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Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct Speech
In direct speech, the original speaker's
exact words are given and are indicated
by quotation marks. "I don't know what to
do," said Dean.

When using indirect or reported speech,


the form changes. Usually indirect speech
is introduced by the verb said, as in I
said, Bill said, or they said. Using the
verb say in this tense, indicates that
something was said in the past. In these
cases, the main verb in the reported
sentence is put in the past.

If the main verb is already in a past tense,


then the tense changes to another past
tense; it can almost be seen as moving
even further into the past.

Verb tense changes also characterize


other situations using indirect speech.
Note the changes shown in the chart and
see the table below for examples. With
indirect speech, the use of that is optional.

Direct

Indirect

Present simple
He said, I go to school
every day.

simple past
He said (that) he went
to school every day.

simple past
He said, I went to
school every day.

past perfect
He said (that) he had
gone to school every
day.

present perfect
past perfect
He said, I have gone to He said (that) he had
school every day.
gone to school every
day.
present progressive
He said, I am going to
school every day.

past progressive
He said (that) he was
going to school every
day.

past progressive
perfect progressive
He said, I was going to He said (that) he had
school every day.
been going to school
every day,

can
He said, I can go to
school every day.

could
He said (that) he could
go to school every day.

may
He said, I may go to
school every day.

might
He said (that) he might
go to school every day.

might
He said, I might go to
school every day.
must
He said, I must go to
school every day.

had to
He said (that) he had to
go to school every day.

have to
He said, I have to go to
school every day.
should
should
He said, I should go to He said (that) he should
school every day.
go to school every day.
ought to
He said, I ought to go
to school every day.

ought to
He said (that) he ought
to go to school every
day.

Indirect Questions
The same rules apply to indirect
questions as to indirect statements. The
difference is that a wh clause is used
instead of a that clause. Direct question:
"Did Marama's horse win a prize?" Owen
asked.

Indirect questions:
Owen asked (whether (or if Marama's
horse had won a prize.

Direct question:
"Why won't you marry me?" asked
Donald.Indirect question:
Donald asked her why she wouldn't marry
him.

It is not always necessary to change the


verb when you use reported speech. If you
are reporting something and you feel that
it is still true, you do not need to change
the tense of the verb

To said, New York is bigger than London


Tom said (that) New York is (or was)
bigger than London

Auxiliary verbs remain the same in the


indirect speech
Must, might, could , would stay the same
May normally changes to might

If you say who you are talking to, you the


verb tell:
Tom told me that he did not like Brian
(not Tom said me)

We also use infinitives with the indirect


speech
Stay in bed The doctor said to me.
The doctor told me to stay in bed

Complete the sentences in reported


speech. Note the change of pronouns in
some sentences.

"Stop talking, Joe," the teacher said.


The teacher told Joe __________
"Be patient," she said to him.
She told him ___________
"Go to your room," her father said to her.
Her father told her __________

"Hurry up," she said to us.


She told us _________
"Give me the key," he told her.
He asked her ___________
"Play it again, Sam," she said.
She asked Sam ______________

"Sit down, Caron" he said.


He asked Caron ________
"Fill in the form, Sir," the receptionist said.
The receptionist asked the guest _____
"Take off your shoes," she told us.
She told us __________
"Mind your own business," she told him.
She told him ____________-

"Don't touch it," she said to him.


She told him _______
"Don't do that again," he said to me.
He told me ___________
"Don't talk to me like that," he said.
He told her __________-

"Don't repair the computer yourself," she


warned him.
She warned him __________
"Don't let him in," she said.
She told me _____________
"Don't go out without me," he begged her.
He begged her ________

"Don't forget your bag," she told me.


She told me __________
"Don't eat in the lab," the chemistry
teacher said.
The chemistry teacher told his
students____________
"Don't give yourself up," he advised her.
He advised her____________

"Don't hurt yourselves, boys," she said.


She told the boys __________

"Where is my umbrella?" she asked.


She asked ________
"How are you?" Martin asked us.
Martin asked us ______
He asked, "Do I have to do it?"
He asked __________

"Where have you been?" the mother


asked her daughter.
The mother asked her daughter ____
"Which dress do you like best?" she asked
her boyfriend.
She asked her boyfriend _________
"What are they doing?" she asked.
She wanted to know __________

"Are you going to the cinema?" he asked


me.
He wanted to know _______
The teacher asked, "Who speaks
English?"
The teacher wanted to know _______
"How do you know that?" she asked me.
She asked me __________

"Has Caron talked to Kevin?" my friend


asked me.
My friend asked me ___________