Direct and indirect Speech

Remember, there are two ways to deliver the message of somebody. In one way you just deliver it in the same words as you have received, and in another way you deliver it in your own words.

If somebody asked you “I am coming in few minutes” and you deliver it in same words, this is called a direct speech. In other way if you deliver in your own words, like, “he is coming in few minutes” this is the indirect speech. Hence the two speeches are;

  1. Direct Speech
  2. Indirect Speech

Since you repeat the words of a person as you have received that’s why statement under quotes is called Reported Speech, whereas outside commas, like he said, she says etc is called Reporting Speech.

He said, “I shall come tomorrow”
He said is reporting speech whereas “I shall come tomorrow” is reported speech, because this is a thing that is reported.

Examples of Direct and Indirect speech

  • Forster said, “I will be here tomorrow”
    Forster said that he would be there next day.
  • His father said, “Open the door”
    His father ordered to open the door.
  • He said, “I may purchase laptop”
    He said that he might purchase laptop.

Indirect speech is without commas because here you don’t quote anything.

Some Basic Rules for Narrations

  1. Reported speech is always in quotes.
  2. The word that is used as conjunction to join two clauses together. Remember when the sentence is imperative or interrogative the conjunctions are different. The detail is on the later pages.
  3. The subject in indirect speech is changed according to the situation. He said, “I can do this.” Changes into He said that he could do that.
  4. Whenever reported speech is in present or future tense, like, he says or he will say no change in tense is made in reported speech while converting it into indirect speech.
  5. Whenever reported speech is in past tense, there are many changes made in the reported speech while converting it into indirect speech. These changes are as under.
  • If reported speech is in present tense it will be converted into past. Like examples given below.
    Present Indefinite into Past Indefinite
    Present Continuous into Past Continuous
    Present Perfect into Past Perfect
    Present Perfect Continuous
    into Past Perfect Continuous
  • Other changes
    Past Indefinite into Past Perfect
    Past Continuous
    into Past Perfect Continuous
    will and shall
    into would
  1. Say(s) / said in the reporting speech may be converted into tell(s) / told.


  • He said, “I can do this”
    He said that he could do that.
  • He says, “They went to the market”
    He says that they went to the market.
  • John said, “I can handle the situation”
    John said that he could handle the situation.
  • They said, “We can win”
    They said that they could win.
  • His friend will say, “I cannot do this”
    His friend will say that he cannot do this.