Conveying the exact words of the speaker in his own actual words without any change to another person is called ‘the Direct Speech’. Sam said, “I am going to the market now”. Reporting of what a speaker said in our own words to another person without quoting his exact words is called ‘Indirect Speech’. Sam said that he was going to the market then.




Rules of changing Direct into Indirect Speech

Changes in Tenses: The past perfect and past perfect continuous tenses do not change.


Direct Speech

Indirect Speech

Simple Present Changes to Simple Past

“I always drink tea”, he said

He said that he always drank tea.

Present Continuous Changes to Past Continuous

“I am reading a book”, she said.

She said that she was reading a book.

Present Perfect Changes to Past Perfect

She said, “He has finished his work”

She said that he had finished his work.

Present Perfect Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous

“I have been to England”, he told me.

He told me that he had been to England.

Simple Past Changes to Past Perfect

“Bill arrived on Saturday”, he said.

He said that bill had arrived on Saturday.

Past Perfect Changes to Past Perfect (No change In Tense)

“I had just come back from work,” he said.

He said that he had just come back from work.

Past Continuous Changes to Past Perfect Continuous

“We were living in Hong Kong”, they told us.

They told us that they had been living in Hong Kong.

Future Change to Present Conditional

“I will be in Italy on Saturday”, she said

She said that she would be in Italy on Saturday.

Future Continuous Changes to Conditional Continuous

He said, “I’ll be visiting mother next Monday.”

He said that he would be visiting mother next Monday.


When it is uncertain if the statement is true or when we are reporting objectively, the past tense is often used.

Indirect Speech conversion

Direct Speech Condition

Present Tenses in the Direct Speech are changed into Past Tense.

If the reporting or principal verb is in the Past Tense.


Do Not Change Tense of reported Speech in Indirect Speech sentence

If in direct speech you find say/says or will say.

Direct speech the words within the quotation marks talk of a universal truth or habitual action.

The reporting verb is in a present tense.


Words expressing nearness in time or places are generally changed into words expressing distance.







Change of place and time

Direct Speech

Indirect Speech




That day

This morning

That morning

Yester day

The day before


The next day

Next week

The following week

Next month

The following month







Last night

The night before














Change of in Pronouns

The pronouns of the Direct Speech are changed where necessary, according to their relations with the reporter and his hearer, rather than with the original speaker.


Direct Speech

Indirect Speech

The first person of the reported speech changes according to the subject of reporting speech.

He says, “I am in fifth class.”

He says that he is in fifth class.

The second person of reported speech changes according to the object of reporting speech.

He says to them, “You have completed your job.”

He tells them that they have completed their job.

The third person of the reported speech doesn’t change.

She says, “She is in ninth class.”

She says that she is in ninth class.


Changes in Modals


Direct Speech

Indirect Speech

CAN change into COULD

He said, “I can touch the ceiling”.

He said that he could touch the ceiling.

MAY changes into MIGHT

He said, “I may buy a house”

He said that he might buy a house.

MUST changes into HAD TO

He said, “I must resign from the job”

He said that he had to resign from the job.

These Modals Do Not Change: Would, Could, Might, Should, Ought to.


She said, “she would apply for a visa”

She said that she would apply for a visa.


He said, “I could climb the ladder.”

He said that he could climb the ladder.


Tom said, “I should go to the pub.”

She said that he might help him.


She said, “I should go to the pub.”

She said that she should go to the pub.

Ought to

She said to me, “you ought to wait for her.”

She said to me that I ought to wait for her.


Changes in Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences consist any of these four: Order, request, advice and suggestion.

Mood in Direct Speech

Reporting verb in indirect verb




Requested / entreated


Advised / urged


Told, advised or forbade (No need of “not” after forbade”)




Suggested to



(If a person is addressed directly)



Changes in Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences express emotions. Interjections such as Hurrah, wow, alas, oh, ah are used to express emotions.

Rules of conversion of Exclamatory Direct Speech into Indirect Speech

  1. Exclamatory sentence changes into assertive sentence.
  2. Interjections are removed.
  3. Exclamation mark changes into full stop.
  4. Wh- words like ‘what’ and ‘how’ are removed and before the adjective of reported speech we put ‘very’.

Mood in Direct Speech

Reporting verb in indirect verb


Exclaimed with sorrow/grief/exclaimed sorrowfully or cried out


Exclaimed with joy/delight/exclaimed joyfully


Exclaimed with surprise/wonder/astonishment




Rules of conversion of Interrogative Direct Speech


Direct Speech

Indirect Speech Condition

Reporting Verb

Said/said to

Asked, enquired or demanded.


Joining clause

If sentence begins with auxiliary verb

Joining clause should be if or whether.

If Sentence begins with “wh”

No conjunction is used as “question-word” itself act as joining clause.


Question Mark

Full Stop


Sentences is expressing positive felling

Do/does is removed from sentence.


Helping Verbs

If “No’ is used in interrogative sentences

Do/does is changed into did.

Did or has/have




  1. Tom says, “I eat a mango”.

          Tom says that he eats a mango.


  1. Shiela said, “I go to the market”.

          Shiela said that she went to the market.


  1. Liz said, “I bought a purse yesterday”.

          Liz said that she had bought a purse the day before.


  1. Tom said, “I am going to church”.

          Om said that he was going to church.


  1. Sam said, “I was laying football”.

          Sam said that he had been playing football.


  1. Rita said, “I have done my homework”.

          Rita said that she had done her homework.


  1. Teacher said, “I have been reading a novel”.

          Teacher said that he had been reading a novel.


  1. Mr Wilson said, “I will go to Germany tomorrow”.

          Mr Wilson said that he would go to Germany the next day.


  1. Rashmi said, “I must go now.”

          Rashmi said that she must (or) had to go then.


  1. Tom said, “The sun rises in the East”.

          Tom said that the sun rises in the East.


  1. “I will work hard to get first class” said Liza

          Liza said she would work hard to get first class.


  1. “You can do this work easily” said Sam to Tom

          Sam told Tom that he could do that work easily.


  1. She says, “I am happy to be here this morning.”

          She says that she is happy to be there that morning.


  1. “I’m going to the gym now” said Donald

          Donald said that he was going to the gym then.


  1. “Don’t talk in the class.” Said Mr Wilson to the boys.

          Mr. Wilson advised the boys not to talk in the class.


  1. “Please give me something to eat I am hungry” the beggar said to the lady.

          The beggar requested the lady to give him something to eat and said that he was hungry.


  1. “Be careful” said the man to the servant.

          The man ordered the servant to be careful.


  1. “Bring e some juice” said Sam to Tom.

          Sam asked Tom to bring him some juice.


  1. “Won’t you help me to carry this box?” said the porter to the man.

          The porter asked the man if he would not help him to carry that box.


  1. Shiela said to Riya, “Why didn’t you attend the meeting yesterday?”

          Shiela asked Riya why she had not attended the meeting the day before.


  1. “How often do you go to the movies?” said Donald to Deb.

          Donald asked Deb how often she went to the movies.


  1. Sam said to Tom, “Do you like strawberries?”

          Sam asked Tom if he liked strawberries.


  1. “O, what a beautiful flower that is!” said Shiela.

          Shiela exclaimed joyfully that was a very beautiful flower.


  1. “What a horrible sight!” They all exclaimed.

          They all exclaimed that it was a very horrible sight.


  1. “Alas! I have lost my purse” said he.

          He exclaimed sorrowfully that he had lost his purse.


  1. “How beautiful she is!” said Sam.

          Sam exclaimed joyfully that she was very beautiful.


  1. She said, “Where is he going?”

          She asked where he was going.


  1. She said, “Shiela, when is the next train.”

          She asked Shiela when the next bus was.


  1. ‘Is anyone there?’ the beggar asked.

          The beggar asked if anyone was there.


  1. The doctor said, “Lie down, Harman.”

          The doctor asked Harman to lie down.


  1. Then magician said, “Don’t move, boys.”

          The magician asked the boys not to move.


  1. The constable said, “Please say nothing about this.”

          The constable asked him to say nothing about that.


  1. “I don’t know the way. Do you?” she asked.

          She said that she didn’t know the way and asked him if he did.


  1. The magician said, “Oh! It’s a snake. Don’t go near it, boys.”

          The magician exclaimed with disgust that it was a snake and told the boys not to go near it.


  1. “If the floods get any worse we must leave the village”, the Mayor said. (must = will have to)

          The Mayor said that if the floods got any worse they would have to leave the village.


  1. “I have just received a letter”, she said; “I must go home at once”.

          She said that she had just received a letter and would have to go home at once.


  1. “I’m off to the party. Where are you going?”

          He said that he was off to the party and wanted to know where I was going.


  1. Selena said to the neighbour, “Did you find the broom anywhere?”

          Selena asked the neighbour if she had found the broom anywhere.


  1. Teacher said to students, “Have you prepared well for the test?”

          Teacher asked students if they had prepared well for the test.


  1. Mr. Wilson said to the driver, “Can you take me to the zoo now?”

          Mr. Wilson asked the driver if he could take him to the zoo then.


  1. The policeman said to Rita, “Are you in such a hurry to ride the bike without helmet?”

          The policeman asked Rita if she was in such a hurry to ride the bike without helmet.


  1. Dilbert said to me, “why are you wasting your time?”

          Dilbert asked me why I was wasting my time.


  1. Sam said to Shiela, “when will you start from Jaipur?”

          Sam asked Shiela when she would start from Jaipur.


  1. Father said to son, “where were you this morning?”

          Father asked son where he had been that morning.


  1. The policeman said to John, “who were you waiting for?”

          The policeman asked John who he had been waiting for.