To convey the spoken words of someone to another, you’ll use either
- Direct speech or
- Indirect speech
For instance, if Mrs Coker, your school Principal says she wants to meet your parents, and in informing your parents, you want them to feel it exactly the way Mrs Coker said it. You’ll report to your parents in either the following ways:
1. a) Mrs Coker said, ‘I want to meet your parents.’
b) Mrs Coker said that she wanted to meet my parents.
These two ways are also used to narrate the spoken words of someone or a party. Suppose you meet your friend Sade at Justrite; She says to you, ‘I bought a book for you.’ When you get home, you may say the words of Sade to your brother in either of the following ways:
2. a) Sade said, ‘I bought a book for you.’
b) Sade said that she had bought a book for me.
Can you suggest which statement in the above are direct and which are indirect speech?
In each of the examples, (a) is direct speeches and (b) is indirect speeches.
The direct speech has two important components. They are (i) reporting verb (ii) reported speech.
Reporting verb is the one on the first part that introduces the quoted statement of the speaker e.g. Mrs Coker said, Sade said, he says, they say, they asked, and so on.
Reported speech is the actual words of the speaker that is enclosed in quotation mark.
He says, ‘I want to become a doctor.’
(reporting verb) (reported speech)
The first and the second parts can be rearranged as follows:
3. ‘I want to become a doctor,’ he said.
4. ‘I bought a book for you,’ said Sade.
There are a number of rules that are essential to the correct use of direct and indirect speech.
Punctuation Rules in Direct Speech
- When the reported speech comes first, a comma is placed after the last word just before the closing quotation mark. Did you notice that in examples 3 and four 4?
- The reporting verb is followed by a comma whenever it comes first in the sentence.
He said, ‘I want to become a doctor.’
- A comma is not required if the reported speech is a question or an exclamation.
‘Can you spell your name?’ asked the teacher.
- Reported speech always starts with a capital letter whether it comes first or last in the sentence.
The pupils said, ‘We are tired of staying at home.’
‘I made it!’ screamed Olu on sighting his result.
Guidelines for Converting Between Direct and Indirect Speeches
In order to achieve mastery in the use of direct and indirect speech, students will…Click to continue
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