Guidelines for Converting Between Direct and Indirect Speeches
In order to achieve mastery in the use of direct and indirect speech, students will be required at one time or the order to change a direct speech to an indirect speech or vice versa. Changes in certain elements such as tenses, pronouns, time and aspects should be studied closely as we narrate in either direct or indirect speech.
A) Correct Use of Tense
If the reporting verb of the direct speech is present or future tense, the tense in the reported speech of the indirect speech should also be in the present or future tense. The tense remains the same.
(direct): He says, ‘I am playing football.’
(indirect): He says that he is playing football.
(direct): The President will say, ‘I solemnly swore to defend the constitution.’
(indirect): The President will say that he solemnly swore to defend the constitution.
(direct): The boards say, ‘Dividend payment will be timely.’
(indirect): The boards say that dividend payment will be timely.
If the reporting verb of the direct speech is a past tense, appropriate changes will be made to the tense of the reported speech of the indirect speech.
- (direct): He said, ‘I am playing football.’
(indirect): He said that he was playing football.
- (direct): He said, ‘Did Taofeek call me?’
(indirect): He asked whether Taofeek had called him.
- (direct): He said, ‘Tamara thanked me.’
(indirect): He said (that) Tamara had thanked him.
- (direct): She said, ‘I have been dancing.’
(indirect): She said (that) she had been dancing.
- (direct): Kafi said, ‘I took my child to school.’
(indirect): Kafi said (that) she had taken her child to school
- (direct): She said, ‘I wish I had learnt to drive’
(indirect): She said she wished she had learnt to drive.
B) Correct Use of Pronoun
Sometimes, in changing a direct speech to indirect speech, the subject/object pronoun in the reported speech is changed according to the subject/object (pronoun) of the reporting verb. The possessive pronouns (his, her, my, their, your, mine, etc.) may also change according to the subject/object of the reporting verb.
- (direct): He said, ‘I eat two apples.’
(indirect): He said (that) he ate two apples.
- (direct): She said to me, ‘I like your book.’
(indirect): She said to me that she liked my book.
- (direct): They replied him, ‘We will not bow to your image.’
(indirect): They replied him that they would not bow to his image.
- He said, ‘Is mine ready?’
He asked whether his was ready.
- She said to me, ‘You can go.’
She told me (that) I could go.
- He said, ‘I can go.’
He said he could go.
- They said, ‘Can we go?’
They asked whether they could go.
Related post: DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH PART 1
C) Correct Use of Adverb of Time and place
If there is time mentioned in the sentence of a direct speech, the time will be modified in the corresponding indirect speech.
- She said, ‘I am buying a laptop today.’
She said she was buying a laptop that day.
- He said, ‘I need your help now.’
He said that he needed my help
- 3. He said, ‘I will sleep here tonight.’
He said (that) he would sleep there that night.
The time change can be learnt in the following table.
|5||Tomorrow||The next day/following day|
|6||Tomorrow night||The following/next night|
|7||Yesterday||The previous day|
|8||This week/month/year||That week/month/year|
|9||Next day/week/month/year||The following day/week/month/year|
|10||Last week/month/etc.||The week/month/etc. before the previous
D) Correct Use of Demonstrative Pronouns and Adjective
When ‘this’ and ‘these’ are used in direct speech, they are changed to ‘that’ and ‘those’ in indirect speech. However ‘that’ and ‘those’ used in direct speech remain unaltered in corresponding indirect speech.
- She said, ‘I’ll choose this one.’
She said that she would choose that one.
- I asked the artist, ‘Are these your works?’
I asked the artist if those were his works.
- They said, ‘We don’t want those products.’
They said (that) they didn’t want those products.
- ‘That will make me angry,’ said Kanayo.
Kanayo said (that) that would make him angry.
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