Direct and Indirect speech


1. If in direct speech you find say/says or will say then DO NOT CHANGE THE TENSE that you can find within the quotation marks

[column size=”1/2″]Direct Speech[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]Indirect Speech[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]I say, “I am elated”.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]I say  that I am elated. [/column]

[column size=”1/2″]He says, “I was a fool then”.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]He says  that he was a fool then.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She says,” I will be more experienced then”[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She says  that she will be more experienced then[/column]

[column size=”1/2″] I will say,” He loves cricket”[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]I will say  that he loves cricket[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She will say,” He was in the land of nod then”[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She will say  that he was in the land of nod then.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]They will say,” We will achieve greatness”[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]They will say  that we will achieve greatness.[/column]

2. Universal statements follows the rule 1- no tense change.

Eg: The teacher said,” The sun rises in the east”

The teacher said  the sun rises in the east

3. Tense changes as following

  • Is/am (sleeping)-was (sleeping)
  • Are (sleeping)-were (sleeping)
  • Has/have killed-had killed
  • Was/were laughing-had been laughing
  • Can-could; will-would; shall-should; may-might
  • Did-had done

If ” said to” used then in the indirect speech said to has to be replaced  with “told”;

Replace as the following

  • Here-there
  • tomorrow-the next/following day
  • This-that
  • yesterday-the previous day
  • These-those
  • the next week-the following week
  • Today-that day
  • now-then
  • Tonight-that night

[column size=”1/2″]Direct Speech[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]Indirect Speech[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]I said,” My mother cooks well”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]I said that  my mother cooked well.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She said, “ I am reading a novel now”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]She said that she was reading a novel then.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]He said,” I killed an ant”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]He said that he had killed an ant.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]We said ,” They have done their job”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]We said that they had done their job[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She said,” We were all laughing uncontrollably”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]She said that they had been all laughing uncontrollably.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]He said,” I can do it”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]He said that he could do it.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]She said to me,” You may need help”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]She told me that I might need help.[/column]

[column size=”1/2″]He said ,” She will do this task quickly”[/column]
[column size=”1/2″]He said that she would do that task quickly.[/column]

Turn the following sentences into indirect speech.

1.    ‘What do you want?’ she asked him.
2.    ‘Are you coming with us?’ he asked me.
3.    He asked, ‘When do you intend to make the payment?’
4.    ‘Do you come from China?’ said the prince to the girl.
5.    The poor man exclaimed, ‘Will none of you help me?’
6.    ‘Which way should I go?’ asked the little girl.
7.    Alladin said to the magician, ‘What have I done to deserve so severe a punishment?’
8.    ‘Don’t you know the way home?’ I said to her.
9.    ‘Do you write a good hand?’ the teacher said to the student.
10.    ‘Have you anything to say on behalf of the accused?’ said the judge finally.
11.    ‘Have you anything to tell me, little bird?’ asked Ulysses.
12.    ‘Who are you, sir, and what do you want?’ they asked.
13.    The king was impressed with the magician and asked, ‘What can I do for you?’
14.    She asked, ‘What is it that makes you stronger and braver than other men?’
15.    ‘Can you solve this problem?’ he asked me.


1.    She asked him what he wanted.
2.    He asked me if I was coming/going with them.
3.    He enquired when I/he/she intended to make the payment.
4.    The prince asked the girl if she came from China.
5.    The poor man exclaimed whether none of them would help him.
6.    The little girl asked which way she should go.
7.    Alladin asked the magician what he had done to deserve so severe a punishment.
8.    I asked her whether she did not know the way home.
9.    The teacher asked the student if he/she wrote a good hand.
10.    The judge finally asked whether he/she had anything to say on behalf of the accused.
11.    Ulysses asked the little bird whether it had anything to tell him.
12.    They asked who he was and what he wanted.
13.    The king was impressed with the magician and asked what he could do for him.
14.    She asked him what was it that made him stronger and braver than other men.
15.    He asked me if I could solve that problem.

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