Image: direct-indirect speech
Image: direct-indirect speech

In this article, we will cover important rules of direct and indirect speech, relevant to the English Language section of various competitive exams.

Aspirants of various Government exams such as SSC, RRB, IBPS, Insurance, etc. must go through the concept and rules of direct – indirect speech carefully, as the English language is a part of the syllabus for most of these exams.


Direct Speech

When we want to describe what someone said, one option is to use direct speech. We use direct speech when we simply repeat what someone says, putting the phrase between speech marks:


  • Paul came in and said, “I’m really hungry.”
  • It is very common to see direct speech used in books or newspaper articles. For example:


  • The local MP said, “We plan to make this city a safer place for everyone.”
  • As you can see, with direct speech it is common to use the verb ‘to say’ (‘said’ in the past). But you can also find other verbs used to indicate direct speech such as ‘ask’, ‘reply’, and ‘shout’. For example:


  • When Mrs. Diaz opened the door, I asked, “Have you seen Lee?”
  • She replied, “No, I haven’t seen him since lunchtime.”
  • The boss was angry and shouted, “Why isn’t he here? He hasn’t finished that report yet!”



Indirect Speech

When we want to report what someone said without speech marks and without necessarily using the same words, we can use indirect speech (also called reported speech). For example:


  • Direct speech: “We’re quite cold in here.”
  • Indirect speech: They say (that) they’re cold.


When we report what someone says in the present simple, as in the above sentence, we normally don’t change the tense, we simply change the subject. However, when we report things in the past, we usually change the tense by moving it one step back. For example, in the following sentence the present simple becomes the past simple in indirect speech:


  • Direct speech: “I have a new car.”
  • Indirect speech: He said he had a new car.


What is Direct & Indirect Speech?

Direct speech – reporting the message of the speaker in the exact words as spoken by him.


  • Direct speech example: Maya said ‘I am busy now.


  • Indirect speech: reporting the message of the speaker in our own words


  • Indirect speech example: Maya said that she was busy then.


You need to understand the direct and indirect rules with examples and for this, Eduriefy has tried to cover all the aspects of the indirect and direct speech which will help you in covering every important aspect of the English examination.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1 What are direct and indirect speech with examples?

Ans.1 Direct Speech is a directly said statement. : She said, “I want a pen.” Indirect Speech is a narration of a directly said statement: He asked for a pen.


Q.2 How do you change direct speech to indirect speech?

Ans.2 Remove the inverted commas, change the first-person statement inside the inverted commas to the second-person statement. Do not change the tense.


Q.3 Examples of Direct Speech.

Ans.3 He asked, “What’s that?”, “How dare you.” Ram raged.


Q.4 Examples of Indirect Speech.

Ans.4 The old man pleaded for water, He angrily asked where she was going.


Q.5 Where do we use Direct Speech?

Ans.5 Direct Speech is used in narration, story writing, creative writing, quotes, and informal communication. Sometimes it is also used in formal writing.

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