Direct and indirect speech are like two ways of presenting conversations in writing; they allow us to report what someone said in different styles. Just as quoting someone directly captures their exact words, indirect speech presents the reported speech in a more narrative form.
Quoting Exact Words:
Direct speech involves quoting the exact words of a speaker, using quotation marks to indicate the speech.
Mary said, “I will be there at 5 o’clock.”
Reporting with Question and Exclamation Marks:
When directly quoting questions or exclamations, the original punctuation is retained.
He asked, “Where are you going?”
She exclaimed, “What a beautiful day!”
Reporting the Sense of Speech:
Indirect speech involves reporting the sense of what someone said without using quotation marks.
Mary said that she would be there at 5 o’clock.
Changes in Pronouns and Verb Tenses:
When transforming from direct to indirect speech, pronouns, and verb tenses may change according to the reporting context.
Direct: He said, “I am going to the store.”
Indirect: He said that he was going to the store.
Reporting verbs such as “said,” “asked,” “told,” “exclaimed,” etc., are used to introduce indirect speech.
She told me that she had finished her work.
Punctuation in Indirect Speech:
Changes in Punctuation:
In indirect speech, the quotation marks are not used, and the reporting clause may end with a comma or a full stop.
Direct: “I am busy,” she said.
Indirect: She said that she was busy.
In indirect speech, reported questions are introduced with reporting verbs and typically use “if” or “whether” instead of the question words.