Direct and Indirect Speech Rules and Examples

 In this article, I have explained the direct & Indirect narration with examples and exercises. I have given the rules and methods of converting direct sentences into Indirect sentences. I have explained the rules of changing the pronouns, adverbs, and tenses. I have also given examples at the end of the article.

Direct and indirect Sentences

There are two ways to describe what someone says in the English language. We can describe a sentence spoken by someone in two ways. One way is direct narration and second is indirect narration. Direct speech in which we repeat the same words, is written in inverted commas. We do not change any word in "Direct Narration" but also we write the exact words spoken by someone. For example, I said I like you. If we write this sentence in "Direct Narration", we can write in this way. I said, "I like you.". The way of writing exact words in inverted commas is called "Direct Narration."We can also write this sentence in this way. He said that he liked her.. This way of writing is called "Indirect Narration"

Direct & Indirect Narration

1. There are two parts of a sentence in narration.
2. One part is written between inverted commas
3. The second part is written out of inverted commas
4. The part that is written between inverted commas, is called "Reported Speech"
5. The part that is written out of inverted commas, is called" Reporting Speech"

 Pronouns in Direct & Indirect Speech

Pronouns of reported speech are changed according to the subject and object of reporting speech.
The tense of reported speech is also changed according to the tense of reporting speech

Persons In Direct & Indirect Speech

First of all, we need to know about the kinds of persons in order to understand direct and indirect speech.

1st Person

Subjective       Possessive        Objective
[  I   ]                    [  My  ]                  [  Me]
[We]                      [ Our  ]                  [  Us]

2nd Person

Subjective          Possessive          Objective
 ] You  ]                   [Your]                   [ You]

3rd Person

Subjective           Possessive         Objective
[ He ]                    [  His  ]                  [ Him]
[ She ]                    [ Her ]                   [  Her]
[ They ]                   [Their ]                [  Them]
[ It   ]                      [Its ]                      [ It]

Change of Persons

  • 1st person of reported speech is changed according to the subject of reporting speech
  • 2nd person of reported speech is changed according to the object of reporting speech.
  • 3rd person of reported speech never changed.

In order to understand we can explain this point in this way.

Reported Speech            Reporting Speech

1st Person        ---------------          Subject

2nd Person      ---------------         Object

3rd Person       ----------------        Never changed

In order to remember we can remember this formula of changing pronouns.

Reporting Speech     Reported Speech

SON                          "  123 "

1---      Stand for 1st Person of Reported speech
2----    Stand for the Second Person of Reported speech
3----    Stand for 3rd person of Reported speech
S----    Stand for Subject of Reporting Speech
O---    Stand for Object of Reporting Speech
N---    Stand for Never of Reporting speech
If we explain this formula we can say that
  • 1st person of Reported speech changed according to Subject of Reporting Speech
  • 2nd person of Reported speech changed according to Object of Reporting Speech
  • 3rd Person of Reported never changed 

Changes of Tenses

If reporting speech is in the present or future tense, the tense of reported speech never changed. We can change only persons. If reporting speech is in the past tense, then the tense of reported speech is changed according to the following rules.
The tense of reported speech changed into The tense of reporting speech.


The tense of reporting speech is changed when the tense of reported speech is past tense. For example, He said, they said, She said to me, they said to her, etc. If the tense of reporting speech is present and future, the tense of reported speech never changed, only the pronoun is changed.
  • Present Indefinite changed into Past Indefinite
  • Present continuous changed into Past Continous
  • Present Perfect changed into Past Perfect
  • Present Perfect Continuous changed into Past Perfect Continous
  • Past Indefinite changed into Past Perfect
  • Past Continuous changed int Past Perfect Continuous
  • Past Perfect never changed
  • Past Perfect Continuous never changed 
  • Will/ Shall changed into Would


Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses never changed. They remain the same in" direct & indirect narration."
If the tense is not clear or we do not know the tense,  we can remember the changes of tense in this way.

  • 1st Form changed into  2nd Form
  • Is, Am, Are + VI +ing  changed into Was, Were + VI +ing
  • Have, Has + VIII  changed into Had + VIII
  • Has been, Have been + VI +ing changed into  Had been + VI +ing
  • 2nd Form changed into    Had + VIII
  • Was, Were +VI +ing changed into    Had been + VI +ing
  • Had + VIII changed into Had + VIII
  • Had been + VI +ing changed into had been + VI +ing
  • Will, Shall + VI changed into Would + VI
  • Will be, Shall be + VI +ing changed into   Would be + VI +ing
  • Will have, Shall have + VIII changed into Would have + VIII
  • Can +VI changed into Could+ VI
  • May +VI changed into  Might+ VI

Changes of Adverbs

  • This change into That
  • These changed int Those
  • Here changed into There
  • Now changed into Then
  • Sir changed into  Respectfully
  • Madam changed into Respectfully
  • Tomorrow changed into That day
  • Yesterday changed into The previous day
  • Tonight changed into That night


1. He says, "I will go to London. (Direct)
   He says that he will go to London. (Indirect)
2. He says."I shall go to college ." (Direct)
   He says that he will to college. (Indirect)
3. He said," I want to study ." (Direct)
   He said that he wanted to study. (Indirect)
4. They said," We are playing cricket." (Direct)
   They said that they were playing cricket. (Indirect)
5. They said," We are catching the birds. (Direct)
   They said that they were catching the birds. (Indirect)
6. She said, "I like him." (Direct)
   She told that she liked him. (Indirect)
7. He said, "I have been studying English." (Direct)
   He said that he had been studying English. (Indirect)
8. She said,
" I went there" (Direct)
   She said that she had gone there. (Indirect)
9. They said," We live in this house." (Direct)
   They said that they lived in that house. (Indirect)
10. The girl said," I bought these books." (Direct)
   The girl said that she had bought those books. (Indirect)

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