Rules For Direct And Indirect Speech For English Language

Rules For Direct And Indirect Speech For English Language

In this article, we will cover the important principles of direct and indirect speech, relevant to the English language section of various competitive exams.


Aspirants for various government exams like SSC, RRB, IBPS, Insurance, etc. must go through the concept and rules of direct–indirect speech carefully, as the English language is part of the syllabus of most of these exams.


What is direct and indirect speech?

Direct speech - reporting the speaker's message exactly as he said it.


Example of direct speech: Maya said 'I am busy now'.


Indirect Speech: Reporting the speaker's message in your own words


Example of indirect speech: Maya said that she was busy at the moment.


Let's understand direct and indirect principles with examples and for all tenses so that you can apply them correctly without making any mistakes in exams.


Rules of direct and indirect speech

Rules for converting direct to indirect speech


There are various factors that are considered to convert a sentence from direct speech to indirect speech, such as reporting verbs, patterns, time, place, pronouns, tense, etc.


Rule 1 - Direct Indirect Speech Change - Reporting Verbs

When the reporting verb of direct speech is in the past tense, all present tenses change to the corresponding past tense in indirect speech.

Examples of direct to indirect speech:


Direct: He said, 'I am happy'.


Indirect: She said (that) she was happy.


In indirect speech, the tense does not change if the words used within quotation marks (') speak of habitual action or universal truth.

Examples of direct to indirect speech:


Example of direct: He said, 'We cannot live without air'.


Example of indirect: He said that we cannot live without air.


The tense of direct speech does not change if the reporting verb is in the future tense or the present tense.

Examples of direct to indirect speech:


Direct: She says/will say, 'I'm going.


Indirect: She says/will say that she is going.


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