Narration / Direct and Indirect Speech

The art of reporting the words of a speaker is called Narration.

There are two main ways of reporting the words of a speaker.

1. Direct Speech

2. Indirect Speech

 

Direct Speech

In this form the actual words of the speaker are put in quotes “ ” .
Ex:-

  1. Rama said,” I am very busy now.”
  2. In the above example the Speaker i.e
  3. Rama is known as Reporter,
  4. said is known as Reporting verb and
  5. “I am very busy now.” is known as Reported Speech.

Indirect Speech

In this form the actual words of the speaker are transformed and said/written in simple manner.

Ex:-

  • Rama said that he was very busy then.

 

Basic rules to convert a Direct Speech to Indirect Speech.

There are five basic things that have to be changed while converting a Direct speech to an Indirect speech.

  1. To change the reporting verb according to the reported speech.
  2. To remove the inverted comma’s from the direct speech and replace them with an appropriate conjunction.
  3. To change the pronoun of reported speech accordingly.
  4. Change the adverbs of the Direct Speech.

Active - Rajiv said to me,” I shall go to the picture today”
Passive - Rajiv told me that he would go to the picture that day.

In the above example

Reporting verb said to is changed into told.
Inverted Commas
are replaced by the conjunction that
Reported speech’s pronoun I is changed into He.
Reported speech’s verb shall go is changed into would go.
As another changes today is changed with the word that day.

Rules of change of Pronouns

NominativePossessiveObjectiveReflexive
I My Me Myself
We Our Us Ourselves
You Yours You Yourself
He His Him Himself
She Her Her Herself
They Their Them Themselves


Pronouns are changed according to a rule designated as SON where

  • S stands for Subject 
  • O stands for Object   
  • N stands for No change.
  1. First person changes to subject of Reporting Verb
  2. Second person changes to Object of Reporting Verb
  3. There is no change if it is a Third person.

Rule No 1.
1st Person pronoun of Reported speech is changed according to the Subject of Reporting verb.

Direct: She says, “I am in tenth class.”
Indirect: She says that she is in tenth class.

Direct: I say, “I am an honest man.”
Indirect: I say that I am an honest man.

 

Rule No 2.
2nd Person pronoun of Reported speech is changed according to Object of Reporting verb.

Direct: She says to me, “you have done your work”
Indirect: She tells me that I have done my work.

Direct: She says to her, “You have done your work”
Indirect: She tells her that she has done her work.

Direct: I say to them, “you have done your work.”
Indirect: I tell them that they have done their work.

 

Rule No 3.
3rd Person Pronoun of Reported speech is not changed.

Direct: He says, “He does not work hard”
Indirect: He says that he does not work hard.

Direct: Everybody says, “They have spoken the truth”
Indirect: Everybody says that they have spoken the truth.

 

Rules of change of verb or Tense

Rule No.1

If reporting verb is given in Present or Future tense then there will be no change in the verb or tense of Reported speech

Direct: The teacher says, “Gayatri performs on the stage”
Indirect: The teacher says that Gayatri performs on the stage.

Direct: The teacher is saying, “Gayatri performs on the stage”
Indirect: The teacher is saying that Gayatri performs on the stage.

Direct: The teacher  will say, “Gayatri is performing on the stage”
Indirect: The teacher  will say that Gayatri  is performing on the stage.

 

Rule No.2

If reporting verb is given in Past tense then the tense of the verb of Reported Speech will change into corresponding Past tense.

Direct: The teacher said, “I am suffering from fever.”
Indirect: The teacher said that she was suffering from fever.

Direct: She said to me, “I took the breakfast in the morning”.
Indirect: She told me that she had taken the breakfast in the morning.

 

Corresponding Changes to past form in indirect speech from the verb in Reported speech.

  1. Simple present changes to Simple Past
  2. Present Continuous changes to Past Continuous
  3. Present Perfect changes to Past Perfect
  4. Present Perfect Continuous changes to Past Perfect Continuous
  5. Simple Past changes to Past Perfect
  6. Past Continuous changes to Past Perfect Continuous
  7. In Future Tense will/Shall changes to would
  8. Can changes to Could
  9. May changes to Might

 

Some of the exceptional cases of Rule 2

Exception 1: 

If Reporting speech has Universal Truth or Habitual fact then there is no change in the Tense. 

Direct: Our teacher said, “The earth is round”
Indirect: Our teacher said that the earth is round.( Universal Truth)

Direct: Rajiv said to me, “He plays with right hand”
Indirect: Rajiv told me that he plays with right hand.(Habitual fact)

 

Exception 2:
If reporting speech has Past Historical Fact then there is no change in the Tense.

Direct: Our teacher said, “Asoka left war after the conquest of Kalinga”.
Indirect: Our teacher said that Asoka left war after the conquest of kalinga.

 

Exception 3:
If Reporting speech has two actions to be happened at a time then there is no change in the Tense.

Direct: She said “My wife was making lunch when I was studying”
Indirect: She said that her wife was making lunch when she was studying.

 

Exception 4:
If Reporting speech has some Imagined Condition then there is no change in the Tense.

Direct: She said “If I were rich, I would help him.”
Indirect: She said that if she were rich she would help her.

 

Exception 5:
If Reporting speech contains had 3rd form, to infinitive and would, could, should, must, might, ought to etc. then there is no change in the Tense.

Direct: She said to me, “You should obey your elders.”
Indirect: She told me that I should obey my elders.

Some other small changes that used to take place while changing Direct Speech to Indirect Speech.

Here Changes to There
Now Changes to Then
This Changes to That
These Changes to Those
Today Changes to That day
To-night Changes to That night
Yesterday Changes to The previous day
Last night Changes to The previous night
Last week Changes to The previous week
Tomorrow Changes to The next day
Next Week Changes to The following week
Ago Changes to Before
Thus Changes to so
Hence Changes to Thence
Hither Changes to Thither
Come Changes to Go

Note:-An in indirect speech we talk about such incidents that are after the time of reporting and  had happened away from the place of reporting therefore the words that show nearness has to be replaced by the words that show distance.

Some exception in these changes

1.Come is changed to go if there is some word given after come that shows nearness.

2. If this, here and now points to such a thing, place or time that is in front of the speaker then no change takes place in Indirect Narration.

 

Rules for Change in Narration of different type of sentences

Type No 1. Assertive Sentences

Rule 1

  • If there is no object after Reporting verb there it should not be changed. 
  • If there is some object after Reporting verb then say is changed to tell, says to tells and said to told.
  • According to the context said to can be replaced by replied, informed, stated, added, remarked, asserted, assured, pleaded, reminded, reported or complained etc. 

Rule 2

  • Put conjunction that in place of “  ”.
  • Change the pronouns of the Reported speech as enlisted earlier.

Examples showing some Assertive Sentences Changed into Indirect form

Direct: She said to me, “I shall sleep now”
Indirect: She told me that she would play then.

Direct: He said, “My brother’s marriage comes off next month.”
Indirect: He said that his brother’s marriage would come off the following month.

 

Type No 2. Interrogative Sentences

Rule 1

  • As interrogative sentence is meant to ask questions therefore Reporting verb said/said to is changed to asked.
  • Said to can also be changed into enquired or demanded

Rule 2

  • If question is formed with the help of any of the helping verbs like is/are/am, was/were, has/have, do/does, will/would etc then “ __” are to be replaced by if or whether
  • If question is formed with the help of words starting with “Wh”  like who, whose, what, whom, when etc (also known as W family) or How then to  replace “___” no conjunction is used.

Rule 3

  • In these sentences question form of the sentence is removed and full-stop is put at the end of the sentence.
  • Helping verb is /are/am, was/were etc should be put after the subject.
  • If the interrogative sentence is expressing positive feeling then do/does of the Direct speech is removed while converting it into Indirect speech.
  • If the interrogative sentence is expressing negative feeling then do/does of the Direct speech is changed into did while converting it into Indirect speech.
  • Did or has/have of the interrogative sentence is changed to had.

Rule 4

  • Pronouns and verbs are changed according to the set rule of Narration.
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