#85 - Direct and Indirect Speech - Tense Changes - English Grammar


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Direct and Indirect Speech - Tense Changes

Direct speech and indirect speech are ways people express how something was said. Direct speech also called quoted speech is said exactly how the speaker initially spoke the words. Indirect speech also called reported speech is reported back not using the exact words as the original speaker.

Direct Speech

Direct speech also called quoted speech is said exactly how the speaker initially spoke the words. It is written with quotation marks to indicate the exact words that were used by the original speaker. A comma is used to separate the quoted speech and the speaker.
  • He said, "I am not finished with the assignment."
  • "I want to break up with you," she told me.

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech also called reported speech is reported back not using the exact words as the original speaker. It is written without quotation marks because it is not directly quoting word for word. When using indirect speech the verb tense changes because we are reporting things that have happened in the past. A comma is not used.
  • He said he was not finished with the assignment.
  • She told me that she wanted to break up with me.

Tense Changes When Reporting Speech

The verb tense changes when reporting speech (indirect speech) from a quoted speech (direct speech). When using indirect speech the verb tense changes because we are reporting things that have happened in the past. You do not have to use "that" when reporting speech. It is optional.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
She said, "I like candy."She said she liked candy.
"I am playing baseball," John said.John said he was playing baseball.
Carol said, "I lived in England."Carol said that she had lived in England.
"I will help them tomorrow," she said.She said that she would help them tomorrow.
Mark said, "We were studying all night."Mark said that they had been studying all night."
"It has been raining all day," he said.He said that it had been raining all day.
Bill told me, "I had been waiting for three hours."Bill told me that he had been waiting for three hours.
Joe told me, "We will be joining you on Saturday."Joe told me that they would be joining us on Saturday.




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