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Lesson 5- Indirect Speech Print E-mail


We can report what another person says in two ways

§         By using the exact words of the speaker.

Example: – He said to me, “Be careful!” This is the Direct Speech. We repeat the exact words used by the speaker and keep the exact words within quotation marks. 

§         By using our own words to repeat what the speaker said.

ExampleDirect: He said to me, “Be careful!” Indirect: He told me to be careful. This is the Indirect or Reported Speech. Notice that the past tense is used when the main verb ‘said’ is in the past tense. Here we do not use the quotation marks. We use an infinitive and we repeat the pronoun. 

When we change Direct Speech into Indirect Speech, it is sometimes necessary to

¨        Change all Present and Future Tenses in the Direct Speech into the Past Tenses in the Indirect Speech when the main verb ‘said’ is in the Past Tense.  

ExampleDirect: “Write carefully!” he said to me. Indirect: He told me to write carefully.  

¨        Change a pronoun or a possessive adjective, and the tense of the verb to Past Tense.

ExampleDirect: “Don’t drive so fast when you pass my school,” he said to me. Indirect: He asked me not to drive so fast when I passed his school. 

¨        Use more than one “speech” verb if the Direct Speech contains more than one sentence.

ExampleDirect: “Don’t quarrel with your sister,” my mother said. “Get on with your school homework. ”Indirect: My mother told me not to quarrel with my sister. She told/asked me to get on with my school homework.  

In most cases, we do not change the tense of the verbs in Direct Speech when

¨        The reporting verb is in the Simple Present tense (he says), the Present Perfect tense (she has told us) or the Simple Future tense (I will tell him).
Direct: Indirect:
“I’m tired,” he says every evening. Every evening he says (that) he is tired.
“They are late,” she has already told us. She has already told us (that) they are late.
“I will tell him, “The shop is shut.” I will tell him (that) the shop is shut.

  ¨        We do not change the tense of verbs in Direct Speech if they make a statement which is always true or if the action is still continuing and a change of tense would give the wrong meaning.

Direct: Indirect:
He told us, “The world is round.” He told us that the world is round.
“My brother is living in Australia.” She said that her brother is living in Australia.

  The following changes are also made

1. shall to should will to would may to might
  can to could has to had  
2. Pronouns and Possessive AdjectivesThe pronoun is changed in person from first and second to third.
  I      becomes   he or she We    becomes   they You   becomes   he, him, her or them

Adjectives and Adverbs:

We change:

  this to that
  these to those
  now to then
  today to that day
  last night to on the previous night or the night before
  tomorrow to the next day or the day after
  here to there
  yesterday to the previous day or the day before
  thus to so; (in) that way
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