February 25, 2015

SSC Exams - English Grammar - Direct and Indirect Speech Rules with Examples

There are two ways of relating what a person has said: Direct Speech and Indirect Speech. In Direct speech we repeat the original speaker's exact words as:
i) "I have finished my homework", Kartheek said.
ii) Abhi said to Arnav, "We'll have a holiday tomorrow."

Remarks thus repeated are placed between inverted commas and a comma or colon is placed immediately before the remark. Direct speech is found in conversations in books, in plays and in quotations.

When we turn the Direct Speech into Indirect or Reported Speech, some changes are usually necessary. Let's see how the above sentences are reported.

i) Kartheek said that he had finished his homework.
ii) Abhi told Arnav that they would have a holiday the next day or the following day.

Rules:

i) Punctuation: Inverted commas (" ... ") and the comma (,) after said, etc. are omitted. Question marks and exclamation marks (?/ !) have to be usually dropped.

ii) Pronouns: Usually pronouns and possessives in the first and second persons are changed into third person. 'I' has become 'he' and 'my' has become 'his' in the first case and 'we' has become 'they' in the second case.

iii) Tenses: If the reporting verb is in the present and future tenses, there is usually no change in the tense of the reported verb. However, when the reporting verb is in the past tense, the following changes are usually made.

Present Simple/ Continuous → Past Simple/ Continuous
Present Perfect/ Past Simple → Past Perfect 

In the examples above, 'has finished' has become 'had finished' in the first one, and 'will have' has become 'would have' in the second one.

iv) Time/ Place Expressions: Depending on the situation, time/ place expressions of nearness are usually changed into those of distance.

now → then 
ago → before 
this → that
these → those 
today → that day
tomorrow → the next or the following day
yesterday → the previous day or the day before

In both the sentences, a special reporting word 'that' is used.


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