English Direct and Indirect Speech

English Direct And Indirect Speech

At time we put the statement of a speaker without any changes. This is called Direct Speech. But, at times we put the statement of a speaker with some changes. This is called Indirect Speech. In Direct Speech we keep the statement within inverted (‘…’), but inverted commas are not used in Indirect Speech.

Example:
Direct: Zehra said, ‘I will read the book.’
Indirect: Zehra said that she would read the book.

Notice the change in language and structure of the sentence in Indirect Speech. Now, the question arises-how these changes are made. There are certain rules for making these changes. For your conveniences, I will divide these rules into General and Special rules.
But before understanding these rules, you need to know certain terms related to Direct and Indirect speech.
Reporting Verbs And Verb Of The Reported Speech
You have noticed above that there is a sentence outside the inverted commas. The verb of that sentenced is called reported speech and the verb of that sentence is called verb of the reported speech. Example:
Seema said to me, ’I will help you.’
(Reporting Verbs)       (Reporting Speech)
Kinds Of Sentences
            There are five kinds of sentences: (I) Assertive, (II) Imperative, (III) Interrogative, (IV) Operative and (V) Exclamatory.
You need to keep at the back of your mind these kinds of sentences, because you have to change the sentence, which is within inverted commas, from direct to indirect according to rules. I will discuss it later on.
GENERAL RULES:
Divide these rules into three categories:
1.                   Change of personal pronoun.
2.                   Change of tense.
3.                   Miscellaneous changes.
Change of Personal Pronoun
Change of Personal Pronoun in Different Cases:
Person
Nominate case
Objective case
Possessive case
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
First
I
We
Me
Us
My, mine  
Our/ ours
Second
Thou*
You**
Thee*
You**
They* thine*  
your**
Third
He/she /it
They
Him/her/ it
Them
His/her/ its
Their/ theirs
*           These terms are now seldom used.
**         These terms are used while speaking to one person or more than one person.
Persons (first/second/third) of pronoun in the inverted commas are changed according to certain rules while changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech.
You remember the word SON.
Subject            Object            No Change
                  ↑                       ↑                         ↑
                  S                       O                       N
                     1                          2                           3
                     ↓                          ↓                           ↓
         
          First Person       Second Person    Third Person  
Rule 1.
First person (I, my, me, we, our, us) used in the reported speech should be changed according to the subject of the reporting verb. Example:
1.             Direct: Seema says,’I will read the book.’
            Indirect:           Seema says that she will read the book.
            Explanation:     first person (I) of the reported speech is changed according to the subject (Seema) of the reporting verb.
·                     Subject is in the third person, singular number and nominative case, hence ‘she’.
2.                   Direct: You say, ’I am in the right.’
            Indirect:           You say that you are in the right.
Rule 2.
Second person (you, your, etc.) used in the reported speech should be changed according to the object of the reporting verb. Example:
1.                   Direct: Nazia told me, ‘you should read your book.’
Indirect:           Nazia told me that I should read my book.
Explanation:     Second person (you, your) used in the reported speech is changed according to the object (me) of the reporting verb.
·         ‘Me’ is in objective case.
·         ‘You’ is in nominate case.
·         Nominative case of ‘me’ is ‘I’, hence ‘I’.
·         ‘Your’ is in possessive case. Possessive case of ‘me’ is ‘my’, hence ‘my’.
2.                   Direct:              Swapna says to Seema, ‘you have done your duty’.
Indirect:           Swapna tells Seema that she has done her duty.
Rule 3:
Third person used in the reported speech is not changed at all. Example:
1.                   Direct: Alia says, ‘ he will read his book’.
Indirect:           Alia says that he will read book.
Explanation:     3rd person (he, she) is not changed. Hence you find that they have been not changed while changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech.
2.                   Direct: Fatima says, ‘she does not like old films.’
Indirect:           Fatima says that she does not like old films.
3.         Direct: Ashraf says. ‘They have cheated us.’
           Indirect:           Ashraf says that they have cheated them.
CHANGE OF TENSE
It is very important to know how to change the tense of the reported speech. Let us know the rules.
Rule 1.
If the reporting verb is in preset or future tense, you need not change tense of the verb of the reported speech. Example:
1.        Direct: Swaira says, ‘she reads a book.’
           Indirect:           Swaira says that she reads a book.
           Explanation:     as reporting verb (says) is in the present tense, tense of the reported speech has not been changed.
2.        Direct: Swaira has said.’ She read a book.’
           Indirect:           Swaira has said that she read a book.
3.        Direct:              Swaira will say, ‘she wrote the book.’
           Indirect:           Swaira will say that she wrote the book.
           Explanation:     reporting verb (will) is in future tense, hence tense of the reported speech has not been changed.
Rule 2.
If the reporting verb is in past tense and the verb of the reported speech is present or future tense, verb of the present or future tense in the reported speech is changed into corresponding past tense.
1.       Present Indefinite (go)-Past Indefinite (went).
2.       Present Imperfect (is, am, are)-Past Imperfect (was, were).
3.       Present Perfect (has, have)- Past Perfect Continues (had been).
4.       Present Perfect continues (has/have been)- Past Perfect Continues (had been).
5.       Can, will, may- could would should might.
Example:
1.                   Direct: Arshid said. ‘I will play.’
     Indirect:           Arshad said that he would play.
            Explanation:     reporting verb (said) is in past tense, hence ’will’ in the reported speech has been changed into would.  
2.                   Direct: Arshad said, ‘ I am playing.’
     Indirect:           Arshad said that he was playing.
      Direct: Arshad said, ‘I have played.  
     Indirect:           Arshad said that he had played.
3.                   Direct: Arshad, ‘I may play.’
     Indirect:           Arshad said that he might play.
4.                   Direct: Arshid said,”I may play.”
      Indirect:           Arshid said that he might play.
Rule 3:
      This rule is the most important one and students generally commit mistakes due to not understanding this rule clearly. Let me try to make it simple to help you in making your conception clear.
      If both reporting verb and reported speech are in Past Tense, change should be made as follows:
1.       If the reporting verb is in past tense and reported speech is in past indefinite, it (reposted speech) should be changed into past perfect. Example:
      Direct:              Naveed said, ”I committed a mistake.”
      Indirect:           Naveed said that he had committed a mistake.
2.       If the reporting verb is in past tense and reported speech is not past imperfect, it should be changed into past perfect continuous. Example:
      Direct:              Naveed said,’ I was committing a mistake.”
      Indirect:           Naveed said that he had been committing a mistake.
3.       If the reporting verb is in past tense and reported speech is in past perfect or past perfect continuous, no change is to be made in the tense of the reported speech. Examples:
      Direct:              Naveed said, ‘ I had committed a mistake.”
      Indirect:           Naveed that he had committed a mistake.
      Exception:
1.   If a universal truth or habitual fact or a proverb is stated in the reported speech, it (reported speech) shall not be changed even if the reporting verb is in past tense. Example:
(a)  Direct:              An old man said, “the earth revolves round the sun.” (Universal truth)
      Indirect:           An old man said that the earth revolves round the sun.
(b)  Direct:              Rahim said to me, “I write with my left hand.”
 (Habitual fact)
      Indirect:           Rahim told me that he writes his left hand.
(c)  Direct:              Father said, “A bad carpented quarrels with his tools.” (Proverb)
      Indirect:           Father said that the sun rises in the east.
(d)  Direct:              The teacher said,” The sun rises in the east.”
(Universal truth)
      Indirect:           The teacher said that the sun rises in the east.
(e)  Direct:              Father said, “Truth triumphs at the end.”
(Proverb)
      Indirect:           Father said that truth triumphs at the end.
3.                   If ‘to (infinitive), would, could, should, must, might, ought to’ are used in the reported speech, they are not changed. Example:
           Direct:              He said, ‘Students must obey their teachers.”
           Indirect:           He said that students must obey their teachers.
MISCELLANEOUS CHNAGES
This                =         That                 Thus           =   So
These              =         Those               Come         =   Go
Now                =         Then                Yesterday  =   Previous day
Here               =         There               Tomorrow  =    Next day
Today             =         That day           Next week =   Following week
Tonight           =         That night        Last week  =    Previous week
This week       =         That week
SPECIAL RULES
           Now, I will discuss special rules. Different rules are applicable for different sentences for changing them from direct to indirect speech. I will take up each sentence one by one.
ASSERTIVE SENTENCE
1.        If there is an object after reporting verb, change ‘say to’ int ‘tell’, ‘says to’ into ‘tell’, ‘said to’ into ‘told’. If there is no object after the reporting verb, do not change the verb.
Remember ‘to’ is not used after tell(s) or told.
2.        Remove comma and inverted commas, and use ‘that’ in place of the opening quote.
3.        If object of the reporting verb is found in reported speech instead of reporting verb itself, make it object of the reporting verb. Example:
Direct:            Rahim said, ‘Father, I am pleased with you”.
Indirect:         Rahim told father that he was pleased with him.
4.        Change pronouns and tense of the verb of reported speech according to the rules discussed previously.
Solved examples:
1.        Direct:              Rahim said, “I hae done my work”.
           Indirect:           Rahim said that he had done his work.
2.        Direct:              Rahim said to me, “I cannot help you in your work.”
           Indirect:           Rahim told me that he could not help me in my work.
3.        Direct: The thief said, ‘I am innocent.”
           Indirect:           The thief said that he was innocent.
4.        Direct:              Rahim said to me, ‘I shall help you in your work.”
           Indirect:           Rahim told me that he would help me in my work.
5.        Direct: My father said, ‘I am going to Lahore.”
           Indirect:           My father said that he was going to Lahore.
6.        Direct: My father says, “I will go to Lahore.”
           Indirect:           My father says that he will go to Lahore.
INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE
1.                   Change the reporting verb ‘say(s) to’ or ‘said to’ into ‘asks’ or ‘asked’.
2.                   If the reported speech begins with helping verb (is, am, are, was, were, do, does, did, has, have, had, will, would, can, could, shall, should, may, might, must), remove the inverted commas and use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ to join the reporting verb and reported speech.
3.                   If the reported speech begins with w-family words, i.e. ‘who, whose, whom, when, where, which, what, why, how’, remove the inverted commas but do not use the conjunction ‘if’ or ‘whether’.
4.                   Helping verb should be put after the subject of the reported speech.
5.                   Remove the question mark and put full stop in its place.
Solved examples:
1.   Direct:              Mohsin said to Rahim, “Will you help me?
       Indirect:           Mohsin asked Rahim if he would help him.
2.   Direct:              Rahim said to Faraz, “Who teaches you English?”
           Indirect:           Rahim asked Faraz who taught him English?
3.   Direct:              Saira said to Alia, “Is coffee ready for me?”
           Indirect:           Saira asked Alia if coffee was ready for her.
4.   Direct:              Rahim said to Abdul, “Have you finished your work?”
           Indirect:           Rahim asked Abdul if he had finished his work.
IMPERATIVE SENTENCE
1.       Change reporting verb into ‘order, advise, request, warn, forbid, prohibit’ according to the meaning of the reported speech.
2.       Remove the inverted commas and use ‘to’ to join the reporting verb and reported speech.
3.       In case of negative imperative replace ‘do’ with ‘not to’ and ‘said to’ with ‘forbade’, leaving ‘not’.
Solved examples:
1.   Direct:              Faiza said to Farzana, ‘Do not speak a lie.’
      Indirect:           Faiza advised Farzana not to speak a lie.
2.   Direct:              Father said o me, ‘Do not go to the cinema.”
      Indirect:           Father forbade me to go to the cinema.
3.   Direct:              Rani said to her friend, ‘Lat me go home early.’
      Indirect:           Rani requested her friend to let her go home early.
4.   Direct:              The teacher told us, ‘Don’t cry’.
      Indirect:           The teacher forbade us to cry.
                                                Or
                        The teacher ordered us not to cry.
OPTATIVE SENTENCE:
1.       Change the reporting verb into ‘curse/bless/pray/wish’ according of the reported speech.
2.       In the reported speech, keep the subjects before its verb.
3.       Sign of exclamation should be changed into full stop.
Solved examples
1.   Direct:              The beggar said to me, “May you live long!”.
      Indirect:           The beggar prayed that I might live long.
2.   Direct: He told me, “May you die!”
      Indirect:           He cursed that I might die.
EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE:
1.   Reporting verb should be changed in the following manner:
            Said     =   exclaimed with sorrow (Ah! Alas)
                        =   exclaimed with Joy (Aha! Ha! Hurrah!)             =         exclaimed with regret (Sorry)
                        =   exclaimed with surprise (Oh! What! How!)                    =         exclaimed with contempt (Pooh!)                                          =         applauded (Bravo!)
3.       Inverted commas should be replaced by that.
4.       Sign of exclamation should be changed into full stop.
5.       ‘What’ and ‘How’ used in the reported speech should be replaced with very or great.
Solved examples:
1.   Direct:              Javaid said ,’ what a fine place it is!’
            Indirect:           Javaid exclaimed with joy that it was a fine place.
2.   Direct:              Shabbir said, ‘Hurrah! We have won the match.’
            Indirect:           Shabbir exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.
3.   Direct:              Asif said, ‘Alas! We have lost the match.”
            Indirect:           Asif exclaimed with sorrow that they had lost the match.
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