What are Direct and Indirect Speech? Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

What are Direct and Indirect Speech? Direct and Indirect Speech Examples

Direct And Indirect Speech Examples

While using English, we use direct and indirect speeches quite often. If a sentence is expressed exactly as it came out of the mouth of the person who said it, it becomes a direct speech. However Indirect Speech (also called reported speech) refers to transmitting a sentence that someone has said. It is often used in daily language.

For example,

  • Susan told me she ate pizza yesterday. (Indirect Speech)

Susan said, “I ate pizza yesterday.”. (Direct Speech)

  • Mathilda told me she had to go out. (Indirect Speech)

Mathilda said: “I have to go out.”. (Direct Speech)

  • Julie asked if the train had left when she arrived at the ticket office. (Indirect Speech)

Julie asked: “Did the train leave?” (Direct Speech)

As you can see, in English, you can convey what someone tells you directly in quotation marks or indirectly with different words, pronouns, and suffixes without quotation marks. But there are certain rules in Indirect Speech.

Rules In Indirect Speech

In the use of indirect speech, what is said should be expressed by taking time a step back. In other words, the tenses in the sentence should be used like their 1st iteration past versions. Likewise, adverbs of time and pronouns need to be adapted.

Using Tenses

The most important point to consider when converting a sentence into reported speech is the tense. When converting the sentence, you need to express it over a past tense. Whatever tense direct speech is given, indirect speech must be expressed in the past tense of it.

Direct Speech                                    Reported Speech

Present Simple                                  Past Simple

Present Continuous                        Past Continuous

Present Perfect                 Past Perfect

Past Simple                                         Past Simple/ Past Perfect

Past Continuous                               Past Continuous/ Past Perfect Continuous

Future Simple                                    Would

Using Time Expressions

Time expressions and patterns that express time in indirect expressions should change in order to maintain the integrity of meaning, just like in tenses. Otherwise, not the time period mentioned by the original owner of the sentence, but the time period meant by the narrator can be understood. This would be wrong information.

Direct Speech                                    Reported Speech

Now                                                       Then

Today                                                    That day

Tomorrow                                           The next day/ The following day

Yesterday                                            The day before/ The previous day

This                                                        That

These days                                          Last days / The previous days

Next weekend                                  The weekend after / The following weekend

Use of Pronouns

What should not be forgotten about reported speech is the basic logic of indirect speech. Since the transfer is indirect in indirect speech, personal pronouns and possessive pronouns differ from direct speech.

For example, indirect speech, the subject, which is first person singular (I) in the quoted sentence, will turn into third-person singular (he-she) in indirect speech, due to the natural flow of the language.

Just as with personal pronouns, it is the same with possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives.


  • Julia said, “I need to be on time”.
  • Julia said that she needed to be on time.
  • Jonathan said, “We don’t like that movie.”.
  • Jonathan said that they didn’t like that movie.