Direct and Indirect Speech Rules and Chart in English

Here are Direct and Indirect Speech Rules, charts, examples, and exercises with English explanations. Learn with a chart of Direct and indirect narrations. 

Click for Hindi explanation of the rules of Direct and Indirect Speech,

Direct Narration or Direct Speech

1. When the statement of a speaker is told as it is, it is called direct narrator or direct speech.

2. These are mainly two parts of direct narration-Reporting speech & Reported speech.

3. Reporting speech-The part which is written in inverted commas (”  “) is known as reported speech.

4. Reporting speech –The part which is written out of inverted commas (”  “) is known as reporting speech.

5. Reporting verb-The verb which comes in reporting speech, is called reporting verb.

6. The first letter of the reported speech is capitalized.

Example: He said to me, “You are telling a lie to me”.

Indirect narration or Indirect speech-

When the statement of a speaker is not told as it is, but the sense is represented in other words, it is called indirect narration.

Basic Rules of changing direct narration to indirect narration:

1. If there is no object in reporting speech, reporting verb (says, say, said, etc.) is not changed.

2. If there is an object in reporting speech, reporting verb is changed as per the following list.

Says to — tells

Say to — tell

Said to — told

shall say to — shall tell

will say to—will tell

3. After removing inverted commas, the conjunction ‘that’ is placed to join reporting speech & reported speech.

4. 1st letter of the reported speech is made small, but if it is a “proper noun or I” it should be capitalized.

5. If the reporting speech is in present or future tense, the tense of the reported speech is not changed.

6. If the reporting speech is in the past tense, the tense of the reported speech is changed according to the following table:

Direct narration—————Indirect narration

1. Present Indefinite———Past Indefinite

2. Present Continuous——Past Continuous  

3. Present Perfect————Past Perfect

4. Present Perfect Cont. —-Past Perfect Cont.

5. Past Indefinite————–Past Perfect

6. Past Continuous———–Past Perfect Cont.

7. Past Perfect——————No Change

8. Past Perfect Continuous –No Change

9. Shall/Will ———————-Should/Would

Some Other Changes:

Direct—-Indirect

This—————That

Here—– ——–There

These————Those

Now————–Then

Thus————–So

Just—————-Then

Hither——Thither

Today————-That Day

Tomorrow——–The Following Day

The next month—The following month

The next year——The following year

Yesterday———–The previous day

Last night———–The previous night

Last month———The previous month      

Examples:

1. He will say, “His brother will go to Delhi”.

He will say that his brother will go to Delhi.

2. He said to me, “Hari will not complete his work”.

He told me that Hari would not complete his work.

Rule 7: Even though the reporting speech is in the past tense, the tense of the reported speech is not changed in the following conditions:

A -Universal Truth (A thing which is always truth)

b -Habitual action (Natural behavior of living beings)

c -Historical truth (A thing that happened in History)

d -Proverb (a witty remark)

Examples: 1. The teacher said, “The sun rises in the east”.

The teacher said that the sun rises in the east.

2. My grandfather said, “Dogs bark at strangers”.

My grandfather said that Dogs bark at strangers.

3. He said, “The Taj Mahal is situated in Agra”.

He said that the Taj Mahal is situated in Agra.

4. The teacher said to me, “Honesty is the best policy”.

The teacher told that Honesty is the best policy.

Rule 8: Rules to change the direct to indirect narration with models:

a. While making indirect narration, followings are changed in the following way.

Direct—————Indirect

Can——————–Could

May——————- Might

Has to/Have to——Had to

Is to/am to/are to–Was to/were to

will——————–would

shall——————-should

b. But the following models are not changed.

could, might, must, should, ought to, used to, would, had to, was to, were to, etc.

Examples:

1.He said to me, “He cannot solve this question”.

He told me that he could not solve this question.

2. The teacher said, “He must come to school daily”.

The teacher said that he must come to school daily.

Rule 9: Rules of changing personal pronouns.

a. Personal pronouns coming in the reported speech are changed according to the subject or object of the reporting verb.

b. First persons (I, we, me, us, our, my, mine, etc)are changed according to the subject of the reporting speech.

c. Second persons (You, your, yours) are changed according to the object of the reporting speech.

d. Third persons (He, she, it, him, her, its, his, their, etc) are not changed.

Formula = S O N/1 2 3

Example:

1.He said to me, “You are doing your work”.

He told me that I was doing my work.

2. I said to my friend, “You have not returned my book”.

I told my friend that he had not returned my book.

Rule 10: Interrogative Sentences (Direct to indirect)

a.If there is an interrogative sentence in the reported speech, the reporting verb is changed according to the following table:

Said————————asked

Said to———————asked

Says————————asks

Says to———————asks

will say——————–will ask

shall say——————shall ask

b. After removing commas and Inverted commas(, “     ” ), conjunction (if or whether) is used if the sentence is 1st type or there is a helping verb in the beginning.

c. If the sentence is interrogative 2nd type, or there is a question word, in the beginning, the “question word” is used as a conjunction in the indirect speech.

d. The sentence of reported speech is made assertive and the question mark is removed.

e. Other rules are the same as earlier.

Examples:

1. The teacher said to him, “Have you completed your work?

The teacher asked him if he had completed his work.

2.My friend said to me, “Why are you not talking to me today?

My friend asked me why I was not talking to him today.

Rule 11: Imperative Sentences

1. Reporting verb “said or said to” is changed according to the following list.

-Requested

-Advised

-Suggested

-Commanded

-Ordered

-Forbade

-Asked etc

2. In place of the conjunction “to or not to” is used, however (to or not to) are not conjunctions and

3. Other changes are made as per the previous rule.

4. If the reported speech contains words like ‘sir, madam’ these words are replaced with respectfully.

Examples:

  1. The Student said to the teacher, “Please forgive me, sir”.

The student requested the teacher respectfully to forgive him.

2.The teacher said to the student, “Do your work again”.

The teacher ordered/asked the student to do his work again.

3. The mother said to Ravi, “Do not go there”.

The mother ordered Ravi not to go there.

Or

The mother forbade Ravi to go there.

4. The captain said to the team members, “Go forward and attack for a goal”.

The captain commanded the team members to go forward and attack for a goal.

Rule 12: Direct to indirect in the sentences with “Let us”

a. Reporting verb ‘said or said to’ is replaced with ‘suggested/proposed to’.

b. After removing ‘let us’ we use (that we should, that you should, or that they should) according to the sense.

c. If there is any first person in place of the subject or object in reporting speech, we use “that we should”.

d. If there is no “first person” but the second person is present, then we use “that you should”.

e. If the first person and second person are not present, then we use ‘that they should’.

Examples:

1. My friend said to me, “Let us go to school.”

My friend suggested me that we should go to school.

2. He said to you, “Let us read a book”.

He suggested you that you should read a book.

3. He said, “Let us go home”.

He suggested that they should go home.

Rule 13: Exclamatory Sentences

a. Reporting verb ‘said’ or ‘said to’ is replaced with one of the following phrases according to the sense.

Exclaimed with joy————-Hurrah!

Exclaimed with sorrow——-Alas!

Exclaimed with surprise——What! How!

Applauded——Saying——–Bravo!

b. Conjunction ‘that’ is used.

c. The sense of reporting speech is made assertive.

Examples:

1. The old woman said, “Alas! I am ruined,”

The old woman exclaimed with sorrow that she was ruined.

2. He said, “Hurrah! We have won the match”.

He exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.

3. He said, “How fine the day is!”

He exclaimed with surprise that the day was very fine.

Rule 14: Optative sentences

a. If the reported speech is in optative sentence, Reporting verb ‘said’ or ‘said to’ is changed into one of the following according to the sense.

Prayed————Prathana ki

Blesed———-Aashirwad diya

Wished——–Shubhkamnaye di

Bade———–Kaha

Cursed———Abhishrap diya

b. Sometimes conjunction is taken ‘that’ but sometimes conjunction is not used. Along with “happy”, ‘a’ is taken in place of conjunction, but conjunction is not used along with “good”.

Examples:

1. The old man said, “May you live long!”

 The old man prayed that he might live a long life.

2. The old egger said angrily, “Go to hell!”.

The old beggar cursed angrily that he might go to hell.

3. He said to his friend, “Happy Diwali”.

He wished his friend a happy Diwali.

4. He said, “Good morning, my friends”.

He bade good morning to his friends.

Chart of Direct to Indirect Speech:

Sentence  IdentificationSaid, said toConjunction 
AssertiveSubject+HV+MV+Object+Comp.Tell, tells, toldThat 
Interrogative 1 typeBegins with ‘Helping Verb’ …at the end ‘?’Asks, ask, AskedIf, whether 
Interrogative 2typeBegins with ‘question Word’..at the end ‘?’  Asks, ask, askedQuestion word 
ImperativeBegins with Please, don’t, or verb….  Advised, suggested, Ordered, requested, Forbadeto, not to   
Let usLet us  Suggested, proposedThat we should That you should That they should 
Let without usLet +other words except us  Advised, suggested, Forbade, Ordered, commanded, requestedto, not to 
Exclamatory Hurrah, Alas, what a, how…   Exclaimed with joy Exclaimed with sorrow Exclaimed With surprise Applauded–sayingThat 
OptativePrayer, blessing, Courses, and wishes are presented.Prayed, blessed, Coursed, wishedThat 
     
     
GoodBegins with GoodBadeNothing 
HappyBegins with ‘Happy’WishedA 

Click for Hindi explanation of the rules of Direct and Indirect Speech,

Rules of Active to passive

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