Unit 8.1

Reported Speech vs Direct Speech



When we want to report one person’s speech to another person we usually don’t use the exact words because we focus on the message rather than the exact words. That is why we transform the sentences. It is called reported speech.

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


  • In reported speech we transform the sentence: we do not quote the exact words of the speaker and we shift the time one tense back.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 verbs: ask, believe, reply, respond, say, tell…
    After the reporting verbs, we add that, and we go on with the 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.


Direct SpeechReported 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.”He said that he didn’t want to be a technician.
They told us ” We brought cements and bricks”.They told us that they had brought cements and bricks.


  • 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.


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