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Direct and Indirect speech rules

01 Oct, 2018 SSC English Language

Easy way to understand Direct and Indirect speech rules.


There two ways to convey a message of a person, or the words spoken by a person to other person.

1.  Direct speech

2.  Indirect speech

Suppose your friend whose name is Vipul tells you in College , “I will give you a pen”. You come to home and you want to tell your brother what your friend told you. There are two ways to tell him.

Direct speech: Vipul said, “I will give you a pen”.

Indirect Speech: Vipul said that he would give me a pen.


In direct speech the original words of person are narrated (no change is made) and are enclosed in quotation mark. While in indirect speech some changes are made in original words of the person because these words have been spoken in past so the tense will change accordingly and pronoun may also be changed accordingly.

In indirect speech the statement of the person is not enclosed in quotation marks, the word “that” may be used before the statement to show that it is indirect speech.  Indirect speech is also called reported speech because reported speech refers to the second part of indirect speech in which something has been told by a person.


Note: In Simple words :-

Quoting the exact words of the speaker is called “The Direct Speech”.

David said, “I am writing a letter now”.

Reporting of what a speaker said without quoting his exact words is called ‘Indirect Speech’.

David said that he was writing a letter then.


Reporting verb: 

The verb first part of sentence (i.e. he said, she said, he says, they said, she says,) before the statement of a person in sentence is called reporting verb.

Example. In all of the following example the reporting verb is “said”.

He said, “I work in a factory”                            (Direct speech)

He said that he worked in a factory.                (Indirect speech)


They said, “we are going to cinema”               (Direct speech)

They said that they were going to cinema.     (Indirect speech)


Reported Speech:

The second part of indirect speech in which something has been told by a person (which is enclosed in quotation marks in direct speech) is called reported speech. For example, a sentence of indirect speech is, He said that he worked in a factory. In this sentence the second part he worked in a factory is called reported speech and that is why the indirect speech as a whole can also be called reported speech.

  The adverbs of nearness should be put into those of distance


Direct Speech


Indirect Speech







here after


there after















that day



that night

last night


the previous night



the day before (or)
the previous day



the next day (or)
the following day

last week


the week before (or)
the previous week

next week


the week after (or)
the following week

last month


the month before (or)
the previous month

next month


a month after








Change in tense of reported speech for all TENSES.



                 PRESENT SIMPLE changes into PAST SIMPLE

He said, “I write a letter”

She said, “he goes to school daily”

They said, “we love our country”

He said, “he does not like computer”

He said that he wrote a letter.

He said that she went to school daily.

They said that they loved their country

He said that he did not like computer.


He said, “he is listening to the music”

She said, “I am washing my clothes”

They said, “we are enjoying the weather”

I said, “it is raining”
She said, “I am not laughing”

He said that he was listening to the music.

She said that she was washing her clothes.

They said that they were not enjoying the weather.

She said that she was not laughing.

              PRESENT PERFECT changes into PAST PERFECT

She said, “he has finished his work”

He said, “I have started a job”

I said, “she have eaten the meal”

They said, “we have not gone to New York.

She said that he had finished his work.

He said that he had started a job.

I said that she had eaten the meal.

They said that they had not gone to New York.


He said, “I have been studying since 3 O’clock”

She said, “It has been raining for three days.”

I said, “She has been working in this office since 2007”

He said that he had been studying since 3 O’clock.

She said that it been raining for three days.

I said that she had been working in this office since 2007.


                PAST SIMPLE changes into PAST PERFECT

He said to me, “you answered correctly”

John said, “they went to cinema”

He said, “I made a table”
She said, “I didn’t buy a car”

He said to me that I had answered correctly.

John said that they had gone to cinema.

He said that he had made a table.

She said that she had not bought a car.


They said, “we were enjoying the weather”

He said to me, “ I was waiting for you”

I said, “It was raining”
She said, “I was not laughing”

They said that they had been enjoying.

He said to me that he had been waiting for me.
I said that it had been raining.

She said that she not been laughing.

PAST PERFECT changes into PAST PERFECT (tense does not change)

She said, “She had visited a doctor”

He said, “I had started a business”

I said, “she had eaten the meal”

They said, “we had not gone to New York.

She said that she had visited a doctor.

He said that he had started a business.

I said that she had eaten the meal.

They said they had not gone to New York.


WILL changes into WOULD

He said, “I will study the book”

She said, “I will buy a computer”

They said to me, “we will send you gifts”

I said, “I will not take the exam”

He said that he would study the book.

She said that she would buy a computer.

They said to me that they would send you gifts.

I said that I would not take the exam.

WILL BE changes into WOULD BE

I said to him, “ I will be waiting for him”

She said,” I will be shifting to new home”

He said, “I will be working hard”

He said, “he will not be flying kite”

I said to him that I would be waiting for him.

She said that she would be shifting to a new home.

He said that he would be working hard.

She said that he would not be flying kites.


He said, “I will have finished the work”

She said, “they will have passed the examination”

He said, “I will have gone”

He said that he would have finished the work.

She said that they would have passed the examination.

He said that he would have gone


Other Important Rules


Statement (or) Assertive Sentence

Rules :

  • Remove the quotation marks in the statement
  • Use the conjuction ‘that’
  • Change the reporting verb ‘say to’ into ‘tell’
  • Change the reporting verb ‘said to’ into ‘told’

Note :

  • He said that (correct)
  • He told me that (correct)
  • He told that (Incorrect)

1. “I will work hard to get first class” said Lazar (D.S.)

Lazar said he would work hard to get first class. (I.S.)

2. “You can do this work” said Nelson to Johnsi (D.S.)

Nelson told Johnsi that he could do that work. (I.S.)

3. He says, “I am glad to be here this evening”(D.S.)

He says that he is glad to be there that evening. (I.S.)

4.“I‘m going to the library now” said David (D.S.)

David said that he was going to the library then. (I.S.)


Imperative Sentence (Order or Request)

Rules :

  • Remove the quotation mark in an Imperative sentence.
  • Use ‘to’ if it is an affirmative sentence. (without don‘t)
  • Use ‘not to’ if the sentence begins without Don‘t.
  • Don‘t use ‘that’
  • Omit the word ‘please’. Use the word ‘request’ instead of ‘say’.
  • If the direct speech contains a request or a command, the reporting verb (say, said) change to tell, request, order, command etc. In its correct tense.

1. “Don‘t talk in the class” said the teacher to the boys. (D.S.)

The teacher advised the boys not to talk in the class. (I.S.)

2.“Please give me something to eat. I am hungry” the old man said to them. (D.S.)

The old man requested them to give him something to eat and said that he was hungry (I.S.)

3. “Be careful” said he to her. (D.S.)

He ordered her to be careful. (I.S.)

4. “Bring me a cup of tea” said Nelson to Andriya. (D.S.)

Nelson asked Andriya to bring him a cup of tea. (I.S.)


Interrogative Sentence (Questions)

Rules :

  • Remove the quotation marks and question mark in the interrogative sentence.
  • Use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ if the sentence inside the quotation marks begins with a helping verb (Auxiliary verb).
  • Use the given interrogative word (what, when, where, why, who, whom, whose, which, now etc.) if it does not begin with the helping verb.
  • Don‘t use ‘that’
  • Changing the reporting verb (say, said) into ‘ask’ or ‘enquire’ in its correct tense.
  • Omit helping verb like ‘do, does, did’. But don’t omit them when they are with ‘not’.

1. “Won’t you help me to caary this box?” said I to my friend. (D.S.)

I asked my friend if he would not help me to carry that box. (I.S.)

2. Mohan said to Stalin, “Why did not you attend the meeting yesterday”? (D.S.)

Mohan asked Stalin why he had not attended the meeting the day before. (I.S.)

3. “How often do you go to the theatre?” said David to John. (D.S.)

David asked John how often he went to the theatre. (I.S.)

4. Mohamed said to Sultan, “Do you like mangoes?” (D.S.)

Mohamed asked Sultan if he liked mangoes. (I.S.)


Exclamatory Sentence 

Rules :

  • Change the exclamatory sentence into satement or Assertive
  • Remove the quotation marks and exclamatory mark.
  • Use the conjunction ‘that’
  • Omit the interjections such as Oh, O, Alas, how, what, hurrah.
  • Add the word ‘very’ to the adjective or adverb if necessary.
  • If the verb is not given, use ‘Be’ form verb (is, was, are, were, am) in its correct tense according to the subject.
  • Change the reporting verb (say, said) to ‘exclaim joyfully’
  • Use ‘exclaim’ sorrowfully for sorrowful incidents.

1. “O, what a beautiful flower that is!” said she. (D.S.)

She exclaimed joyfully that that was a very beautiful flower. (I.S.)

2. “What a horrible sight!” we all exclaimed. (D.S.)

We all exclaimed that it was a very horrible sight. (I.S.)

3. “Alas! I have broken my brother’s watch” said he.

He exclaimed sorrowfully that he had broken his brothers watch. (I.S.)

4. “How beautiful she is!” said Boon. (D.S.)

Boon exclaimed joyfully that she was very beautiful. (I.S.)