How to Change Sentences into Indirect Speech

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Change sentences into indirect speech: Indirect Speech often known as reported speech is a linguistic tool. It helps to quote someone else words that are not the actual words of the speaker. In this blog article, we learn about the meaning of indirect speech, examples of indirect speech, and practice exercises to master the art of changing sentences to indirect speech.

MUST READ! Reported Speech: Definition, Rules, Usage with Examples, Tips, Exercises for Students

Understanding Indirect Speech

Indirect Speech includes paraphrasing speakers’ words instead of defining the actual words of the speaker. This linguistic device is used to maintain politeness of tone and social dynamics. It is an important concept that allows a speaker to convey information tactfully while maintaining the meaning of the words spoken by the speaker.

Examples of Indirect Speech

Let us comprehend the few examples of Indirect Speech for the proper understanding of the concept.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
He said to him,” Do you live in Chandigarh?”He asked him if he lived in Chandigarh.
She said to her mother “Are you going to school tomorrow?”She asked her mother if she was going to school the next day.
The professor said to me “ Did you come late today?”The professor asked me if I came late the same day.
My mother said to me,” What do you want?”My mother asked me what I wanted.
The teacher said to Ram,” Where are you going?”The teacher asked Ram where he was going.
She said to my sister,” Will you take tea?”She asked my sister if she would take tea.

Rules for Changing Sentences To Indirect Speech

Here are the key rules for converting sentences from direct speech to indirect speech. These rules include changes in verb tense, pronouns, and other elements to maintain the meaning of the original statement.

Changes in Tenses 

Simple Present Changes to Simple Past 

For example, He said,” I like chocolates”.

           He said that he liked chocolates.

Present Continuous Changes to Past Continuous

For example, He said,” We are studying”.

                      He said that they were studying.

Present Perfect Changes to Past Perfect

For example, He said,” They have finished”

                      He said that they had finished.

Present Perfect Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous, 

For example, She said, “ They have been living in Canada since 1970.”

                       She said that they had been living in Canada since 1970.

Simple Past Changes to Past Perfect

For example, He said, “ They played in the garden”.

                       He said that they had played in the garden.

Past Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous

For example, He said,” They had grown vegetables.”

                       He said that they had been growing vegetables.

Future Indefinite Changes will and shall and should accordingly

For example, He said,” He will go to the market.”

                       He said that he would go to the market.

Changes in the Pronouns

Pronouns in the direct speech change according to the perspective of the speaker.

  • First-person changes according to subject
  • Second-person changes according to the object
  • Third-person pronoun there is no change.
  • Follows the SON rule that is easy to remember

For Example She said,” I love her job.” (direct speech)

                       She said that she loved her job. (indirect speech)

Also Read Tenses Rules: Charts, Examples, Types [PDF Available]

Changes in the Adverbs of Time and Place

Adverbs change according to the context

  • Now to then, 
  • Here to there, 
  • Today to the same day, 
  • Yesterday to the last day, etc.

For example: He said,” I will go to school tomorrow.” (Direct Speech)

                     He said that he would go to the school the next day. (Indirect Speech)

Must Read: Subject-Verb Agreement: Definition, 12 Rules & Examples

Exercise to Change Sentences from Direct to Indirect Speech

Let’s check your understanding of the sentences that have been changed from direct to indirect speech:

  1. “I can’t believe you did that!” exclaimed Sonali.
  2. “What time is the meeting?” asked the teacher.
  3. “I love this song!” shouted Mohit
  4. “Where did you find that book?” inquired the teacher
  5. “I’ll be there by 3 PM,” promised Alia
  6. “Stop right there!” commanded the officer
  7. “Would you like some coffee?” offered James
  8. “Let’s go to the beach this weekend,” suggested Rohit
  9. “I don’t want to go to the dentist,” complained Tina.
  10. “Congratulations on your promotion!” cheered Mary.


Match your answers with the solved exercises to analyze the understanding of the concept.

  1. Sonali exclaimed with surprise that she couldn’t believe he had done that.
  2. The teacher asked about the time of the meeting.
  3. Mohit enthusiastically shouted that he loved that song.
  4. The teacher inquired where the book had been found.
  5. Alia promised that she would be there by 3 PM.
  6. The officer commanded me to stop right there.
  7. James offered coffee.
  8. Rohit suggested going to the beach that weekend.
  9. Tina complained that she didn’t want to go to the dentist.
  10. Mary cheered and congratulated on the promotion.

Must Read: Figures of Speech: Types, Usage & Examples [Download PDF]


What is the difference between direct and indirect speech?

Direct speech is the actual words spoken by a person and is written in quotation marks, while indirect speech defines the meaning of the original statement without quoting the actual words of the speaker. Indirect speech involves various changes in verb tense, pronouns, and other elements.

How do pronouns change in Indirect Speech?

Pronouns change according to the SON Rule where SON stands for:
First-person changes according to (S-Subject) 
Second-person changes according to(O- Object) 
A third-person there is (N- No Change)

What Reporting Verbs are Commonly Used in Indirect Speech?

A few  reporting verbs used in indirect speech are “said,” “told,” “asked,” “explained,” inquired, commanded, requested, exclaimed with joy, etc.” The choice of reporting verb reflects the tone and meaning of the reported speech.

What is an example of changing a sentence from direct to indirect speech?

Direct Speech: It’s been raining since this afternoon.
Indirect Speech: He said it’d been raining since that afternoon.

Direct and Indirect Speech Guide with ExercisesHow to Change Sentences into Indirect Speech
Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech ExercisesExamples of Direct and Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences
Direct and Indirect Speech Rules & ExamplesTypes of Reported Speech
Reported Speech Exercises For Class 9Reported Speech Interrogative: Rules, Examples & Exercise
Direct And Indirect Speech QuestionsDirect and Indirect Speech Exercises With Answers for Class 12

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