxiliary (helping) Verbs are changed into their past forms: can could. will would. may might. shall should 07-05-2009 BCK 18 .

Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes 10 Tense • She said to me. “They will take their test tomorrow.” Direct speech She told me that they would take their test the next day. Indirect Speech ‘will’ becomes ‘would’! 07-05-2009 BCK 19 .

Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – Personal Pronouns 1st person 2nd 3rd number singular plural singular plural singular plural gender common common common common Male female Neuter Male you you He she it They they they you Him her it Them them them Nominative I We female Neuter (subjective) case Objective (accusative) me us you My mine Our ours Your Your His her its yours yours His hers its myself ourselves yourself case Possessive (genitive) case Reflexive 07-05-2009 yourselves BCK Himself herself itself Their their their Theirs theirs theirs themselves 20 .

Direct-Indirect Speech – changes – personal pronouns Personal Pronoun – I = first person singular common gender (male or female) subjective case Personal Pronoun – him = third person singular masculine gender (male) objective case 07-05-2009 BCK 21 .

” Direct Speech He – third person. male: so. is related to “you” – second person. is related to “I” – first person. singular. He told her that he loved her.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – Personal Pronouns  He said to her. male. singular. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 22 . singular. female: so in indirect speech ‘you’ becomes “HER”. “I love you. singular. female. Her – third person. in indirect speech ‘I’ becomes “HE”.

” Direct Speech  The girl told the spider that it had eaten her pie.Direct-Indirect Speech -.changes -.Personal Pronouns  The girl said to the spider. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 23 . “You have eaten my pie.

Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 24 .Direct-Indirect speech – changes – Personal Pronouns Jane said to Paul.” Direct Speech Jane told Paul that she couldn’t help him. “I can’t help you.

Direct-Indirect Speech – changes – personal Pronouns  The boy said to me.” Direct  The boy told me that I wasn’t his friend. Indirect 07-05-2009 BCK 25 . “You aren’t my friend.

subordinate clause. To join the two clauses in a statement sentence. (The conjunction ‘that’ is normally not mentioned as it is understood.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – Conjunctions 1    While changing a Direct Speech Sentence into an Indirect Speech Sentence. we use a conjunction to join both the clauses -the introductory clause and the ‘actual spoken words’. we use the conjunction ‘that’.) 07-05-2009 BCK 26 .

” Direct  The mouse told its mother that it was hungry. Indirect 07-05-2009 BCK 27 .Direct-Indirect Speech – changes – Personal Pronouns  The mouse said. “Mother. I am hungry.

‘how’.e.e. ‘what’. i. questions beginning with any of the auxiliary (helping) verbs. ‘is’. such as ‘are’. ‘will’. etc.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes -Conjunction 2 There are two types of questions: ‘wh’ questions. such as ‘who’. etc. 07-05-2009 BCK 28 . questions beginning with any of the wh words. ‘which’. i. ‘has’. ‘can’. And ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions.

at this basic level.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – Conjunction 3 • When we change an ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question sentence from direct into indirect. we use the conjunction ‘if ’ or ‘whether ’. • Though there is some difference between the conjunctions ‘if’ and ‘whether’. using just ‘if’ for all the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions is justified. 07-05-2009 BCK 29 .

“Is she really driving?” Interrogative sentence – ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question – Direct Speech A woman asked me if she was really driving. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 30 .Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – Conjunctions 2 • A woman said to me.

the verb comes first and the subject comes second:  He is a boy. 07-05-2009 BCK 31 . but in interrogative (question) sentence.Direct-Indirect Speech -.  In a statement sentence the subject comes first and the verb comes second.Changes – note 1  The word order of the question sentence is different from that of the statement sentence. ‘is’ – verb – second Is he a boy? Interrogative (question) sentence ‘Is’ – verb – first. Statement Sentence ‘He’ – subject – first. ‘he’ – subject – second.

‘enquired’. is changed into ‘asked’. usually ‘said’. And the word order is inversed:  He said to her.Indirect 07-05-2009 BCK 32 . -. ‘wanted to know’ etc.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – note 2  While changing an interrogative sentence from direct to indirect. the main verb in the introductory clause. “Is this bag yours?” – Direct  He asked her if that bag was hers.

Indirect For ‘wh’ questions.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunction 4  He said to her. no conjunction is used. the ‘wh’ word in the direct speech sentence is used as it is! 07-05-2009 BCK 33 . “What has he done?” Direct ‘wh’ question – direct speech He asked her what he had done.

Changes -Conjunction 5  She said to them. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 34 . “Who wants to help me?” Direct Speech  She asked them who wanted to help her.Direct-Indirect Speech -.

Indirect conjunction ‘if’ for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question 07-05-2009 BCK 35 . “Do you like this frog?” Direct ‘Do’ – ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question He asked her if she liked that frog.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunction 6  He said to her.

“Can you see those stars or not?” Direct Speech ‘can’ – ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question The man enquired the boy whether he could see those stars or not.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunction 7 • The man said to the boy. Indirect Speech “whether… or not” 07-05-2009 BCK 36 .

Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunctions 8 She said to the students. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 37 . “Who knows the answer?” Direct Speech She asked the students who knew the answer.

‘shouted’. and the main verb in the introductory clause is changed into ‘requested’. ‘ordered’. etc. we change the verb of the subordinate clause (actual spoken words) to its ‘to infinitive’ form.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunctions 9  While changing the Imperative Sentences from direct to indirect. depending on the context! 07-05-2009 BCK 38 . ‘warned’. ‘wanted to know’. we do not use any conjunctions at all.

“Stop!” Direct Speech The policeman shouted at the drivers to stop. Indirect Speech ‘to stop’ – “to infinitive” form of the main verb ‘stop’ 07-05-2009 BCK 39 .Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunction 10 The policeman said to the drivers.

” Direct Speech He requested the visitors to keep quiet. “Keep quiet.Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – conjunctions 11  He said to the visitors. please. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 40 .

Direct-Indirect Speech – changes – conjunction 12 • The manager said to him. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 41 . “Don’t postpone your work.” Direct Speech ‘Don’t’ = ‘do not’ – negative The manager warned him not to postpone his work.

Changes -.” Direct Speech The mother told the baby repeatedly not to cry.conjunction 13 The mother said. Indirect Speech 07-05-2009 BCK 42 . baby… Don’t cry.Direct-Indirect Speech -. “Don’t cry.

Direct-Indirect Speech – changes – conjunctions 14  When the verb “let” in the subordinate clause (actual spoken words) of the direct speech sentence expresses a suggestion. we use the verb word ‘suggested’ in the introductory clause of the indirect speech sentence. instead we use the helping verb ‘should’ with the main verb! 07-05-2009 BCK 43 . and the word ‘let’ is not mentioned in the indirect speech sentence.

Direct-Indirect Speech – changes – conjunctions 15 She said to her friends.” -. “Let’s go for a picnic. Indirect 07-05-2009 BCK 44 .Direct ‘Let’ – suggestion She suggested to her friends that they should go for a picnic.

you’ve got to wait until you have mastered the other kinds of sentences!! • Best of Luck!!! 07-05-2009 BCK 45 .Direct-Indirect Speech – Changes – Exclamatory Sentence • While changing an exclamatory sentence from direct to indirect. we have to rewrite the entire sentence (expression) in order to give the desired emotion! • Therefore.