Direct and Indirect Speech Rules & Examples [Download Exercise PDF]

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Direct and indirect speech rules: Owing to the nuances of the systems involved, English may be a very difficult language to master. But once you get hold of the fundamentals, you can be a pro. It’s these rules that will help you create a solid base. And we all know what these fundamentals are and what every language’s base is. It’s grammar, indeed. The rest of the journey becomes much easier once you get a good grip on the grammar. So, today, we’re going to talk about one of those basic rules, an important part of English grammar, i.e., direct and indirect speech rules and examples. 

Must Read: Reported Speech: Definition, Rules, Usage with Examples

What is Direct and Indirect Speech?

First and foremost, you need to note that both Direct and Indirect Speech are an extended body of Reported Speech. To elaborate, you can refer to them as Reported Speech as well. So, let’s see how direct and indirect speech are different from each other in terms of usage from the description below.

ParticularsDirect SpeechIndirect Speech
DefinitionIt involves quoting the exact words spoken by someone, usually enclosed within quotation marks. It conveys the meaning of what someone said without using their exact words. 
ExampleMary said, “She was going to visit her parents.”Mary said that she was going to visit her parents.

Also Check: 50 Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech Exercises

6 Important Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

Now, comes the most tricky yet crucial stage of mastering this grammatical tool, which is learning in depth about all the Direct and Indirect Speech rules. It will not only aid you in dealing with a Reported speech at the school level but will also ease your preparation routine whenever you choose to take up a competitive exam or an English proficiency test in the future.

1. Rules for Changing Direct Speech to Indirect Speech

The rules for changing a direct speech into indirect is the easiest amongst the other guidelines you would find hereon. After all, you can achieve an Indirect speech sentence only by following these general rules:

  • Remove the quotation marks and the “said” or “told” from the direct speech.
  • Change the pronouns and possessive adjectives according to the speaker and the reporting verb.
  • Change the tense of the verb according to the time of the reporting verb.
For Example:
Direct: Mohan said to Sohan, “I am going to school”
Indirect: Mohan told Sohan that he is going to school

Although, these were the rules you would require to follow almost wherever you use a reported speech. But, there is more to Direct and Indirect speech rules than meets the eye.

Also Read: Best English Grammar Books: To Master Your Proficiency

2. Rules for Changing Reported Speech Interrogative

Just like the above-mentioned, to change the reported speech of questions or interrogative sentences you need to keep these changes in mind:

  • Change the yes/no question into a statement with “if” or “whether.”
  • Change the wh-question into a statement with a wh-word.

3. Rules of Changes in Tenses

Next comes the task of knowing what would be the impact on tense under the direct and indirect speech rules. So, here you go:

Let’s check the following examples for a better understanding of the changes in tenses under the umbrella of reported speech:

Direct: Reema says, “I am going out.”
Indirect: Reema says that she is going out.

Direct: Ramesh said, “Honesty is the best policy.”
Indirect: Ramesh said that honesty is the best policy.

Direct: Vishnu said, “India gained independence in 1947.”
Indirect: Vishnu said that India gained independence in 1947.

Direct: Akshat will say, “I want a slice of cake.”
Indirect: Akshat will say that he wants a slice of cake.

Direct: Reena said, “I am writing a novel.”
Indirect: Reena said that she was writing a novel.

Direct: Ayushi said, “I was working on my project.”
Indirect: Ayushi said that she had been working on her project.

Also Read: Figures of Speech with Examples, PDF

4. Modals Rules in Reported Speech

 Whereas, the rules for changes in Modals of reported speech go in the following manner:

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
MustHad to
Ought toOught to

Examples of Changes in Modal:

Direct: “I can speak five languages.”

Indirect: He said that he could speak five languages.

Direct: “I may go to London next week.”

Indirect: She said that she might go to London next week.

5. Changes in Pronouns

So far, you must have observed that multiple changes are going on when you change direct speech to Indirect speech. But did you note the change in subjects, or to be more specific changes of pronouns in the process? If not, then check the following table and learn it to use it effortlessly.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
YouThey/Them, Their/The

6. Changes in Time and Place

Last but not the final rule under the realm of reported speech, you would be required; to make these changes in time and places while transitioning from direct to indirect speech:

👉 Now: Then

👉 Here: There

👉 Today: That day

👉 Tonight: That Night

👉 Tomorrow: The next day

👉 Yesterday: The last day

👉 Last week: The previous week

👉 This: That

👉 Ago: Before

👉 Thus: So

👉 Hither: Thither

👉 Come: Go

👉 Hence: Thence

👉 Next: Following

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

Direct and Indirect Speech Exercise PDF

You can also explore exciting reads on Tenses here!

Present TensePast TenseFuture Tense
Simple Present TenseSimple Past TenseSimple Future Tense
Present Continuous TensePast Continuous TenseFuture Continuous Tense
Present Perfect TensePast Perfect TenseFuture Perfect Tense
Present Perfect Continuous TensePast Perfect ContinuousTenseFuture Perfect Continuous Tense
Present Unreal (Second Conditional)Past Unreal (Third Conditional)Future Unreal (Mixed Conditional)

This was all about the Direct and Indirect Speech rules and more. Hope you understand the concept and where it’s used. You can also follow Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs.

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