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Direct And Indirect

HERE are two ways of making a report. if it consists of the actual (UM) words of the speaker, it is in the Direct Speech ; but if it does not consist of the actual  words of the speaker, and only couveys the full sense of what he said – it is in the Indirect Speech ; as,

1. The doctor said to me, " I am too busy to test your eyes just now.” (Direct Speech)

2. The doctor said to me that he was too busy to test my eyes just then. (Indirect Speech)

Thus the first sentence which quotes .the actual words of the speaker is in the Direct Speech; but the second which does not quote his actuaI words, in the Indirect Speech.

The Reporting & the Reported Speech.

The first sentence given above, consists of two parts: (1) the part enclosed within inverted commas, and (2) the part not enclosed  within inverted commas. The former is called the Reported Speech; and the latter the Reporting Speech*.

It should be noted that in changing the First sentence given above, from the Direct in to the Indirect Speech;-

1. The Comma between the “Reporting Speech” and the “Reported Speech", as well as the “inverted Commas" has completely disappeared.

2. The Pronouns “I” and “your” in the Reported Speech have been changed into “he” and “my."

3. The Verb “am” in the Reported Speech has been changed into “was."

4. The Adverb “now” in the Reported Speech has been changed into “then."

These changes in Pronouns, Verbs and some other words are made not haphazardIy but according to certain rules. Let us deal with these, one by one.

Changes in the Person of Pronouns.

The person of a Pronoun in the Reported Speech is changed as illustrated above, when a sentence is changed from the Direct into the Indirect Speech. The way in which these changes take place may well be grasped by comparing the sentences given below:-

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
  1. She says to me, “I love my son."
  2. They say to us, “We like our house."
  3. She says to me that she loves her son.
2.  They say to us that they like their house.
  1. You say to them, “You praise your friends."
3.  You say to them that they praise their friends.
  1. They say to me, “You are Our neighbor ."
4.  They say to me that l am their neighbour .
  1. We say to her, “You know him.”
5.  We say to her that she knows him.
  1. You say to me, “He is ill.”
6.  You say to me that he is ill.

You can see that in changing a sentence from the Direct into the Indirect Speech:-

1. All Pronouns of the FIRST PERSON are changed according to the SUBJECT of the Reporting Verb. (Examples 1-2).

2. All Pronouns of the SECOND PERSON are changed  according to the OBJECT of the Reporting Verb. (Examples 3-4 ).

3. All Pronouns of the THIRD PERSON remain unchanged. (Examples 5-6).

Changes in the tenses of Verbs.

The Tenses of Verbs in the Reported Speech are changed, as illustrated above, when a sentence is changed from the Direct into the Indirect Speech. The way in which these changes take place may well be grasped by comparing the sentences given below:-

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
1. He says to us, “You are late.” 1. He says to us that we are late.
2. You say to them, “We played tennis.” 2. You say to them that you played tennis.
3. They say to me, “We will not come." 3. They say to me that will not come.
4. She will say to us, “You are rich." 4. She will say to us that we are rich.
5. He will say,“l went home.” 5. He will say that he went home.
6. I shall say, “I shall not come.” 6. I shall say that I shall not come.
7. She said to me, “I eat rice.” 7. She said to me that she ate rice.
8. I said to him, “I write a letter." 8. I said to him that I wrote a Letter.
9. The old man said, “God is one.” 9. The old man said that God is one.
1o. He said to me, "Money makes the mare go.” 10. He said to me that money makes the mare go.

You can see that in changing a sentence from the Direct into the Indirect Speech:-

1. The Verb in the Reported Speech is not changed, if the Verb in the Reporting Speech is in the Present Tense. (Examples 1-3) or in the Future Tense. (Examples 4-6).

2. The Verb in the Reported Speech is changed into the Past Tense, if the Verb in the Reporting Speech is in the Past Tense. (Examples 7-8).

3. The verb in the Reported Speech is not changed, (even when the Reporting Verb is in the Past Tense), if the Reported Speech contains a “Universal Truth.”

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