We often have a tendency of giving out information to other people and quoting their words, per se. Nonetheless, we should be careful in enclosing someone people’s words because there is a possibility that we can misquote them. Hence, chaos might boil up any second. So, to do it properly, you should learn how to do direct and indirect discourse or speech.

Now, focus your eyes on our newest blog because we will teach you how to make a solid direct and indirect discourse or speech.

Direct Discourse / Direct Speech / Quoted Speech

Direct discourse or direct speech is a kind of speech that is quoting or repeating the words in verbatim. Also, it is enclosed with a quotation mark (“…”).

Examples:

“Today’s lesson is all about galaxy so let’s begin”, she said.

He said, “I shall leave for London immediately due to some problems.”

She asked, “What time you will pick-up my sister and her friends?”

He says “There’s a big box outside your gate hence it’s blocking my pathway.”

Indirect Speech / Reported Speech

Indirect discourse or indirect speech (sometimes called reported speech), is the opposite of direct speech. It does not require repeating the words word for word. Furthermore, it doesn’t use quotation marks to enclose what the person said.

In addition, in reporting speech, the tense usually changes. This is because when we use indirect speech we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past).  Therefore, the verbs usually have to be in the past too.

Example:

Papa told me you did not like the cake that I baked for you.

I remember that she told me she wasn’t coming to the party because her dog died.

He said he was going to the mall tomorrow however something came up in their house.

He spoke to me last night and he said that the boss of the company did not want you anymore.

The parts of the direct and indirect discourse or speech

Parts of the Direct Speech

Reporting Speech

The reporting speech is the first part in the direct speech.

Examples:

She asked, “What time you will pick-up my sister and her friends?

He says “There’s a big box outside your gate hence it’s blocking my pathway.”

Reporting verb

The reporting verb is the verb used in the direct speech or reporting speech.  Most noteworthy, most common reporting verbs are says, said, asks, and asked.

Examples:

He says “There’s a big box outside your gate hence it’s blocking my pathway.”

She asked, “What time you will pick-up my sister and her friends in the school?”

Quoted Statement

The quoted statement consists of the quotation marks and the word for word sentence used in direct speech.

Examples:

She says, “I am a little bit nervous nevertheless I know you will be there.”

She asked, “What time you will pick-up my sister and her friends?”

Parts of Indirect Speech

Reported Speech

Reported speech is the transformed part of the quoted statement which the tense of the verb has been changed, and the quotation mark has been removed.

Examples:

We said that we are all excited about the camping.

She says she is a little bit nervous nevertheless she knows you will be there.

Reported Verb

The reported verb is the verb used in the first part of the reported speech.

Examples:

He asked them why am I so cold towards those boys.

I said he loves to write scary stories but I have no time to write it actually.

They told me that I had to go with them however I was stuck with work at that time.

Basic rules in direct and indirect discourse or speech

Changing of pronouns

In indirect discourse or speech, the first/1st personal pronouns (I, We, They) always change according to the SUBJECT of the indirect speech.

Direct Speech: I said, “I love to write scary stories but I have no time to write it actually.”

Indirect Speech: I said I love to write scary stories but I have no time to write it actually.

Direct Speech: We said, “We are all excited about the camping because there will be new trails.”

Indirect Speech: We said that we are all excited about the camping because there will be new trails.

Direct Speech: They said, “We will not permit this for a reason that these are against the law.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they would not permit that for a reason that those were against the law.

Second/ 2nd personal pronoun (you) in indirect speech is always changed according to the OBJECT of the quoted statement.

Direct Speech: They said to me, “You have to come with us so that you can explain it properly.”

Indirect Speech: They told me that I had to go with them so that I can explain it to them propely.

Direct Speech: She said to me,You can go to the party.”

Indirect Speech: She told me that I could go to the party.

Third/3rd personal pronouns (he, she, it) in indirect speech are not changed.

Direct Speech: He said, “She is responsible for the mess in the hallway.”

Indirect Speech: He said she was responsible for the mess in the hallway.

Direct: She said, “They have invited us.”

Indirect: She said that they had invited them.

Changing of  verbs

Take note, if the indirect speech is in present tense or future tense changes of tense of verb is not required. The verb in the first part should complement to the verb on the other half of the statement.

Direct and Indirect Discourse/ Speech Examples:

Direct Speech: She says, “She is hungry.”

Indirect Speech: She says that she is hungry.

Direct Speech: She said, “She sang a song.”

Indirect Speech: She said that she sang a song.

Direct Speech: I say, “He shall visit you in Australia.”

Indirect Speech: I say that he will visit you in Australia.

Changing of Modal Verbs

direct and indirect discourse- change of pronouns

In addition, modal verbs used in direct and indirect discourse change based on what type of speech it is.

Will and Would

Direct Speech: She said, “I will cook lasagna next week for the party.”

Indirect Speech: She said she would cook lasagna next week for the event.

Can and Could

Direct Speech: He said, “You can still go to the mall now.”

Indirect Speech: He said you could still go to the mall now.

Must and Had to

Direct Speech: She said, “He must have a great amount of confidence or else, he will fail.”

Indirect Speech: She said he had to have a great amount of confidence or else, he will fail.

Shall and Should

Direct Speech: They said, “What shall we do about that problem?”

Indirect Speech: They asked what we should do about that problem.

May and Might

Direct Speech: You said, “They may use the comfort room if they will clean it afterwards.”

Indirect Speech: You said that they might use the comfort room if they will clean it afterwards.

Take note, if the modal verbs, could, would, should, might and ought to, are used in direct speech there is no need to change it in indirect speech.

Examples:

Direct Speech: He said, “I could wash the dishes.”

Indirect Speech: He said he could wash the dishes.

Direct Speech: She said, “They might go to the game tomorrow.”

Indirect Speech: She said they might go to the game tomorrow.

Changing of Tenses of the Verb

The verb of the direct and indirect discourse changes their tense form of the verb depending on the following:

Present simple is transformed into past simple.

Direct Speech: You said, “It is cold outside.”

Indirect Speech: You said it was cold outside.

Present Continuous is transformed into Past Continuous Tense.

Direct Speech: I said, “We are taking cooking lessons every other day.”

Indirect Speech: I said we were taking cooking lessons every other day.

Present Perfect is changed into Past Perfect Tense.

Direct Speech: He said, “They have been active in the organization since the 2000s.

Indirect Speech: He said they had been active in the organization since the 2000s.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense is transformed into Past Perfect Continuous Tense.

Direct Speech: She said, “I have been working as a flight attendant for seven years.”

Indirect Speech: She said she had been working as a flight attendant for seven years.

Past simple is changed into Past Perfect Tense.

Direct Speech: They said, “They took daily exercise.”

Indirect Speech: They said that they had taken daily exercise.

Past Continuous Tense is changed into Past Perfect Continuous Tense.

Direct Speech: He said, “She was texting while driving before the accident happened.

Indirect Speech: He said she had been texting while driving before the accident happened.

No changes are required to be made into Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses.

Direct Speech: She said, “I’d already been teaching for five minutes.”

Indirect Speech: She said she had already been teaching for five minutes.

Changing of some words

Direct and indirect discourse change some words in each every discourse you are talking about.

This and That

Direct Speech: He says, “I want to learn this kind of art due to its complexities.”

Indirect Speech: He says he wants to learn that kind of art due to its complexities.

These and Those

Direct Speech: She said, “He wants to buy these toy cars for a reason that these are collectors’ edition.”

Indirect Speech: She said he wanted to buy those toy cars for a reason that these are collectors’ edition.

Here and There

Direct Speech: The teacher said, “Everybody is coming here because they want to help yopu out.”

Indirect Speech: The teacher said that everybody was coming there because they wanted to help you out..

Now and Then

Direct Speech:  They say, “Let’s go now.”

Indirect Speech: They say let us go then.

Changing of adverbs of time

direct and indirect discourse- time

If direct and indirect discourse or speech contains an expression of time, you must change it to fit in with the time of reporting.

Take note, adverb of time affects the tense of the verb of an indirect speech. So, in indirect speech all tense of the verb should be in past tense form,

Today and that day

Direct Speech:  She said, “I am going to the States today.”

Indirect Speech: She said she was going to the States that day.

Yesterday and Previous Day

Direct Speech:  They said, “We drank a bottle of vodka yesterday because we are brokenhearted.”

Indirect Speech: They said they drank a bottle of vodka the previous day because we are brokenhearted.

Tomorrow and the Following Day/ The Next Day

Direct Speech: She said, “He will go to Paris tomorrow.”

Indirect Speech: She said he went to Paris the next day.

Direct Speech: She said, “The play will start tomorrow and not today due to change of actors.

Indirect Speech: She said the play was going to start the following day and not today due to change of actors.

Tonight and That Night

Direct Speech: You said, “They will have a romantic date tonight.”

Indirect Speech: You said they had a romantic date that night because you went home smiling.

A week ago and A week before

Direct Speech: They said, “The comic con started a week ago and it seems like  everybody is buzzing about it.”

Indirect Speech: They said that the comic con started a week before and it seems like  everybody is buzzing about it.

Other Rules for Direct and Indirect Discourse or Speech

Most noteworthy, if you want to say that something is still true, the verb in the indirect form should take the present tense form.

Example:

Direct Speech: He said, “My name is Louis John Smith.”

Indirect Speech: He said his name is Louis John Smith.

Also, the word “that” is often used in indirect discourses or speeches, nevertheless the use of this word is optional.

He told me that he lived in Brazil for 5 years because of his girlfriend.

He told me he lived in Brazil for 5 years because of his girlfriend.

Furthermore, that is never used in questions, instead we often use if.

She told me if I am willing to help them and the I will help theme because I care for them.

He asked me if I would come to the party because he will go with me.

How to punctuate direct and indirect discourse or speech

Direct and indirect discourse or speech vary in form and the punctuations used are based on the rules they obey.

Most noteworthy, all reporting speech should be enclosed with quotation marks.

Examples:

They said, The comic con started a week ago and it seems like  everybody is buzzing about it.”

You’re right,” he said. However, please consider some options.

Also, the comma, full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark should be put inside the quotation marks.

Examples:

“You’re right,” he said.

“Can we come in?” she requested.

“Wait a moment!’ she shouted.

“I didn’t expect to win.” he exclaimed.

More so, you need a comma (or a question mark or exclamation mark) if the information about who is speaking is at the end the first piece of speech and a full stop or another comma before the second piece (before the inverted comma or commas).

Examples:

“Please! No!” he cried. ‘You can’t leave me now because I am pregnant!

“Let’s go,’ he said. ‘It feels strange but I can deal with it.”

In conclusion, learning direct and indirect discourse helps us develop our speaking and writing skill. Furthermore, it could also strengthen our sense keenness in relaying our words to other people. It’s like acing language development as well as character formation.

For more blogs, read What is Interjection: A Quick Guide in Mastering Interjection