In many instances, we need to describe an event or action and repeat what someone said. It is possible to use such occasions for social events and work emails or presentations.
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In English, there are two methods to relay something that other people say: direct speech and reported speech. We refer to reported speech as indirect speech. Most people are familiar with using the first one; however, using reported speech can help break up the monotony.
It can also spice up your writing. In this article, we will look at these two methods in depth.
Under what circumstances should you use one or the other? How to rewrite sentences with direct speech? What are the differences between doing that with reported speech? How do we use these effectively in English?
We will answer all of these questions and more in this post. By the end of it, you will be able to use both of these methods with ease.
What Is Direct & Reported Speech?
Direct speech is one option when describing something someone said. This is when we repeat something someone says, putting it between speech marks.
This is what it sounds like. It is a form of writing that communicates the exact thoughts expressed by a person in their original condition. This text is often enclosed in quotation marks so the reader can understand that it is the actual story of the speaker.
This method is popular in newspapers, articles, and academic papers. Although we must say, paraphrasing is equally (perhaps even more) in scientific essays and academic papers. Because newspapers report a news story, they desire to accurately tell what others have said. They don’t need to tell in their own words.
We use reported speech when we want to report what someone said without speech marks or necessarily using the same words.
You should know that even though we are using our own words in method, we must stay faithful to the original. We can’t change the main idea of the thing that we are reporting on. In other words, you can’t tell a different story when you report someone else.
In the end, both of these methods are used to convey the speech that someone else gave. Both of them have their specific applications. While direct speech is easier, we tend to use reported speech more in our lives.
Now that we have an idea of what these terms are let’s look at how we use them with examples.
How to Rewrite Sentences With Direct Speech?
As mentioned above, this method doesn’t change what others have said. We tell it in its original form like we heard it.
- The mayor told the reporters, “We are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this scandal.”
- The boss asked me, “Where is Jenkins? I told him he’d be fired if he was late again to work!”
- When I asked Chris what happened, he shrugged and replied, “I don’t know.”
- The criminal gave the following statement: “I regret nothing.”
- When the judgment day came, he muttered, “I am ready.”
- She asked me the question, “When is the teacher coming?”
There are some things we should note here. Firstly, as you might have noticed, we always use the past tense when we use this method. After all, if they haven’t already said it, we can’t report on it.
We also have to put down quotation marks, as the words we are writing don’t belong to us. Therefore we must clearly state that the sentence belongs to someone else.
How to Use Reported Speech?
For non-native speakers of English, reporting speech can sometimes be difficult as we alter verbs, pronouns, and specific times. However, it is important to learn, as conveying things directly can get stale after a while.
As reported, speech usually addresses the past; we modify the verbs into the past. We have to modify the verbs when the action has ended or is not true.
There is no modification in the verbs always. It is not necessary to modify the verb tense when reporting an action that is still valid or true. If what we are reporting is in the present tense and still true, don’t make any alterations.
We do not always need to alter the verb tense when reporting actions that have already happened. The verbs are usually in the same tense, and the pronouns are changed.
Also, keep in mind that we don’t alter the infinitive form.
Here are some example sentences to clear any question you might have.
- She told me that she was pregnant.
- He said he is fifteen years old.
- The police reported that the suspect has long hair and a beard.
To Wrap Up
Now you know. When using reported speech, the speaker tells the story of what happened or what was said. In direct speech, the speaker is telling someone else what happened or what was said.
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