CBSE English Grammar

Reported Speech

There are two different ways in which we can report the words of a speaker :(a) Direct Speech or Direct Narration.(b) Indirect Speech or Indirect Narration.

2. (a) Direct Speech contains the actual words of the speaker ; as—Sarla said, “My father has a roaring business in Mumbai.”He said to me, “/ am feeling unwell today.”In these sentences, actual words of the speaker are given within inverted commas without any change.(b) Indirect Speech gives the substance of the speaker’s actual words and not the exact words spoken by him or her ; as—Sarla said that her father had a roaring business in Mumbai He told me that he was feeling unwell that day.

3. The actual words of the speaker, given within ‘inverted commas’ are called the Reported Speech. In the same way, the Verb which introduces the Reported Speech is called the Reporting Verb.In the sentence above ‘said’ is the Reporting Verb and ‘My father has a roaring business in Mumbai’ is the Reported Speech.Reporting Verb and Reported SpeechLook at the following sentences :Radha says, “I shall finish my home-work today.”Sushma said to Pushpa, “Show me your dolls.”The verbs ‘says and said’ in the above sentences are ‘Reporting Verbs’.The exact words of the speaker given within the inverted commas are ‘Reported Speech’. ,

4. Here are some distinctive points regarding the Direct Speech and Indirect Speech :In the Direct Speech

1. The Reported Speech is put within Reported (Inverted) Commas.2. The Reported Speech and the Reporting Verb are separated by a Comma.3. The first word of the Reported Speech begins with a capital letter.

Transformation of Direct Speech into Indirect Speech Ruuds for the Change of Tense

Ride I. If the Reporting Verb is in the Present or Future Tense, the Tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech does not change.

1. Direct: Rajesh says, “She has brought fame to her family.”InDirect: Indirect: Rajesh says that she has brought fame to her family.2. Direct: Rohit has said, “I cannot displease my friend.”InDirect: Rohit has said that he cannot displease his friend.3. Direct: I shall say, “I went to Agra on Monday.”InDirect: I shall say that I went to Agra on Monday.4. Direct: She will say, “I have sent him a present.”InDirect: She will say that she has sent him a present.

Rule II. If the Reporting Verb is in the Past Tense, the tense of the verb in the Reported Speech must be changed into the corresponding Past Tense.

1. Direct: I said, “I am speaking the truth.”  InDirect: I said that I was speaking the truth.2. Direct: The teacher said, “Boys fail because they do not study regularly.”InDirect: The teacher said that boys Jailed because they did not study regularly.

Exception to Rule II(i) If there is a Universal Truth or Habitual fact in the Reported Speech, the Tense of the verb is never changed ; as—1. Direct: He said, “Face is the index of mind.” (Proverbial truth)InDirect: He said that face is the index of mind.2. Direct: The teacher said, “The earth rotates round its axis.” (Geographical truth)InDirect: The teacher said that the earth rotates round its axis.3. Direct: Horatius said, “Death comes sooner or later.” (Universal truth)InDirect: Horatius said that death comes sooner or later.

(ii) The Tense of the Verb in the Reported Speech does not change if the reported speech states a past historical fact; as—1. Direct: He said, “India became free on 15th August, 1947.”InDirect: He said that India became free on 15th August, 1947.2. Direct: She said, “Her father lived at Lahore for ten years.”InDirect: She said that her father lived at Lahore for ten years.

(iii) If two such actions are given in the Reported Speech which take place at the same time, the Past Indefinite or Continuous Tense does not change.Direct: He said, “Mohan was singing a song while Gopal was playing on a flute.”Indirect: He said that Mohan was singing a song while Gopal was playing on a flute.Examples:1. Direct: She said, “I am a top-class singer.”Indirect: She said that she was a top-class singer.2. Direct: We said, “He is writing a poem.”Indirect: We said that he was writing a poem.3. Direct: He said, “It may rain tonight.”Indirect: He said that it might rain that night.4. He said, “A devil ever remains a devil.”Indirect: He said that a devil ever remains a devil.

The future tense of the reported speech is changed as under :Future Indefinite— would/ shouldFuture Continuous— would/should beFuture Perfect— would/ should haveFuture Perfect Continuous— would/should have been

Examples1. Direct: You said, “He is a very good athlete.”Indirect: You said that he was a very good athlete.2. Direct: I said, “I have finished my work.”Indirect: I said that I had finished my work.3. Direct: He said, “Her parents will pay a visit to Delhi.”Indirect: He said that her parents would pay a visit to Delhi.4. Direct: She said, ‘You will be helping me.”Indirect: She said that I/he/we/they would be helping her.

Interrogative Sentences Conversion Of Interrogative Sentences From Direct Into Indirect

Rules :1. The Reporting Verb is changed, into ‘ask, enquire, inquire or demand! etc.2. No conjunction is used to introduce the Reported Speech if the question begins with (an interrogative) word ; such as—what, who, whose, which, when, where, why, how, whom etc.3. If or whether is used to introduce the Reported Speech if the reported speech has no question word.4. Change the questions into statements. Put Jull stop in place of mark of interrogation (?).

Examples(a) Questions beginning with a Helping Verb1. Direct: He said to her, “Shall I accompany you to Agra ?”Indirect: He asked her if he would (should) accompany her to Agra.2. Direct: She said to him, “Had I been absenting myself from school for a month ?”Indirect: She asked him if she had been absenting herself from school for a month.3. Direct: He said to us, “Has she been spinning since yesterday ?”Indirect: He asked us if she had been spinning since the previous day.

(b) Sentences having ‘Yes’ or ‘No’1. Direct; “Are there any more flies ?” He asked. “Yes, sir,” said the peon.Indirect: He asked the peon if there mere any more files. The peon replied respectfully in affirmative.2. Direct: The teacher said to Lila, “Did you break the window pane ?” “No, sir,” saidLila, “I did not.”Indirect: The teacher asked Lila if she had broken the window pane. Lila respectfully replied that she hadn’t.

(c) Questions beginning with Interrogative Words1.Direct: He said to me, “Whom does she want to contact ?”Indirect: He asked me whom she wanted to contact..2.Direct: They said to her, “Whose house are you purchasing ?” They asked her whose house she was purchasing.Indirect: You said to him “Why are you making mischief ?”

(d) Questions beginning with modal auxiliaries1. Direct: I said to him, “May Sunita come in to discuss with you something ?”Indirect: I asked him if Sunita might come in to discuss with him something.2. Direct: The traveller said to me, “Can you tell me the way to the nearest inn ?”Indirect: The traveller asked me if I could tell him the way to the nearest inn.3. Direct: He said to me, “Must I leave for Mumbai tomorrow ?”Indirect: He asked me if he had to leave for Mumbai the next day.

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