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  • What is Direct and Indirect Speech Or How we convert Direct Speech into Indirect Speech.

A speech may be reported in two ways :

(i) We may give the exact words of the speaker. This is called Direct Speech.
(ii) We may report what the speaker said without quoting his exact words. This is called Indirect or Reported Speech. Read the following two sentences :-

Examples of Direct and Indirect Speech.

(a) My sister said, “I am now going to Lahore”.
(b) My sister said that she was then going to Lahore.

These two sentences are examples of the two ways in which we may report what a speaker said.

In (a) the exact words of the speaker are given. Hence it is the Direct Speech.
In (b) the substance of what has been said is given. Hence it is the Indirect Speech.

Direct Speech : Three points are to be noted in a Direct Speech ,(Sentence ‘a’)

(i) The exact words of the Speaker are put within inverted com¬mas (” “).

(ii) A comma (,) is put before these words to separate them from the first part of the sentence, i.e. the reporting speech.

(iii) The first word in the inverted commas begins with a Capital letter.

Indirect Speech : In this form of speech (Sentence b) five distinct points are to be noted :
The reported words are not in inverted commas and a conjunction

1. ‘that’ has been put between the reporting Verb and the indirect statement.
2. There no comma after “said”, the reporting Verb,
3, The Pronoun “I” is changed to “She”.
4.The verb “am” is changed into ‘was’ (Present Tense is changed in to Past).
5.The adverb ‘now’ is changed into ‘then’.


While changing a Direct Speech into an Indirect Speech, the Personal Pronouns and the tenses of verbs in the reported speech undergo certain changes as explained below.

(a) Rules for Changing the Pronouns

1. Pronouns of the First Person (I, we, etc.) in the Reported speech are changed to the same person as the subject of the Reporting Verb.

Direct Speech: He says to me, “I am very happy”.
Indirect Speech : He tells me that he is very happy.

Direct Speech: He said to me, “I am in a great trouble”.
Indirect Speech: He told me that he was in a great trouble.

2. Pronouns of the Second Person (you etc.) in the Reporting Speech are changed to the same Person as the noun or the Pronoun Coming after the Reporting verb. i.e. according to the person of the object. If the object of the Reporting verb is not mentioned, the
change is made according to the sense conveyed about that object in the sentence.

Direct: He says to me, “You are not feeling well”.
Indirect: He tells me that I am not feeling well.

Direct : He said to me, “You look quite well”.
Indirect : He told me that I looked quite well.

Direct: I said “You have no regard for your elders”.
Indirect: I said (to him) or
I told him that he had no regard for his elders.

3. Pronouns of the Third Person in the reported speech do not
change in the indirect speech.

Examples :

Direct : Amjad said to me, “He is very happy in Multan”.
Indirect : Amjad told me that he was very happy in Multan.

Rules for the Change of Tenses

Rule No. 1. When the Reporting Verb is in the Present or the Future Tense, the tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech does not

Direct : He says, “My father is going to Karachi”.
Indirect : He says that his father is going to Karachi.

Direct: I say, “I am writing a book”.
Indirect : I say that I am writing a book.

Direct : Aslam will say, “I did not go there”.
Indirect : Aslam will say that he did not go there.

Direct:  Naveed will say, I do dot like this”.
Indirect : Naveed will say that he does not like that.

Rule No. 2. When a reporting verb is in the Past Tense

The verb in the Reported speech changes as under.

  1. Present Indefinite changes into Past Indefinite.

  2. Present Continuous changes into Past Continuous.

  3. Present Perfect changes into Past Perfect.

  4. Present Perfect Continuous changes into Past Perfect Continuous.

  5. Past Indefinite changes into Past Perfect.

  6. Past Continuous changes into Past Perfect Continuous.

  7. Past Perfect remains unchanged.

  8. Past Perfect Continuous also remains unchanged.

  9. Shall and will change in to would. Examples:

I. Change of Present Indefinite into Past Indefinite

Direct : Aslam said, “I work hard”.
Indirect : Aslam said that he worked hard.

II. Change of Present Continuous into Past Continuous.

Direct: He said; “My father is writing letters”.
Indirect : He said that his father was writing letters.

III. Change of Present Perfect into Past Perfect

Direct: Sajjad said, “I have learnt this poem by heart”
Indirect: Sajjad said that he had learnt that poem by heart.

IV. Change of Present Perfect Continuous into Past Perfect Continuous

Direct ; Amjad said, “I have been taking exercise daily”.
Indirect: Amjad said that he had been taking exercise daily.

V. Change of Past Indefinite into Past Perfect

Direct : Atiya said, “I bought a sewing machine yesterday”.
Indirect: Atiya said that she had bought a sewing machine the previous day.

VI. Change of Past Continuous into Past Perfect Continuous

Direct : He said, “It was blowing very hard yesterday”.
Indirect: o He said that it had been blowing very hard the previous day.

VII. No changed is to be made in case of a verb in Past Perfect Tense in the Reported Speech.

Direct : He said, “I had written a letter before noon”.
Indirect : He said that he had written a letter before noon.

VIII. Past Perfect Continuous Tense in the Reported Speech also does not change.

Direct : Shaukat said, “Amjad had been working since morning”.
Indirect: Shaukat said that Amjad had been ‘working since morning.

Rule No. 3. When the Reporting verb is in the Past Tense, shall, will, may and can in the Reported Speech, change into would, might and could respectively.


Direct: He said, “The boy shall come”.
Indirect: He said that the boy would come.

Direct: The teacher said, “The boy will come”.
Indirect: The teacher said that the boy would come.

Direct : lie said, “The boy may conic”.
Indirect : He said that the boy might come.

Direct : He said, “The boy can come”,
Indirect : He said that the boy could come.

Note 1. If the reported speech tells some Universal truth or a habitual fact then the Present Indefinite tense in the Reported speech does not change despite the Reporting Verb being in the Past tense.

Examples :
Direct : He said, “The earth moves round the sun”.
Indirect : He said that the earth moves round the sun.

Direct : He said, “The sun rises in the east and sets in the west”.
Indirect : He said that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Note 2. Words indicating nearness of time or place in the Direct Speech are changed into those indicating distance when converted into Indirect speech. Thus :

  • This is changed into That.

  • These is changed into Those.

  • Thus is changed into So.

  • Now is changed into Then.

  • Here is changed into There.

  • Hence is changed into Thence.

  • Hither is changed into Thither.

  • Today is changed into That day.

  • Yesterday is changed into The previous day.

  • Tomorrow is changed into The next day.

  • Last night is changed into The previous night.

  • Come is changed into Go.

  • Ago is changed into Before.

Note 3. In cases where reports are made at the time of speech or where the objects mentioned in tile speech are present at the time of reporting, no such change is then made.


Direct : Amjad said, “I saw him at this gate”.
Indirect : Amjad said that he had seen him at this gate.

Direct : The teacher said to the students, “The Emperor Jehangir lies buried here in this mausoleum”.
Indirect : The teacher told the students that the Emperor Jehangir lay buried here in this mausoleum.

Direct : Zafar said, “I will do it now or never”.
indirect : Zafar said that he would do it now or never.

In all the above examples, the Reported Speech has been in the Assertive Form giving statements about certain things ; but if the Reported Speech is in the Interrogative Form, the following rules are then to be observed.

  1. In reporting a question in the Indirect way, the reporting verb is changed into asked, demanded, enquired or questioned.

  2. The Reported Speech is to be changed into the Assertive Form by bringing the subject before the verb.

  3. The conjunction ‘if’ or ‘whether’ is put after the Reporting Verb in case, the answer to the question in the Reported Speech is in. ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ i.e. in positive or negative. In case, the question begins with such interrogative Pronouns as what, who, which, whom, whose, or with an interrogative Adverb as when, where why and how, the same word is used to introduce the indirect speech and the inverted com¬mas are removed.

  4. No question mark is to be put at the end- when the sentence has been changed into the Indirect Form.
    Examples :

Direct : He said to me, “Where are you going” ?

Indirect :He asked me where I was going.

Direct : I said to him, “Who are you” ?
Indirect : I asked him who he was.

Direct : The teacher said to the boy, “Why are you late” ?
Indirect : The teacher asked the boy why he was late.

Direct : I said to Amjad, “What is ate time by your watch” ?
Indirect : I enquired of Amjad what the time was by his watch.

Questions having Yes’ or ‘No’ as an answer

Direct : He said to me, “Will you accompany me to Lahore” ?
Indirect : He asked me if I would accompany him to Lahore.

Direct : The teacher said to the student, “Have you done your
home work”?
Indirect : The teacher tasked the student if he had done his home work.

The Imperative Mood

The following rules are to be observed when the Reported Speech is in the Imperative Mood.

1. The Reporting Verb is changed into a suitable verb of command, request or advice according to the sense conveyed by the Reported Speech. Words of Command : Order, require, bid, tell etc. ;
Words of request : Request, beg, ask, implore, desire etc. Words of advice : Advise, urge, persuade, forbid etc.

2. Remove the comma and inverted commas. No conjunctions is to be used.

3. Change the verb of the Reported speech into the infinitive by placing “to” before it. It is not to be used ; after the reporting ‘verb `bid’.

4. Persons or the Pronouns and other changes if necessary are to be made accordingly.

Examples :

Direct : The teacher said to the student, “Work hard and do not waste time”.
Indirect : The teacher advised the student to work hard and no to waste time.

Direct : The master said.to the servant, “Go and bring a chair for me”.
Indirect : The master ordered his servant to go and bring a chair for him.

Direct : He said to me, “Please help me in this difficulty”.
Indirect : He requested the to help him in that difficulty.

Direct : “Call the first witness, said the Judge to the petitioners.
Indirect : The judge asked the petitioners to call the first witness.

Direct: He said, “Be quiet and listen to my words”.
Indirect: He urged them to be quiet and listen to his words.

The Exclamatory Form:

In such sentences as have the Reported Speech in the exclamatory form, apply all the rules for assertive sentences except that the peculiar word of exclamation used originally in the sentence is omitted.
So interjections like oh, bravo, hush, alas, hurrah, etc. are omitted.
while changing an exclamatory sentence into the Indirect Form.


Direct : He said, “Alas ! I am undone”.
Indirect : He exclaimed with sorrow that he was undone.

Direct : The boys shouted, “Hurrah ! we have won the, match”.
Indirect : The boys shouted with joy that they had won the match.

Direct : He said, “Bravo ! You have done well”.
Indirect: He applauded him saying that he had done well.

Direct: She Cried, “O, that I were dead”!
Indirect : She wished that she were dead.

Direct : He said, “May you live long”.
Indirect: He prayed that he might live long.

Direct : The pupil said to the teacher, “Good morning, Sir”.
Indirect : The pupil greeted the teacher respectfully.



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