Difference Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 02, 2023

       

Difference Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech

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Introduction

There are various ways through which we convey our thoughts or views to another person. However, in English morphology, these ways are divided into two – direct speech and indirect speech. Rather than jumping to their meanings, let us take it slowly and first understand the general meaning of “speech.”  Speech is the ability to express our views and opinions to the audience verbally. A political leader giving a speech at his rally is a mode through which he conveys to the public the fulfillment of the promises made by him, provided he wins the elections.

Now coming towards direct speech and indirect speech. The word “direct” means “straightforward or express” while the word “indirect” means “implied.” When we report what a person has said in the words of the original speaker, it is called “direct speech.” On the other hand, when we paraphrase that person’s saying into our own words and then convey it to a third person, it is called “indirect speech.”

Let us take an example:

Swathi said, “I will not go to school tomorrow.” This is an example of direct speech. But if I want to convey the same thing to any third party, the use of words will not be the same. The indirect speech will be as follows:

Swathi said that she would not go to school the following day.

Here, in both cases, the reporting or the introductory verb is “said.”

Direct Speech vs. Indirect Speech

The key difference between direct and indirect speech is that direct speech includes the usage of the same words spoken by the original speaker while conveying them to the third person. In the case of an indirect speech, the words are framed by the speaker while conveying it to the third person.

In basic words, the repetition of the words said by someone is direct speech, and reporting those words to another is indirect speech. Both represent the mode of narrating a particular situation or expression. Out of the two, the type which is mostly used by the narrators and authors is direct speech and the reason behind this is, the readers getting fascinated by the style of writing. on the contrary, the style of indirect speech focuses more on providing the summary of a particular expression or verse, plus is easy to read and understand.

Difference Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonDirect SpeechIndirect Speech
DefinitionDirect speech includes the exact words spoken by the original speaker.Indirect speech includes the paraphrased words used by the speaker to report in the third person what the original speaker said.
SynonymDirect speech is also known as “quoted speech.”Indirect speech is also known as “reported speech.”
Quotation MarksIn direct speech, the words of the speaker are enclosed within quotation marks or inverted commas (“…”).In indirect speech, there is no use of inverted commas or quotation marks.
ConjunctionNo conjunction is used in direct speech.To convert a direct speech into an indirect speech, the conjunction “that” or “if” are used. No comma is used to separate the indirect speech from the sentence.
StructureThe first word within the quotation mark of the direct speech starts with a capital letter.It is not required in the case of indirect speech as it is a reporting sentence.
Reporting VerbIn direct speech, the use of reporting verb “said” exists.In indirect speech, the sentence includes a reporting verb. The reporting verbs include told, said, asked, replied, etc.
End of the SpeechThe direct speech may end with a full stop, comma, question mark, or exclamation mark.The indirect speech always ends either with a comma or a full stop.
RuleIn a direct speech, it is a rule that the full stop is always put within the inverted commas (“.”)There is no such case in an indirect speech.
Place of reporting verb and speaker’s nameIn the case of a direct speech, either the reporting verb or the speaker’s name can be placed before the spoken words or after them.Example:Shreya said, “I am playing badminton now.” “I am playing badminton now,” Shreya said.There is no rule regarding the placing of reporting verb and speaker’s name in case of an indirect speech.
Rules while converting the direct speech into an indirect speech or vice-versaWhile converting an indirect speech into a direct one, the use of quotation marks, full stops or question marks, or exclamation marks (depending on the type of sentence), takes place.When a direct speech is converted into an indirect speech, tenses, pronouns, and words denoting the nearness of time are changed.
ImportanceDirect speech is mostly used by novelists, authors, and narrators in their works. The style attracts more readers and they seem to get more indulged in those stories or screenplays.Indirect speech is very different from direct speech. It provides a summary of the work to the audience in the words of the speaker itself. A plus point of an indirect speech is that it is easy to understand.
ExampleShreya said to me, “I am playing badminton now.”Shreya told me that she was playing badminton then.In the above example: “Said to” converted into “Told”“That” is used as a reporting verb“I” converted into “She” (Pronoun)“Am” converted into “Was” (Verb)“Now” converted into ‘Then” (Words denoting time)

What is Direct Speech?

A type of narration where the exact words spoken by the original speaker are stated as they are. No changes are made while conveying it to the audience. A direct speech is also known as “quoted speech.”

Points to Remember:

  • The words of the speaker are stated as they were expressed.
  • The speech always starts with a capital letter.
  • Quotation marks or inverted commas are used.
  • The comma is put after the introductory or reporting verb.
  • A direct speech ends with a full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark.
  • There is no change in pronouns, tenses, or words which denote the nearness of time or place.
  • While using direct speech in any work (novel, screenplay, choreography, etc.), the speech of every character starts on a new line.

Composition of Direct Speech

Direct Speech consists of two parts:

  1. The speech
  2. The style of the speaker introducing it

It does not matter in what sequence it is written. What matter is that both are included and the meaning of either sequence is identical.

Purpose of Direct Speech

Direct Speech is mostly used by authors or narrators while writing their works. This style of narration is usually opted to depict or display a fictional scene in detail so that the audience can feel the same emotion felt by the author while writing it. Another reason is to get more views and appreciation from the readers.

Not only in novels or books but also in newspapers, the statement given by any leader or officer is written in the form of quoted speech. This is done to avoid any ambiguity about that particular statement and to emphasize a specific point through it.

Examples:

  1. The weather forecast said, “It may rain in the evening.”
  2. She said to me, “Who teaches you English?”
  3. Muskan said, “I have been studying since morning.”
  4. She said, “I will meet my aunt today.”

What is Indirect Speech?

A type of narration where the exact words of the original speaker are not used for conveying it to the third person. While conveying the speech in an indirect, various changes take place. An indirect speech is also known as “reported speech” as we report about a situation or a statement given by one party to another party. The person paraphrasing the words of the original speaker and then conveying it to the third person may be called an “intermediary.”

Points to Remember:

  • The words of the speaker are conveyed by the “intermediary” in their own words.
  • No quotation marks or inverted commas are required.
  • The use of conjunctions exists to join the indirect speech with the rest of the sentence.
  • A reporting verb is required.
  • An indirect speech always ends with either a full stop or a comma.
  • While converting a direct speech into an indirect one, change in tenses, pronouns and words denoting nearness of time or place takes place.

Examples:

  1. The weather forecast said that it might rain in the evening.
  2. She asked me who taught me English.
  3. Muskan said that she had been studying since morning.
  4. She said that she would meet her aunt that day.

Rules Regarding the Conversion of Direct Speech into an Indirect Speech

Tenses

  1. In the case of present or future tense, no change of verb occurs in the indirect speech.
  2. When the reporting verb is in the past tense, the indirect speech is changed to the past tense.
  3. The simple present tense is changed to simple past tense.
  4. The present continuous tense changes to the past continuous.
  5. The present perfect tense changes to the past perfect.
  6. The simple past tense changes to past perfect.
  7. The past continuous tense changes to past perfect continuous.

Pronouns

  1. The personal pronouns (he, she, I, we, you, they) changes to possessive pronouns (his, hers, ours, mine, yours).
  2. Pronouns of the second person (you) change according to the object of the reporting verb.
  3. Pronouns of a third person (he, she, they, it) do not change.

Words Denoting Nearness of Time or Place

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
tomorrowthe following day
yesterdaythe previous day
tonighttonight
thisthat
thesethose
next daythe following day
last weekthe previous week
agobefore
herethere
nowthen
todaythat day

Modals

  1. “shall” changes to “should”
  2. “Will” changes to “would”
  3. “may” changes to “might”
  4. “can” changes to “could”

Interrogative Sentences

  1. In interrogative sentences, “if” is used as the reporting verb instead of “that.”
  2. The helping verb is placed after the subject to convert the interrogative sentence into an assertive one.

Universal Truth or Habitual Fact remains unchanged.

For instance, Professor said to the students, “The planets revolve around the Sun.” (Direct Speech)

Professor told the students that the planets revolve around the Sun. (Indirect Speech)

Main Differences Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech in Points

  • A Direct Speech denotes the statement delivered at the present period while an Indirect Speech denotes what has already happened in past and is being conveyed to the third person.
  • A Direct Speech states the exact words of the speaker while an Indirect Speech consists of the summary of the speaker’s statement in one’s own words.
  • Inverted commas or quotation marks are used to denote Direct Speech while no quotation marks are used to represent Indirect Speech.
  • The usage of direct speech can be seen in novels, books, newspapers, and other works of fiction while the use of indirect speech can be seen during the formation of a summary of a particular work.
  • A direct speech starts with a capital letter and ends with a comma, question mark, exclamation mark, or a full stop. While, in the case of an indirect speech, the statement always ends with a full stop.
  • In the case of direct speech, the reporting verb is independent of the subject matter of the sentence while in the case of indirect speech, the reporting verb decides the changes in the subject matter of the sentence.
  • The use of conjunction does not matter in direct speech while in indirect speech, the use of “that’ or “if” joins the sentence with the reporting verb.

Conclusion

Both direct speech and indirect speech are contrary to each other. Where direct speech includes the exact words of the speaker, indirect speech, does not include the exact words. Where the former type of speech,  states the same words and involves no changes, the latter type, goes through changes during conversion.

Even though both are different, direct speech and indirect speech are the only way through which we can narrate the statements. Both are significant. Direct speech is used in all types of fictional works and articles in newspapers, and indirect speech summarizes any conversation or statements of a specific work.

References

  • Jiwan Books International (P) Ltd.
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-indirect-speech-1691058
  • https://royalediting.com/important-difference-between-direct-and-indirect-speech
  • https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/reported-speech-and-direct-speech

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"Difference Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-direct-speech-and-indirect-speech>.



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