Direct and Indirect Speech English Grammar


Class: Basic 5


Subject: English Grammar


Topic: Direct and Indirect Speech.


A direct speech involves the actual words used by a speaker. The exact words spoken are marked in quotation marks (inverted commas ” ”).

For examples:

Kofi said, ‘I want to eat rice.’

Sam said, ‘We are tired.’

‘I am the messenger of the powerful mermaid,’ he said.


Indirect Speech is also known as reported speech. It is formed by repeating what the speaker has said. In this case, quotation marks are not used and the introduction of the conjunction, ‘that’. But sometimes other words such as : asked, told ordered can be used. For examples:

Kofi said that he wanted to eat rice.

Sam said that they were tired.

He said that he was the messenger of the powerful mermaid.


Many changes take place when a direct speech is turned into an Indirect Speech.


1. Changes in tense usually take place; for example a simple present tense changes to simple past tense, present continuous to past continuous, etc.


2. Removal of quotation marks.


3. Introduction of the conjunction ‘that’, after said.


4. Some common rules should also be followed:

Today becomes that day;

Tomorrow becomes the next day or the following day;

Last week becomes the previous week.


5. Changes in the pronouns:

I becomes he or she;

We becomes they;

Me becomes him or her;

Mine becomes his or hers

He or she becomes they.


Review questions:


1. Change from direct to Indirect Speech.


a) Jane said, “I have paid my school fees.”



b) “Nigeria is in West Africa,” the teacher said.



c) “Have you seen the head teacher?” Justina asked Stella.




2.) Change from Indirect to direct speech.


a.) The man said that he was traveling that day.



b.) Tope said that she was hungry.


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