Narration Change : Direct Speech and Indirect Speech
There are two sorts of Narration or Speech :
1. Direct Narration or Direct Speech :
When a speech is quoted in the actual words used by the speaker within quotation marks or inverted commas (“…”), it is called the Direct Speech or Direct Narration.
Examples: The boy said, “My father has brought a laptop for me.
2. Indirect Narration or Indirect Speech :
When the speech is reported in the form of a narrative, giving the meaning or substance of the words used by the speaker, without quoting his actual words, it is called the Indirect Narration or Indirect Speech.
Examples: The boy said that his father had brought a laptop for him.
(1) There is a speaker
(2) There is a reporting verb and a comma after it
(3) The speech is put within inverted commas
(4) The first letter of the reported speech is in the capital.
we see that in Indirect Speech :
(a) Commas and inverted commas are abolished;
(b) Linker ‘that’ is introduced;
(c) The pronouns are changed according to some rules;
(d) Verbs in the speech are changed (special cases) according to the rules;
(e) In the Indirect speech form, the sentence must always end with a full stop;
(f) The reported sentence must be changed to an assertive sentence.
General Rules for changing Direct Narration or Speech into Indirect Narration or Speech :
Rule 1: A linker (that, if or whether) is generally placed before the Indirect Speech. [This rule does not apply to Imperative Sentences or to some exceptional cases.]
Direct : Roger said, “I am O.K.”
Indirect : Direct : Indirect : Roger said that he was O.K.
Direct My sister said to me, “Have you learnt by heart the entire poem for recitation?”
Indirect My sister asked (me) if I had learnt by heart the entire poem for recitation.
Note: Sometimes the linker ‘that’ may be omitted.
Rule 2: The pronouns are changed according to sense.
Direct : He said to me, “I shall come soon”.
Indirect : He told me that he would go soon.
Direct : I said to them, “Have you done the work?”
Indirect : I asked them if they had done the work.
Rule 3: If the Reporting Verb is in the Present or Future Tense, the Tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech remains unchanged.
Direct :He says, “I am O.K.”
Indirect : He says that he is O.K.
Direct : Mita will say, ‘I am right.”
Indirect : Mita will say that she is right.
Rule 4: When the Reporting Verb is in the Past tense, the Present Tense in the Reported Speech is changed into the corresponding Past Tense.
(a) The Present Indefinite Tense becomes the Past Indefinite :
He said, “I am well.” Direct: Indirect : He said that he was well.
(b) The Present Continuous becomes the Past Continuous :
Direct: Indirect She said, “I am singing a devotional song”.
Indirect She said that she was singing a devotional song.
(c) The Present Perfect Tense becomes Past Perfect Tense :
Direct : Shuvam said, “I have finished my homework.”
Indirect : Indirect : Shuvam said that he had finished his homework.
(d) The Past Continuous Tense becomes the Past Perfect Continuous Tense: Direct :
Direct : They said, “We were playing soccer.
Indirect : ” They said that they had been playing soccer.
(e) “Shall”, and ‘will’ of the Future Tense change into ‘should’ and ‘would’:
Direct : He said, “I shall go to school.”
Indirect : He said that he would go to school.
(f) In case of a universal or eternal truth, the tense of the Reported Speech remains unchanged:
Direct : Father said, “The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.”
Indirect : Father said that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
Rule 5: Some ‘time and place expressions’ are changed if the Reporting Verb is in the Past tense:
now becomes then
ago becomes before
today becomes that day
tonight becomes that night
tomorrow becomes the next day
yesterday becomes the previous day
hence becomes thence
thus becomes that way
come becomes go[ not always]
last night becomes the previous night
here becomes there
this becomes that
these becomes those
Note: No change takes place if speech is reported during the same period of time or at the same place :
Direct : Amit says (at 9 a.m.), “My cousin will come today.”
Indirect : Amit says (at 9 a.m.) that his cousin will come today (not that day).
Rule 6: There is generally no change in the verb forms of the Modal Auxiliaries like must, should and ought to:
Direct : He said, “We must do our duties.”
Indirect : He said that they must do their duties.
Narration Change of Assertive Sentences :
1. The conjunction that is used in the Reported Speech. If the Reporting Verb is in the present or future tense, the tense of the verb in the Reported Speech remains unchanged:
Direct : Peter says, “I am well.”
Indirect : Peter says that he is well.
” Peter says that he is well.
2. If the Reporting Verb is in the past tense, the verb in the reported speech changes into the corresponding past form :
Jack said, “I am extremely happy.”
Jack said that he was extremely happy.
3. If the statement in the Direct Speech is universal, habitual or eternal truth, the tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech remains unchanged:
Father said to me, “Honesty is the best policy”.
Father told me that honesty is the best policy.
The teacher said to us, “The earth rotates round the sun.”
The teacher told us that the earth rotates round the sun.
Narration Change of Interrogative Sentences :
1. When an interrogative sentence is changed from the Direct Speech into the Indirect Speech the verbs say, said, tell, told become ask, asked, enquire and enquired.
2. The verb is followed by an object.
3. Interrogative sentence in the Direct Speech becomes the Assertive Construction in the Indirect Speech.
4. When the Direct speech begins with ‘wh’ questions, words like who, which, when, what, where, why and how, the same question word is retained in the Indirect Speech.
N.B. The conjunction ‘that’ is never used in the Indirect Speech.
A. Questions beginning with Auxiliary Verbs
Bill said to me, “Are you ill?”
Bill asked or enquired of me if I was ill.
B. Interrogative Sentences with ‘Wh’-words and ‘How’
The inspector said to me, “What’s your name?” :
The inspector asked me what my name was.
Narration Change of Imperative Sentences :
1. The reporting verbs like say, said, etc. become order, ordered, advise, advised, beg, begged, entreat, entreated, tell, told etc. according to tense and sense.
2. The Imperative mood is changed into the Infinitive with ‘to’ being used before the main verb.
3. Negative Imperative Sentences in the Indirect Speech are expressed with ‘not’ placed before the Infinitive.
4. The polite expressions like please, kindly, sir etc. in the Direct Speech are rendered by verb request or with the help of the adverbs politely or kindly.
The general said to the soldiers, “March on.”
The general ordered (or commanded) the soldiers to march on.
The mother said to the son, “Don’t run in the sun.”
The mother advised the son not to run in the sun.
The mother forbade the son to run in the sun.
The teacher said to the students, “Sit down”.
The teacher told the students to sit down.
He said to me, “Go home at once.”
He told or advised me to go home at once.
The teacher said to the boys, “Don’t make a noise in the class.”
The teacher told or ordered or advised the students not to make a noise in the class.
A. Imperative Sentences beginning with ‘Let’.
1. When ‘Let’ in the Direct Speech expresses a proposal or suggestion, the Reporting Verb in the Indirect Speech becomes propose or suggest and ‘let’ is replaced by ‘should’:
Jack said to me, “Let’s have our dinner now.”
Jack proposed or suggested that we should have our dinner then.
He said to me, “Let’s go out for a walk”.
He proposed or suggested to me that we should go out for a walk.
2. But if ‘Let’ does not mean suggestion or proposal, then ‘Let’ is changed into the expression might or might be allowed or some other form according to sense. The Reporting Verb becomes ‘tell’ or ‘told’.
He said to me, “Let me give him the news.”
He told me that he might (might be allowed to) give him the news.
Mother said to me, “Let him do whatever he likes.”
Mother told me that he might (or might be allowed to) do whatever he liked.
B. Imperatives or interrogatives with must, would and could
The modal verbs like must, would and could remain unchanged in the Indirect Speech. It is to be noted that some sentences with ‘would’ and ‘could’ are imperative sentences though they are interrogative in form.
He said to me, “You must talk to your parents.”
He told me that I must talk to my parents.
The old man said to me, “Would you give me a glass of water?”
The old man requested me to give him a glass of water.
I said to him, “Could you lend me your book?”
I requested him to lend me his book.
Or, I wanted to know if he could lend me his book.
Narration Change of Optative Sentences :
1. In Optative Sentences, the Reporting Verb is changed into wish or pray.
2. The optative form is changed into an assertive one or a statement.
3. The conjunction ‘that’ is used as a linker.
They said, “Long live revolution”.
They wished that revolution might live long.
He said, “May his soul rest in peace.”
He wished that his soul might rest in peace.
The old man said to me, “May God bless you.”
The old man wished or prayed that God might bless me.
He said to me, “May you live in peace.”
He wished that I might live in peace.
Rohit said, “Oh, had I the wings of a bird.”
Rohit wished that he could have the wings of a bird.
He said to me, “Good morning.”
He wished me good morning./ He greeted me with good morning.
: Mother said to me, “May you prosper”.
Mother wished me prosperity. /Mother wished that I might prosper.
Narration Change of Exclamatory Sentences
1. The Reporting Verbs are changed into verbs like ‘exclaim’, ‘cry out’, ‘shout’, ‘applaud’ etc. according to the sense.
2. The exclamation is turned into a statement.
3. The conjunction that is used as a linker.
4. The words, what or how introducing exclamatory sentences denoting excess or extremity of emotion become great (or very) according to the sense.
The boys said, “Hurrah! We have won the match.”
The boys exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.
He said, “Alas! The child is dead.”
He exclaimed with sorrow that the child was dead.
The boy said, “What a fool I am!”
The boy exclaimed that he was a great fool.
The girl said, “What a nice flower the rose is!”
The girl exclaimed that the rose was a very nice flower.
Greg Chappell said to the cricketers, “Bravo! You have played extremely well.”
Greg Chappell applauded or cheered the cricketers and said that they had played extremely well.
He said, “What a fool I am!”
He exclaimed with grief or disgust that he was a great fool.
He said, “By Jove! What a good news!”
He swore by Jove that it was a very good news.
The visitor said, “How wonderful the scenery of Kashmir is!”
The visitor exclaimed with joy that the scenery of Kashmir was very wonderful.
Narration Change of Vocative Sentences
1. The vocatives in the Direct Speech are changed to the Indirect according to the sense with the help of appropriate verbs and adverbs
2. The verb ‘address’ is generally omitted these days.
Father said, “Sourav, bring a chair for me.”
Father asked or told Sourav to bring a chair for him. or, Father addressed Sourav to bring him a chair.
The teacher said, “Boys, sit down.”
The teacher told or asked the boys to sit down.
He said, “My friend, you have made me proud of you.
” He told his friend that he had made him proud of him.
He said, “Celia, my darling, I am so happy to meet you.”
Addressing Celia as his darling, he said that he was so happy to meet her. #
Reporting of Mixed Sentences
1. When Direct Speech contains the sentences of the same kind, the Reporting Verb becomes common in the Indirect Speech and in such cases the sentences are connected by the conjunction ‘and’.
2. But when the sentences of different kinds are joined, various Reporting Verbs are used in the Indirect Speech.
3. Adverbs and connective words or expressions like ‘then’, ‘added that’, ‘also said that’ etc. are used.
He said to me, “Who are you? What do you want?”
He asked me who I was and what I wanted.
Peter said to me, “I know your uncle. Can you tell me where he lives now?”
Peter told me that he knew my uncle and asked me if I could tell him where he (uncle) lived then.
I said to Raghu, “Why are you so late in coming? Father has already left for the place.”
I asked Raghu why he was so late in going. I also told or informed him that father had already left for the place.
Narration Change for Questions and Answers ‘Yes’ and ‘No’:
When ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is changed to the Indirect Speech, the verb of the question which is understood should be repeated. The common verb ‘do’ or the sense of the verb is to be repeated.
The teacher said to the student, “Have you completed your home work?”
The student replied, “No”.
The teacher asked the student if he had completed his homework and the student replied that he had not done it.
I said to him, “Are you feeling weak?” He replied, “Yes”.
I asked him if he was feeling weak. He replied that he was feeling weak.
I said to him, “Will you go to the cinema?” He said, “Yes”.
I asked him if he would go to the cinema. He replied that he would go to the cinema.
I said to him, “Have you seen the accident?” He said, “No, Sir, I have not seen it.”
I asked him if he had seen the accident. He denied that he had seen it. He denied having seen it.