Direct Indirect Speech Rules with Examples

Being an English Language learner, it’s mandatory for you to study and understand reported speech rules to learn direct and indirect speech. Complete Direct and Indirect Speech rules with examples for tenses, with pronouns, modals assertive, imperative, optative, exclamatory, and question sentences.

Direct and Indirect speech becomes easy to go with when you know all of its necessary rules to change direct into indirect speech. Find here complete rules of direct and indirect speech. You can also Download direct and indirect speech rules in the pdf chart.

Direct and Indirect Speech Rules

Here are complete list of rules to be applied while changing narration of any sentence:

1. Identify Reporting Verb and Reported Speech

Before you move further, you must know the parts of direct speech. A direct speech sentence consists of two parts. The part that is inside the quotation marks is called reported speech. The other one that is out of quoted marks is called reporting speech. Hence, direct speech sentence has two parts; reporting verb and reported verb. Look at the examples below and separate reporting speech and reported speech

Direct Speech SentenceReporting SpeechReported Speech
He said, " I am looking for reported speech definition"He said, I am looking for reported speech definition"
She said, "I teach direct and indirect speech"She said,"I teach direct and indirect speech"
"Alex says, "I am happy to see you"Alex says, "I am happy to see you"
Mark said, "I will write a letter to the manager"Mark said,"I will write a letter to the manager"
Direct and Indirect Speech rules chart
Learn Reported Speech Rules Easily

2. Direct and Indirect Speech Punctuation Rules

Following punctuation rules in reported speech are applied

  •  Inverted comma are excluded
  • The question mark is converted into a full stop
  • The exclamation mark is silenced
  • Comma, in some cases, is used

Study the examples below

Direct SpeechIndirect SpeechPunctuation omitted
Alex said, " I am quite good here"Alex said that he was quite good thereQuotation marks
Mark said, "How old your puppy is?Mark asked how old my puppy wasQuestion mark
Alex said, "Hurrah! such a cool dayAlex exclaimed with joy that it was a cold daySign of Exclamation
Alex said, " I, who am the winner, shall appear tomorrowAlex said, he, who was the winner, would appear the next dayComma retained

3. Use of Conjunction “that”

The conjunction “that” is placed between reported and reporting speech, however, in question sentences, it is replaced with ‘asked, inquired, etc.,

Study the examples below

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Alex said, "It is quite good to make reported speech pdf assignment"Alex said that it was quite good to make reported speech pdf assignment
Alex said, "Is it easy to make reported speech chart"?Alex asked if it was easy to make reported speech chart
Mark said, "What is main point to remember in narration?Marx asked what was main point to remember in narration.
Alex said to me, " Are you ready for reported speech exercise'?Alex asked me whether I was ready for reported speech exercise

4. Rules for Changing Pronouns in Indirect Speech

Change of pronoun in indirect speech is done with the following basic rules.

Rule No: 1

First Person

If the reporting speech has the first-person pronoun, it will be changed as per the pronoun of reported speech, if it is a third-person pronoun. But if the first-person pronoun is used both in reporting speech and reported speech, No pronoun is changed here.

Study the examples below

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
She said, " I am quite fine here"She said that she was quite fine there
He said, " I write everyday"He said that he wrote everyday
They said, " We have made good progress"They said that had made good progress
She said, " My job is writing a letter"She said that her job was writing a letter
They said, " we have good friends"They said that they had good friends
I said, " I am making practice of reported speech"I said that I was making practice of reported speech
We said, " We are learning English"We said that we were learning English

Rule No: 2

Second Person:
If the reported speech has the second person (you, yours, etc.), it is changed as per the object of reporting speech.

Study the examples below

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
He said to her, " You are an intelligent girl"He said to her that she was an intelligent girl
She said to him, " You are not real"She said to him that he was not real
He said to me," You are a clever guy"He said to me that I was a clever guy
She said to Alex, " You are cool guy"She said to Alex that he was a cool guy

Rule No: 3

Third Person

The third Person in reported speech is not changed in indirect speech

Study the examples below

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
He said, "They prefer singing"He said that they preferred singing
They said, "It is hard to bear cold"They said that it was hard to bear cold
Alex said, "He likes chocolate"Alex said that he liked chocolate
They said, "She is waiting for Alex"They said that she was waiting for Alex

5. Indirect Speech Rules for All Tenses

Read below the complete rules on how to make the indirect speech of present tense, past tense, and future tense.

Tense Change RulesDirect SpeechIndirect Speech
Present Simple into
Past Simple Tense
Alex said, "I always wait for Mark hereAlex said that he always waited for Mark there.
Present Continuous
into Past Continuous
Alex said, "I am waiting for Mark"Alex said that he was waiting for Mark
Present Perfect into
Past Perfect
Alex said, "I have completed my essay"Alex said that he had completed his essay.
Present Perfect
Continuous into Past Perfect Continuous
Alex said, "I have been waiting for Mark"Alex said that he had been waiting for Mark.
Simple past into Past Perfect TenseAlex said,"Mark received a letter"Alex said that Mark had received a letter.
Past Perfect into Past Perfect TenseAlex said, "I had listened to your questions"Alex said that had listened to my questions.
Future simple tense (will into would)'Alex said,"I will teach you reported speech"Alex said that he would teach me reported speech.
Future Continuous (will be into would be)Alex said, "I will be teaching you reported speech"Alex said that he would be teaching me reported speech.
Future Perfect Tense (Will have into would have)Alex said, "I will have written a letter"Alex said that he would have written a letter.

6. Rules for Change in Time and Adverb in Indirect Speech

There are some rules for changing the words showing time and place in direct speech into indirect speech. The study below the table showing the words of time and adverb, how they are changed in indirect speech.

Direct Speech WordIndirect Speech Word
TodayThat day
YesterdayThe day before
TomorrowThe next day
Next weekThe following week
Next monthThe following month
Last nightThe night before

Now study the examples below, how to change the words expressing time and place from direct speech into indirect speech.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
He said, "I am waiting here for you"He said that he was waiting there for me.
She said, "We will come tomorrow"She said that she would come the next day.
They said, "It is hot today"They said that it was hot that day.
I said, "I found a purse yesterday"I said that I found a purse a day before.
Alex said, "It is good time now to see him"Alex said that it was good time then to see him.

7. Change in Modal Verbs

Here are some Indirect speech rules for modal verbs.

Modal verbs are changed in indirect speech-like, Can into Could, May into Might, Must into had to. However, some Modals like, Would, could, might, should, ought to, are not changed in indirect speech.
Study the following example below for change in modal verbs in indirect speech

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
Alex said, "I can swim"Alex said that he could swim.
He said, "It may rain today"He said that it might rain that day.
She said, "I must run fast"She said that she had to run fast.
They said, "They would speak English"They said that they would speak English.
He said, "It might cost me more money"He said that it might cost him more money.

8. Indirect speech for Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences consist of command, request, order, suggestion, or advice. Therefore, to change imperative sentences from direct into indirect speech, the following points should be noted.

1. understand the mood of the sentence if it is command, request, advice, or suggestion.
2. Use appropriate joining clauses as per the spirit of the sentence.
3. Follow the other rules of reported speech.

Now study the examples below.

Direct SpeechMood of SentenceIndirect Speech
Alex said, "please come here"RequestAlex requested to come there.
Mark said to him, "Do not take this exercise easy"AdviceMark advised students not to take that exercise easy.
Dentist said to Alex, "Stay away from smoking"Advice/SuggestionThe dentist advised Alex to stay away from Smoking.
He said to the guard, "open the door"OderHe ordered guard to open the door.
He said, "Lets wait for Alex here"SuggestionHe suggested to wait for Alex there.

9. Indirect Speech for Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences express the state of grief, wonder, or happiness. The following are the point to keep in mind before changing exclamatory sentences from direct speech into indirect speech.

1. Understand the mood of sentences.
2. Use the appropriate joining clause for exclamatory sentences.
3. Follow the other rules of direct and indirect speech.

Study the examples below.

Direct SpeechMood of SentenceIndirect Speech
Alex said, "Hurrah! I have solved reported speech pdf assignment"JoyAlex expressed with joy that he had solved reported speech pdf assignment.
Alex said, "Alas! I have failed the exam"SorrowAlex expressed with sorrow that he had failed the exam.
Alex said, "How cool the weather is!"WonderAlex expressed with wonder that it was the cool weather.
She said, "Vow! what a good watch it is"WonderShe exclaimed with wonder that it was a good watch.

10. Indirect Speech of Interrogative Sentences 

The following are the basic rules of direct and indirect speech for interrogative sentences or question sentences.

1. Punctuation marks (comma, inverted comma, question marks ) are removed.
2. The conjunction “that” is omitted.
3. Interrogative form is changed into the assertive form of the sentence.
4. ‘Said’ is changed into asked or inquired.
5. Use of ‘If’ or ‘Whether’ is made For the interrogative sentences that cant is answered simply in Yes or No.

Now study the examples below

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
He said to me, "Will you be here tomorrow?"He asked me whether I would be there the next day.
Mother said to son, "Do you think to disobey me?"Mother asked son if he thought to disobey her.
Teacher said, "Do you know the exact answer?"Teacher asked students whether they knew the exact answer.
She said to me, "What is the name of great Mughal King?"She asked me what was the name of great Mughal King.
They said, "What is the schedule of examination?"They asked what was the schedule of examination.
He said to me, "Have you been to Turkey?"He asked me if I had been to Turkey.

These were the complete rules of reported speech. You may download direct and indirect speech rules in pdf here. In addition to that, this detailed reported speech rules guide will serve you like a direct and indirect speech rules chart.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I learn direct and indirect speech?
You can learn direct and indirect speech by visiting our site
What are the rules of changing direct speech to indirect?
Rules of changing direct speech to indirect speech are placed here.

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  2. Heya, just letting you know you left out a word in one of your examples!

    > Past Perfect into Past Perfect Tense Alex said, “I had listened to your questions” Alex said that had listened to my questions. <

    The last one should be 'Alex said that HE had listened to my questions.'

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