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Reported Speech OR Direct – Indirect Speech

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Reported Speech OR Direct – Indirect Speech



Reported speech is most important for English speakers. If you do not know how to ‘report’ someone’s ‘speech’ or dialogue, you will have a hard time speaking. Believe yourself, this is quite easy to learn reported speech.

Statements | That

Maggie said, “I will cook my food myself.”
Maggie told that she would cook her food herself.

  1. The frog said, “Bird, I have been listening to your songs.”
  2. Mother said, “Mary, you have slept enough.”
  3. “All these fruits are raw,” said the woman.
  4. “This road heads to Norway,” said the pedestrian.
  5. The old lady said, “I have seen the two wars and lost my children.”
  6. They said, “He is better than all the other leaders.”
  7. “Friends, the nightingale died of over-strain and fear,” said the frog.
  8. “I will die for anyone whom I love,” said the leader.
  9. “I have been ruling this nation since my father died in a war,” said the young king. “I want your welfare, not mine.”
  10. “NOKIA fooled me by sellin­g a phone with hundred and one faults,” said the professor.

Questions/Interrogatives | No “that” | Asked | Wh

  1. Max said, “How do you feel now, Fred?”

Max asked Fred how he felt.

  1. Max said, “Which car is yours, Fred?”
    Max asked Fred which car was his.
  2. Max said, “Whom do you want to meet, Fred?”
    Max asked Fred whom he wanted to meet.
  3. Max said, “Who broke the glass, Fred?”

Max asked Fred who had broken the glass.

  1. Max said, “Why is your dad sad, Fred?”

Max asked Fred why his dad was sad.

  1. The postman said, “How can I help you, Ali?

The postman asked Ali how he could help him.

  1. The narrator said, “Sister, how do the two boys earn for their sister?”

The narrator asked the sister how the two boys earned for their sister.

  1. “What is the cost of this shirt?” asked Ram.

Ram asked what the cost of the shirt was.

Questions for Practice

  1. The monster said, “Sam, why did you forget your own name?”
  2. The lady said, “boy, how can I help you?”
  3. The grandfather said, “Amelia, what is the day today?”
  4. The man said, “where have you learnt French from, lady?”
  5. “Child, which is the easiest way to Kiddingtown?” said the wise man.
  6. “Mom, why don’t hens and cocks fly as high as eagles do?” asked the child.
  7. Ms Meelie said, “How do you want the cake served, Jack?”
  8. The painter said, “Sir, where do you want me hang this photo?”
  9. The master said to the cook, “Why have you left the kitchen without informing me?”
  10. The doctor said, “How long have you been suffering?”
  11. “How will you look after yourself, Marie?” mother asked.

Questions | IF/Whether

  1. Ram said, “Is your memory strong, Sita?”
  2. Sam said, “Children, can I join your game?”
  3. Peter said, “Marie, could you ask your father to stop smoking?”
  4. The Principal said, “Teachers, should we buy another car for this purpose?
  5. Sam asked Peter, “must I shift to Bengaluru?”
  6. Sam asked Peter, “should I turn the fan off?”
  7. Sam asked Peter, “would you mind opening the door a little more?”
  8. Sam asked Peter, “Shall I settle down in Mysore?”
  9. Sam asked Peter, “Have the thieves left anything for our dinner?”
  10. Sam asked Peter, “Has Emilie agreed to learn Spanish?”
  11. Sam asked Peter, “Does my name sound weird?”
  12. Sam asked Peter, “Does Emilie visit you on weekends?”
  13. Sam asked Peter, “Did they mix alcohol in your Cola?”
  14. Father said, “Children, should we admit a few more friends into our group?”
  15. Sen said, “Children, can you come with me to Niora?”
    Mr. Sen asked the children ____ to Niora.
  16. “Will you forgive me, Raju,” asked Ravi, “for all that I have done?”
    Ravi asked Raju ____ done.

Questions | IF/Whether (Negative)

  1. “Would I have not come for your help, Max?” said Martin.
    Martin asked Max ____ help.
  2. “Shall they not arrange the party, Sam?” said Mohan.
  3. “Could you not have stopped the enemies at the gate, soldiers?” asked the king.
  4. “Sam, are you going to marry her?” asked Khan.
    Khan asked Sam if he was going to marry her.

Commands and Requests/Imperatives (to/no to)

  1. The duck said, “Kindly spare me, fox.”
    The duck requested the fox to spare her.
  2. The ant said, “Mr. Grasshopper, please give me some rice.”

The ant requested Mr. Grasshopper to give him some rice.

  1. “Love your enemy and pray for those who hate you,” said Jesus.
    Jesus advised them to love their enemies and pray for those who hated them.

Questions for Practice

  1. Mother said, “Wake up, children.”
    Mother ___ to ___.
  2. Raju said, “Come with me, Sara.”
    Raju ____ Sara _____.
  3. “Swim quickly,” shouted my friends. “There is a shark after you.”
    My friends shouted at me ____ because _____.
  4. “Madam, kindly park the car between pillar numbers 33 and 34,” said the guard.
    The guard requested ____ park the car between pillar numbers 33 and 34.
  5. “Son, do not touch the phone,” said the mother.
    The mother told ____ the phone.
  6. “Please do not shout after 10 pm,” said the landlord.
    The landlord requested the tenants ____ after 10 pm.

Rules & Tips

Rule 1

Generally all the present tenses turn to past and past turn to past participle. But a universal truth remains the same.

  1. “Teacher said, “The earth moves around the Sun.”

The teacher told that the earth moves around the Sun.

Rule 2

If the sentence is a simple statement, use “told, said, commented, claimed, etc” and “that” as the linking word.

  1. Teacher said, “I knew who did it.”

The teacher told that she knew who had done that.

Rule 3

If the sentence is a question that begins with “what, which, when, where, why, who, whose, whom and how,” use “asked, demanded, enquired,” with the same “wh” form as the linking word.

  1. The teacher said, “What is the new story?”
    The teacher asked them what the new story was.

Rule 4

If the sentence is a question starting with “is, am, are, was, were, will, shall, can, could, may, might, should, would, have, has, had, do, does and did,” use “asked, demanded and inquired,” with “if/whether” as the linking words.

  1. The teacher said, “Can anyone answer this question?”

The teacher asked if anyone could answer that question.

Rule 5

If the sentence is an order, use “ordered/asked + to or not to

  1. The teacher said, “Do not listen to music while I teach.”
    The teacher ordered them not to listen to music while she taught.

Rule 6

If the sentence is a request, use “requested/pleaded + to or not to.

  1. The child said, “Dad, please give me my school fee.”

The child requested his dad to give him his school fee.

Rule 7

If the sentence is an exclamation, use, “exclaimed with shock, excitement, amazement, happiness, etc., + and said that …

  1. “The boatman said, “Oh, I cannot believe that it is Lord Ullin’s daughter!”

The boatman exclaimed with shock and said that he could not believe that it was Lord Ullin’s daughter.

A List of Reporting Words

  • Told
  • Asked
  • Demanded
  • Questioned
  • Interrogated
  • Reported
  • Declared
  • Ascertained
  • Refused
  • Confessed
  • Pleaded
  • Resented

Core Changes – Be Forms and Tense

  1. Is and am change to was
  2. Are changes to were
  3. Will changes to would
  4. Shall changes to would or should
  5. Have and has change to had
  6. Have been changes to had been
  7. Has been changes to had been
  8. Today changes to that day
  9. Yesterday changes to the previous day
  10. Tomorrow changes to the next day

Look at these Examples

  1. Sita said, “Sam, Anil is my friend.”
    Sita told Sam that Anil was her friend.
  2. Sita said, “Sam, I am your friend as well.”
    Sita told Sam that she was his friend as well.
  3. Sita said, “Sam, we are getting late.”
    Sita told Sam that they were getting late.
  4. Sita said, “Sam, this is a good idea.”
    Sita told Sam that that was a good idea.
  5. Sita said, “Sam, we will meet Anil at McDonalds.”
    Sita told Sam that they would meet Anil at McDonalds.

Practice Questions

Dialogue 1

Miss Mebbin: “Madam, I think Mrs. Loona Bimberton will be eager to know how the tiger really died.
Mrs. Packletide: “Are you trying to blackmail me, Mebbin?”

Miss Mebbin ______ (a). Alarmed, Mrs. Packletide _____ (b) blackmail her.

Dialogue 2

Ali: “Gokul Bhai, do I have a letter from my daughter Miriam?”
Gokul Bhai: “What the devil are you! Do you think that we postmen eat your letters?”

Ali went to the postmaster Mr. Gokul Bhai and asked him _____ (a). At the peak of anger, the postmaster asked Ali ____ (b).

Dialogue 3

Bill – “Jane, I have decided not to play the final rounds with Murphy.”
Jane – “Jesus! Why? You should not have done so. How will we pay for Harold’s studies?”

Bill informed Jane _____ (a) with Murphy. Jane was shocked so she ____ (b) and said that Bill ____ (c). In the same breath she asked Bill ____ Harold’s studies.

Dialogue 4

Martin – “I don’t want my son run after your daughter and trouble her as we do now. I have finally reached a solution for that.”
Elsa – “What solution?”
Martin – “Let’s marry!”

Martin was in love with Elsa so he was a constant trouble for her. Once he told her that ___ (a) and added that he had ___ (b). Elsa asked Martin what the solution was. Martin suggested ____ (c).

Dialogue 5

Traveller – “I saw the remains of a huge statue of a pharaoh in the desert. It is almost destroyed.”
Poet – “Whose statue is it? Did you see any inscription on its pedestal?”
Traveller – “Yes, I saw a long line running like this – My name is Ozymandias, king of kings.”

A traveller informed the poet that ___ (a) and added that it ___ (b). The poet was amused so he asked the traveller whose ____ (c). His next question was if ___ (d). The traveller replied ____ (e) like ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings…”

Dialogue 6

Dentist – “Oh! You have too many bad teeth. Got the habit of eating sticky toffees?
Pam – “Yes, chocolates. I can’t resist the temptation. They are damn tasty.

The dentist was checking Pam’s teeth. He remarked that she ____ (a) and asked her ___ (b). Pam admitted that ____ (c) because she could ___ (d) tasty.

Questions for Practice – Answered

  1. “Remember all the rules,” said the English teacher, “Because I am going to ask you the most dreadful question.”
    The English teacher warned the students to remember all the rules because she was going to ask them the most dreadful question.
  2. Kemp said, “I never believed, Griffin, that anyone could invent a medicine that can make human body invisible.”
    Dr. Kemp told Griffin that he never believed that anyone could invent a medicine that could make human body difficult.
  3. “Shame!” said the old man, “This is the greatest shame on our people.”
    The old man exclaimed with shame that it was the greatest shame on his people.
  4. “Sam!” shouted his father, “Haven’t you been told that I have a headache?”
    The father screamed at Sam and asked if Sam hadn’t been told that his father had a headache.
  5. “Mother,” said Ravi. “Has someone knocked the front door when we were asleep?”
    Ravi asked his mother if someone had knocked the door when they were asleep.
  6. The comedian said, “it is easy to make someone cry but it takes a lot pain to make someone laugh.”
    The comedian told that it is easy to make someone cry but it takes a lot pain to make someone laugh.
  7. “Who will let someone take his money if he can stop it?” said the teacher.
    The teacher asked the students who would let someone take his money if he could stop it.
  8. Finally the priest said, “Woman, have you done any other crime?”
    Finally the priest asked the woman whether she had done any other crime.
  9. “You have nothing left, great king,” said Shakuni. “Our game must end.” (Convert to indirect form)
    Shakuni declared that their game must end as the king had nothing left.

Questions for Practice

  1. The investigating officer said, “What time, Ms Sophie, did you see the invisible man enter your room?”
  2. The third witch said, “Macbeth, you will regret for the rest of the life for the acts you are going to do.”
  3. After peeping into Miriam’s room, Sam said, “I should have knocked before peeping.”
  4. The idiot said, “How can anyone find me out!”
  5. Machinist said, “Mr. David, the two girls have to rake my yard for doing this.”
  6. After a second thought the stranger said, “Mister, I do not know who has done this. All I know is that the man had been dead before I arrived.”
  7. “Get out of the world!” cried Cicily. “John, you have roused the hell against me.”
  8. “Make haste, children!” shouted Mr Sam. “We will all get wet.”
  9. Shakuni said, “You do wrong to lose yourself, O king. Surely you have wealth still, greater than all that you have lost.” (Convert to indirect form)
  10. “Yes!” hissed Yudhishthira in a low voice, “I stake my beloved wife.” (Convert to indirect form)
    Yudhishthira hissed in a low voice that ………………………..
  11. Vidhura begged Dritharashtra to be warned. He further said that he well knew that Dhuryadhana’s greed was the curse of his race.
    Vidhura said, “……………………………. . You well ………………… of your race”
  12. Convert to the indirect to direct or direct to indirect forms.
  13. The beggar said, “I am begging for many children in my colony.”
  14. Rahul said, “I may not be a good leader but I am a good human being.”
  15. Utterson told Mr. Hyde that his story was very difficult to understand.
  16. Hyde told that he was himself not able to understand his story.

Convert to Direct Speech

  1. The peacock raised its head and advised his wife not to believe everyone she would be meeting on her way to Kerala. (Convert to direct form)

Biju John

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men.

Writing Character Sketches
Catherine – Biju John
Writing Character Sketches
Catherine – Biju John

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