Direct and Indirect Narration, Basic Rules.

direct and indirect basic rules

The words of the speaker can be expressed in two ways-

The words of the speaker can be expressed in two ways-

  • By expressing the substance of the speaker’s words for the example-

Mohan said that he was going to school. [Indirect Narration or Indirect Speech.]

In the above sentence instead of saying the actual words we expressed its substance so we changed I into He and Am into Was,So it is Indirect Speech.We don’t use inverted commas in indirect speech.

Direct Narration has been divided into two parts-

  1. Reporting Clause:- The verb which introduces the reported speech and its Subject and Object is called the Reporting Clause.
  2. Reported Speech:- The exact words of the speaker which are put within inverted commas are called the reported speech.

In the above sentence, Mohan is the Subject, Said is the verb and Me is the Object of Reporting Clause  and “I am going to school.” is Reported Speech.

Some points of Direct Speech-

  1. The statement of the speaker is written in the inverted commas.
  2. After Reporting Clause we use comma [,] 
  3. The first letter of the inverted commas is Capital.

Some basic rules to change a sentence from Direct to Indirect Speech.

  1. We remove the Inverted Commas in Indirect Speech.
  2. We do not use comma after Reporting Clause.
  3. We never change the Tenses,Nearness of Time or Position and Pronoun of Reporting Clause.
  4. According to the sense of the reported speech we change the verb of reporting clause into – Told,Stated,Asked,Requested,Ordered,Exclaimed etc.
  5. We use suitable conjunction after reporting clause like,That,If,To etc.
  6. Expect I and Proper Noun the first letter of Reported Speech is written into small letters.
  7. We change the Tenses,Nearness of Time or Position and Pronoun.

We study Direct and Indirect Narration on the basis of the five kinds of the sentence-

  1. Assertive Sentences.
  2. Interrogative Sentences.
  3. Imperative Sentences.
  4. Optative Sentences.
  5. Exclamatory Sentences.

There are different rules for all the sentences. We can not change a sentence into indirect speech without recognising the type of the sentence.

Rule for the changing Tenses in the Indirect Speech.

  1. If the Reporting Verb is in the Present or Future Tense we do not change the Tense of the Reported Speech.

Examples:-

  1. He says,”They are reading.” [Direct]
  • He says that they are reading. [Indirect]
  1. She will say,”Meera is very beautiful.” [Direct]
  • She will say that Meera is very beautiful.[Indirect]

If the Reporting Verb is in the Past Tense we change the Tense of the Reported Speech according to the following rules-

Tense of The Direct Speech Tense of The Indirect Speech
Present Indefinite Tense.Past Indefinite Tense.
Present Continuous TensePast Continuous Tense
Present Perfect TensePast Perfect Tense
Present Perfect Continuous TensePast Perfect Continuous Tense
Past Indefinite Tense.Past Perfect Tense
Past Continuous TensePast Perfect Continuous Tense
Past Perfect TenseNo Change 
Past Perfect Continuous TenseNo Change
Will,Shall Would,Should
Can Could
May Might 
Must,Ought No Change
Could,MIght,Should,Would,Had betterNo Change

Exception

There are some exceptions,in the following cases we do not change the Tense of Reported Speech even if the Reporting Verb is in the Past Tense.

  1. When there is a Universal Truth.

Example:- The teacher said,”The earth moves round the sun.”

                  The teacher said that the earth moves round the sun.

  1.  When there is a Habitual Fact.

Example:- My father said to me,”The dogs bark at strangers.”

                 My father told me that the dogs bark at strangers.

  1.  When there is a Proverb.

Example:- My mother said,”Honesty is the best policy.”

                 My mother said that honesty is the best policy.

  1.  When there is a Historical Fact.

Example:- They said to us,”Kalidas is called the Shakespeare of India.”

                 They told us that Kalidas is called the Shakespeare of India.

  1. When there is a Theory.

Example:- The teacher said,”Two and two make four.”

                 The teacher said that two and two make four.

RULES FOR CHANGE OF WORDS EXPRESSING NEARNESS OF TIME OR POSITION.

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
AgoBefore 
Come Go 
Hence Thence 
Hither Thither 
Here There 
Thus So 
Now Then 
This That 
These Those 
Today That day 
Tonight That night 
Tomorrow The next day 
Yesterday The previous day 
Last Night/Week/YearThe previous Night/Week/Year
Next Month/Week/YearThe following Month/Week/Year
Yesterday Morning The previous morning

RULES FOR THE CHANGE OF PERSON.

While changing a sentence from Direct to Indirect we change the Person of the Direct Speech according to the below rules-

PersonSubjective FormObjective FormPossessive Form
First PersonI,WeMe,UsMy,Mine,Our,Ours
Second PersonYouYou Your,Yours
Third PersonHe,She,They,It etcHim,Her,Them,It etcHis,Hers,Their,Its etc
  1. While changing a sentence from Direct to Indirect we change the First Persons Pronoun of Reported Speech according to the Person,Number,and Gender of the Subject of Reporting Clause.

Example

  1. He said to me,”I am reading grammar.”
  • He told us that he was reading grammar.
  1. They said to Mohan,”We are busy now.”
  • They told Mohan that they were busy then.

We can see in the above examples I and We are the subjective form of the  first person and they are changed according to the Subject of the Reporting clause which is third person [He and They] so the Subjective form of the Third Person He and They are written in place of I and We.

  1.  We change the Second Persons Pronoun of Reported Speech according to the Person,Number,and Gender of the Object of Reporting Clause.

Example-

  1. Neha said to Riya,”You are looking very beautiful.”
  • Neha told Riya that she was looking very beautiful.

We can see in the above example You is the subjective form of the  Second Person and it is changed according to the Object of the Reporting Clause which is third person [Riya] So the Subjective form of the Third Person She is written in place of You.

  • Sometimes there is no Object in reporting clause in such cases we use third person to change the Second Persons Pronoun of Reported Speech.

Example-

  1.  The man said,”You should read it.”
  • The man told him that he should work hard.
  1. We do not change the Third Person of Reported Speech.

Examples- 

  1. They said to me,”He is coming today.”
  • They told me that he was coming that day.

We see in the above example that He is not changed because it is Third Person.

Content Writer– Mohammad Anas.….. Edited by– Shadab Akhtar.

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