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Lesson

Direct and Indirect speech


Direct/Quoted speech is saying exactly what someone has said. It appears within
quotation marks ("...") and should be word for word.
Direct speech repeats, or quotes, the exact words spoken. When we use direct speech in
writing, we put the words spoken between inverted commas ("___") and there is no change
in these words. We may be reporting something that's being said NOW, or telling someone
later about a previous conversation
Indirect/Reported speech is enclosing what the person said. It doesn't use quotation
marks and doesn't have to be word for word.
Indirect speech is usually used to talk about the past. When we use indirect speech, we dont
use inverted comas. We should change the tense of the words spoken. We use reporting
verbs for example say, ask, and we may use the word that to introduce the reported words.
Example
Hopes, Intentions, Promises
When we report an intention, hope or promise, we use an appropriate reporting verb
followed by a that-clause or a to-infinitive:
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
He said, "I'll pay you the money tomorrow."

He promised to pay me the money the next


day.
He promised that he would pay me the money
the next day.
Other verbs used in this pattern include: hope, propose, threaten, guarantee, and swear.
Orders
When we want to report an order, we can use a verb like tell with to-clause:
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
The doctor said to me, "Stop smoking!"

The doctor told me to stop smoking.

"Get out of the car!" said the policeman.


The policeman ordered him to get out of the car.
Other verbs used are: command, order, warn, ask, invite, advise, beg, teach, and forbid.
<<See also section on Verbs followed by infinitive and Verbs followed by
gerund>>
Requests
When we want to report a request, we can use a verb like ask with for-clause:
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
The child asked, "Can I have a car?"
The child asked for a car.
Suggestions
Suggestions are usually reported with a that-clause. That and should are optional in
these clauses.
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
I think you should go to the dentist", said
My mother suggested that I should go to the
my mother
dentist.
Other verbs used are: insist, recommend, demand, request, and propose.
Note: Suggestcan also be followed by a gerund: I suggested postponing the visit to the
dentist.
Questions
Question words are reported by using ask (or another verb like ask) + question
word + clause. <<see also section on Tense Change>>
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
She asked me, Where do u live?

She asked me where I lived.

He asked me, "What is your name?"


He asked me what my name was.
Yes/No questions: This type of question is reported by using ask + if /
whether +clause:
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
He asked me, "Are you Eastern or Western?"
Rules

He asked me whether I was Eastern or


Western.

There are rules in converting direct to indirect speech. The tense usually has change because
when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (obviously the
person who spoke originally spoke in the past).
Tense Change
As a rule when we report something someone has said you go back a tense (the tense on
the left changes to the tense on the right)
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
Present Simple He said, It is hot.

Past Simple He said it was hot.

Present Continuous She said, Im eating


an apple.

Past Continuous She said she was eating an


apple.

Present Perfect Simple She said, "I've


taught English since 1999."

Past Perfect Simple She said she had taught


English since 1999.

Present Perfect Continuous He said, "I've


been teaching English for two years."

Past Perfect Continuous She said she had


been teaching English for two years.

Past Simple She said, "I taught English."

Past Perfect She said she had taught English.

Past Continuous She said, "I was teaching


earlier."

Past Perfect Continuous She said she had


been teaching earlier

Past Perfect She said, "The lesson had


already started when he arrived."

Past Perfect (No Change) She said the lesson


had already started when he arrived.

Past Perfect Continuous She said, "I had


already been teaching for ten minutes."

Past Perfect Continuous (No Change) - She


said she'd already been teaching for ten
minutes.

Note:
We can use the Present Tense in indirect speech if we want to say that something
is still true.
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
Present Simple He said, My name is
James.

Past Simple He said his name was James.


or
Present Simple He said his name is James.

Modal Change
Modal verb forms also sometimes change
Direct Speech
Indirect Speech
Will She said, I will teach English.

Would She said she would teach English.

Can She said, "I can teach English online."

Could She said she could teach English.

Must She said, "I must teach English."

Had to She said she had to teach English.

Shall She said, "What shall we learn today?" Should She asked what we should learn today.
May She said, "May I open the window?"
Might She asked if she might open the window.
If it use modal, such as: could, would, should, might and ought to in direct speech,
then we dont need to change it.
Time Change
If direct speech sentence contains an expression of time, we must change it to fit in with
the time.
Time in Direct Speech
Time in Indirect Speech
this (morning/noon/evening)

that (morning/noon/evening)

today

yesterday

these (days)

those (days)

now

then

(a week/ a month/ a year) ago

(a week/ a month/ a year) before

last weekend

the weekend before last/ the previous weekend

here

there

next (week/month/year)

the following (week/month/year)

tomorrow

the next/following day

Verbs
Some reporting verbs may appear in more than one of the following groups.

Verbs followed by if or whether + clause:


ask
remember

see

know
say
Verbs followed by a that + clause:

Add
Confirm
Observe
State
Admit
consider Persuade
Suggest
Agree
deny
Propose
Suppose
Announce doubt
Remark
Tell
Answer
estimate remember
Think
Argue
explain
repeat
Understand
Boast
fear
reply
warn
Claim
feel
report
comment insist
revea
complain mention lsay
Verbs followed by either a that + clause or a to + infinitive:
decide
guarantee
promise
threaten
expect
hope
swear
Verbs followed by either a that + clause containing should (but note that it may be
omitted, leaving a subject + zero-infinitive):
advise
insist
recommend
beg
prefer
request
demand
propose
suggest
Verbs followed by a clause starting with a question word:
decidedescribediscoverdiscu guess
reveal
thinkunderstandwon
ssexplain
imagineknowlearnrea say
der
forget
lize
seesuggestteacht
remember
ell
Verbs followed by object + to + infinitive
adviseask
command
invite
warn
beg
forbid
teach
instruct
tell