Unit 8.1

Direct Speech vs Reported Speech


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Introduction

Direct speech is the depiction of the original words. It is cited with the same words and sentences.

Reported speech is when we want to report one person’s speech to another person but we don’t use the exact words because we focus on the message rather than the exact words.

Form

Direct speech and reported speech have their own structures.

Direct speech

In direct speech we do not transform the sentence: we quote the actual words of the speaker and there is no change of tense.

We put the reported words in inverted commas (“). At the end of the direct speech, we use a quotation mark.

Reported speech

In reported speech we transform the sentence: we do not quote the exact words of the speaker and we shift the time one tense back.

We usually form it with the reporting verbsaskbelievereplyrespondsaytell

After the reporting verbs, we add that, and we go on with the speech.

Example

Direct Speech Reported Speech
“Do you want to work in textile industry?” She asked me whether I wanted to work in textile industry.
He said “I don’t want to be a technician.”

She replied “I love fruit!”

“We have brought you a vase”

“I didn’t know you like exotic flowers”

He said that he didn’t want to be a technician.

She replied that she loved fruit.

They said that they had brought us a vase.

He told me that he hadn’t known I liked exotic flowers.

They told us ” We brought cements and bricks”. They told us that they had brought cements and bricks.

Use

We use the direct speech when we want to report the exact words of the speaker.

We use reported speech (or indirect speech) when we want to report the sentence of the speaker.

Summary

Direct speech is the depiction of someone’s original words and we use it when we want to report the exact words of the speaker. In direct speech we do not transform the sentence: we quote the actual words of the speaker and there is no change of tense. We put the reported words in inverted commas (“). At the end of the direct speech, we use a quotation mark.

Reported speech is when we want to report one person’s speech to another person without using the person’s exact words. It is also called indirect speech. In reported speech we transform the sentence: we do not quote the exact words of the speaker and we shift the time one tense back.We usually form it with the reporting verbsask, believe, reply, respond, say, tell…

After the reporting verbs, we add that, and we go on with the speech.

For example:
— “Will you buy a present to your parents ?” =  In the direct speech, we quote the exact words of the speaker and we do not change the tense of the verb.
“She asked me if I would buy a present to my parents.” = In the reported speech, we do not quote the exact words of the speaker and we shift the time one tense back, so will becomes would.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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