Direct and Indirect Speech Definitions and Difference with Examples

What is direct and indirect speech? This article explains the concept of direct and indirect and clarifies the differences that sometimes cause learners to be distinguished.

Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct and Indirect Speech

The art of saying what someone said in the past is known as narration. Narration is also known as direct and indirect speech.
We can report in two ways what someone said in the past.
Direct speech
Indirect speech
In these two ways, we can convey the message of one person to another. For example, you meet your brother’s friend, Mr. Javid, at school. He says to you, tell your brother, “I will book a train ticket for the field trip tomorrow.” You have two ways to inform your brother of what his friend Mr. Javid said when you come home.
Direct Speech: Mr. Javid said,” I will book a train ticket for the field trip tomorrow.”
Indirect Speech: Mr. Javid said he would book a train for the field trip the following day.

Must Read: Direct & Indirect Speech Rules

What is Direct Speech?

Direct speech is a form of speech that happens between two or more persons. In this way, we report and quote what someone said. The quotation marks can be single (‘…’) or double (“…”) and should go before and after the reporter’s actual spoken or written words.

Sadia said, “I am studying now.”
He said to me, “I will meet you tomorrow.”
Reporter: The person whose words are being reported is called a reporter. In the above two examples, the noun Sadia and the pronoun “He” are called the reporter.
Reporting Verb: When we report someone’s written or spoken words, we use the verbs “say” or “tell,” etc., to introduce the statement; such verbs are called reporting verbs.
Reported Verb: The verb we use in a reported speech is called a reported verb. For example, He said, “They are students.” The verb “are” is the reported verb.
Reported Speech: It is the part of direct speech we write inside inverted commas. In the above two examples, the reported speeches are “I am studying now.” and “I will meet you tomorrow.”
Reporting Speech: Part of a direct speech written outside inverted commas is known as a reporting speech. The reporting speech or reporting clause (“Sadia said,” “He said to me,” etc.) can be put before, after, or within the quotation.

Rules of Quotation Marks in Direct Speech

To write the exact word of a speaker, we use quotation marks. It is used in many types of writing such as stories, novels, newspaper articles, etc. The following rules explain how to write and quote a speaker’s exact words.
Rule 1. We put quotation marks at both ends of someone’s exact written or spoken words.
The quote comes in the following order.

i- Add a comma after the reporting verb said, i.e., He said,
ii- Add quotation marks before the reported speech. i.e., He said,”
iii- Write the first word of the quotation in capital letters. He said, “It is my pen.
iv- Add a period at the end of the quotation, followed by the final quotation mark.

He said, “It is my pen.”

Rule 2. If the reporting speech, also called the reporting clause (e.g., Sadia said, He said to me, etc.), comes after the reported speech, we put a comma (not a full stop) before the second quotation mark. For example
“I think we should invite her mother as well,” argued Ahmad.

Rule 3. The comma should be replaced with a question or exclamation mark before the second quotation when quoting an interrogative or exclamatory sentence.
“Where do you live?” asked Sanu.
“What a beautiful boy he is!” he said.

Rule 4. If the reporting speech consists of two parts and comes within the quotation, then the second part starts with a small letter, and both quotes must be in the following order.
“The first part of the quotation,” reporting speech, “the second part.”
“It costs too much,” said Javid, “but it’s supposed to be very helpful for you.”

Rule 5. The second part of the quotation begins with a capital letter if it is a new sentence and puts a full stop at the end of the reporting speech.
“You should study hard,” He advised. “Exam is going to be held next month.”

Rule 6. Some people prefer to have a quotation at the start and end of the whole quote if it consists of two or more sentences.
He said, “Aw, come on. He didn’t believe me”.

Rule 7. If the reporting speech comes before the quotation, then we put
i) a comma at the end of the reporting speech
ii) a punctuation mark at the end of the quote.
He says, “I will go to London next week.”
She said to me, “When do you get up?”
He said to his friend, “How lucky you are to win to win this prize!”
The reporting verb “said” changes to “told” in indirect speech when followed by an object.
Direct: I said to her, “I want to go now.”
Indirect: He told her that he wanted to go then.

What is Indirect Narration?

In this form, we report in our own words what someone thinks or says in a simple manner by making necessary changes in the verbs and pronouns of the direct speech. Indirect narration is the exact meaning of what someone said but not the actual words.
He says to me that I cannot help him.
The man said he would see me later
He said he couldn’t stand on his head.

Difference Between Direct and Indirect Speech with Examples

To make the difference clear between direct and speech, let’s take another example.
I met my friend Ahmad yesterday. Here are some of the things he said to me.
“My grade is excellent this time.”
“She is studying hard to improve it more.”
“I don’t have much money to enroll in another degree program.”
“She is going on a field trip now. I will call you when I get back”.
You have noticed the pronouns I and my are used in this conversation. These are the actual words he spoke to me yesterday.

This is called direct speech.

Now I want to tell his brother what Ahmad said. I will use the following method.
Ahmad said that his grade was excellent at that time.
She said that she was studying hard to improve it more.
He said that he didn’t have much money to enroll in another degree program.
She said that she was going on a field trip then. He would call me when he got back.
This speech gives the idea of what Ahmad said; not all of the exact words such words are called reported or indirect speech.

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