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What is direct and indirect speech?

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In the English language, there are two ways of conveying a message spoken by a person, referred to as direct and indirect speech. Here is an article that will help get you well-acquainted with both the types of speech in English grammar.

english-direct speech

What is direct speech?

Direct speech, often known as quoted speech, is a sentence or a number of sentences that reports speech in its original form, in simpler words, just as phrased by the original speaker. Direct speech has sentences that are enclosed within quotation marks. Also, the cited speaker is either mentioned in the statement or implied.

Examples:

1. She said, "Today's gym class is on power yoga." Or "Today's gym class is on power yoga", she said.
2. Rajiv said, "I am very busy right now."
3. Rita said, "My mother is writing a book."

english-indirect speech

What is indirect speech?

Indirect speech, also known as reported speech is a form of expressing the content of statements without quoting them as done in direct speech.  In addition, unlike direct speech, indirect speech does not have to be word for word. As while reporting the tense usually changes.

Examples:

1. She said it was cold.
2. He said that he would teach us something new today.
3. Shivani told me that I needed to relax and take things slow.

The concept of direct and indirect speech does not end here, as there is one 'major' rule that you need to pay heed to while learning English grammar.

Tense Change:

One of the most important rules in direct and indirect speech is that when you report something spoken by someone, you need to go back a tense. See in the below table how the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right of the table.

Direct Speech

Indirect Speech

Rita said, “It’s hot!”

Rita said it was hot.

He said, “I am teaching a class online.”

He said that he was teaching a class online.

Jasmine said, “I was thinking about him yesterday.”

Jasmine said that she was thinking about him yesterday.

He said, “I am the only star of the show.”

He said that he was the only star of the show.

She asked, “May I turn to the next page?”

She asked if she could turn to the next page.

He said, “I need a house.”

He said that he needed a house.

She said, “I will come tomorrow.”

She said that she would come tomorrow.

He said, “I can’t make it.”

He said that he couldn’t make it.

She asked, “Can I open a new tab?”

She asked if she could open a new tab.

english grammar

Learning English grammar could get a little confusing; however, with a little dedication and concentration you can easily develop a deep understanding of the same. You can also study English by enrolling in an English language speaking course online to help improve your grammar understanding as well as improve your English communication skills further.

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- By Chander Madan

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