In the direct speech the actual words of the speaker go straight to the ears of the listener.
Example: Oshin said to her brother, “You are an excellent boy.”



In the indirect speech a report of the speaker’s words go indirectly to the ears of the listener.

Example: Oshin said to her brother that he was an excellent boy.
Structure: Direct speech
It is in two parts:the reporting part and the reported part. Both parts are independent clauses.
Example: Sherina says,
(Reporting part)
“I have total self-confidence”
(Reporting part)

Indirect speech

It has two parts: an introducing part and a reported part. The introducing part is an independent clause while the reported part is either a dependent clause or a phrase.


Introducing part Reported part
Sherina says
(Introducing part)
that she has total self-confidence
(Reported part)
Daisy told her daughter
Introducing part)
to water the plants.
(Reported part)

Things to remember

1.When we report a direct speech in the indirect form, we make use of certain verbs to introduce the reported part of our sentence.


Ashwin said to his brother, “I’ll meet you tomorrow”
Ashwin told his brother that he would meet him the next day.
Gowri said to me, “Should you drink so much coffee as you do?”
Gowri asked me if I should drink so much coffee as I did.

Some useful introducing verbs

Introducing verbs Say
When to use them to report a statement
Illustration Successful people say that they work very hard.
Oshin said that she enjoyed her work.
Introducing verb tell = say to
When to use them to report a statement
Illustration Oshin told her mother that she would do all the work.
Introducing verb told=said to
When to use them imperatives when the reporting verb is followed by an immediate object.
Illustration The teacher told the children to be cheerful.
I told my sister not to worry.
Introducing verbs declare = formally announce
When to use them to report statements
Illustration Chandrika declared that the war was over.
Metha declared that he was innocent.
Introducing verb announce = make known publicly.
When to use them to report statements
Illustration The Prime Minister announced that the elections to the panchayat will be held soon.
Introducing verb State = express in spoken or written words.
When to use them to report statements
Illustration Arul stated that they should start early.
Introducing verb advise
When to use them to report certain statements/pieces of advice
Illustration Arul advised his friends that they should start early.
Arul advised his friends to start early.
Introducing verb Order
When to use them to report certain statements/orders or commands
Illustration the judge ordered that the prisoner should be remanded. We ordered them to leave immediately.
Introducing verb Command
When to use them to report certain statements/commands or orders
Illustration Khomeini has ordered that all the copies of Rushdie’s book must be burnt.
The captain ordered his men to fire.
Introducing verb ask
When to use them to report direct and indirect questions
Illustration The students asked the teachers what to do next.
I asked my uncle if I could use his telephone.
Introducing verb request
When to use them to report a request
Illustration Mrs. Prakash requested her husband to help her.
I requested my friends not to drink.
Introducing verb enquire
When to use them to report certain questions
Illustration She enquired me whether I wished to continue there.
I enquired my master how to make the engine work.
Introducing verb reply
When to use them to report a statement to make an answer
Illustration He replied that he was busy.
She replied that her name was not Sundari.

When we convert direct speech sentences into indirect speech reports, the first and second person pronouns of the reported part assume their corresponding forms in the reporting part.


a) I said to you, “I can’t come out”.
I told you that I could not come out.
b) Krishna said to Mary, “I like your pleasant manners”
Krishna told Mary that he liked her pleasant manners.
c) She said to them, “What are you doing here?”
She asked them what they were doing there.
d) Vimala said to her son, “You should get up earlier”.
Vimala told her son that he should get up earlier.

When the reporting verb is in the past tense the tense form of the reported verb changes as follows:

Direct Indirect
Simple present Simple past
Present continuous past continuous
Present perfect past perfect
Past simple Past perfect/past simple
Past perfect past perfect

Example: Direct

1.Suguna said, “It is my birthday.
2. My brother told me, “Your friend is waiting at the gate”.
3. The inspector said, “Amir has told us the truth.”
4. Regu said “I finished my work in time.”
5. Regu said, “I had finished my prayer before breakfast”


1. Suguna said that it was her birthday.
2. My brother told me that my friend was waiting at the gate.
3. The inspector said that Amir had told them the truth.
4. Regu said that he had finished his work in time.
5. Regu said that he had finished his prayer before breakfast

When the reporting verb is in the present tense form the reported verb doesn’t undergo change.



1. The Science Master says, “Dogs have a very acute sense of smell”
2. Murthi says, “ I believe in God”
3. Successful people say, “Love is one of our most essential needs”
4. Our teacher often tells us, “Whenever you hurt somebody you hurt yourselves”


1. The Science Master says that dogs have a very acute sense of smell.
2. Murthi says that he believes in God.
3. Successful people say that love is one of their most essential needs.
4. Our teacher often tells us whenever we hurt somebody we hurt ourselves.

When the statement is believed to be a general truth valid at all times, change of tense is optional.


1. Socrates said, “Nothing can harm a good man”.
2. Buddha said, “Greed leads to misery”


1. Socrates said that nothing could harm a good man.
Socrates said that nothing can harm a good man.
2. Buddha said that greed led to misery.
Buddha said that greed leads to misery.

Certain time expressions of the direct speech are adjusted in the indirect speech as follows.

Direct Indirect
Today That day
Tomorrow The next day
The following day
Next week The following week
Yesterday The previous day
The day before
Last night The previous night
Ago before
Now Then
This That
It It/that
These Those
Here There
Thus so

Part A
Please read

1. James said, “I like roses for their smell”.
2. James says, “I like roses for their smell”.
3. Arasi said,” It is my birthday”
4. The Principal says, “The staff council meets once a month”.


1. James said that he liked roses for their smell.
2. James says that he likes roses for their smell.
3. Arasi said that it was her birthday.
4. The Principal says that the staff council meets once a month.


Change into indirect speech:

1. My father said to me, “You have to work hard”.
2. Sivakamy said, “It is my birthday”.
3. She told me, “We always have breakfast at eight o’clock”.
4. “There have been too many road accidents lately”, states the report.
5. The evening news paper says, “Something must be done to motivate our people to work hard”.
6. Vimala says, “I usually have bread and butter on Sundays”.
7. Fatima said, “My children haven’t been to the seaside for five years”.
8. Srinivasan regrets, “I don’t earn enough to feed my wife and children”.
9. The newspapers say, “An important person has died”.
10. The gardener told me, “ I have never heard such nonsense.”
11. The teacher said to his students, “You are quite right in what you say”.
12. “Mr. Trueman is going to be the next Prime Minister”, People say.
13. Murugan and Mary regret, “We can’t afford a long holiday”.
14. Ganga said to Anand, “I will do everything I can to help your children”.
15. My son informs me, “There will be an elocution contest tomorrow”.
16. Mrs. Rani Ahmed said to her son, “Your teacher says you must pay more attention to your lessons”
17. Murali’s daughter often says to him, “I must have a little more pocket money”
18. My teacher often reminds me, “You ought to have your hair cut”.
19. The manager said to the typist, “You can’t go out until you have typed all the letters”.
20. Velamma said, “I’m very busy today”.

Please read:

Direct Questions


1. I said to my mother, “What have you bought for Gita’s birthday?”
2. Nazima said, “Siva, when did you buy your new car?”
3. The customer asked the shopkeeper, “How much should I pay for this tape – recorder?”


1. I asked my mother what she had bought for Gita’s birthday
2. Nazima asked Siva when he bought his new car.
3. The customer asked the shopkeeper how much he should pay for that tape recorder.

Exercise: Change in to indirect speech

1. Mrs. Dhas said to her daughter, ” What are you doing there, Viji?”
2. Anand asked Usha, “When will you return my VCP?”
3. I asked Jane, “Where have you left you bicycle?”
4. She said to her children, “Where did you go? I couldn’t see you anywhere”.
5. The manager said to his P.A, “Why don’t you get up a little earlier?”
6. Father enquired, “Whose book has Betty borrowed?”
7. She asked her friend, “Whom did you meet at the library yesterday?”
8. Vasu said to Begum, “Whose of these books have you read?”
9. My friend enquired, “Which of these books have you read?”
10. They asked the receptionist, “How much should we pay for a day in your lodge?”
11. “Whose hat is on the table?” said Minu to Rini.
12. Sivaram asked his wife, “Mary, what are you going to prepare for dinner?”
13. They said to Mary, “Why haven’t you written to us for such a long time?”
14. “How many students have passed the examination?”a parent asked.
15. My father said to me, “Who are those boys?”
16. “What will happen if you don’t work hard?”, asked my mom.
17. “Whose books have you borrowed,” enquired the teacher.
18. “Where is the railway station?” asked the stranger.
19. The shop keeper said to the customer, ”When will you settle the account?”
20. The counselor asked the client, “Who is responsible for your failures?”

Part A
Please read
Indirect Questions

1. John said to Meena, “Do you know where whales live?”
2. The tourist asked, ”Does this bus go to the museum?”
3. “Was the money paid to you without delay?” she asked.
4. “Are you happy?” asked Rogers.


1. John asked Meena if she knew where whales lived.
2. The tourist asked me if that bus went to the museum.
3. She asked me if the money had been paid to me without delay.
4. Rogers asked me if I was happy.

Part B
Please write
Change into indirect speech:-

1. The science master asked the principal, “Are these new plans for the laboratory?”
2. “Am I to stand here all day waiting for the guests?” asked grandpa.
3. “Was the salary paid to you without delay?” he asked his assistant.
4. “Will you be free on the nineteenth?” I asked my boss.
5. My mother said to my sister, “Are you going to invite your friend for lunch?”
6. “Shall we be able to have a holiday this summer?” we wondered.
7. Barbara said to a passenger, “Would you mind sitting on the other chair?”
8. “Must a policeman always wear uniform?” asked little jack.
9. “Did the doctor give you any medicine?” said Mary to her husband.
10. The farmer said to the engineer, “Can one tractor do as much as ten oxen?”
11. She said, “Is the official language English?”
12. I asked the tourists, “Did you have a good time on the hills?”
13. The pastor said to the bride, “Have you seen your fiancé?”
14. My mother said, “Can you take me to hospital?”
15. We asked Armstrong, “Will you take us to the moon?”
16. My cousin asked me, “Do I look like a film star?”
17. Sheela asks her son, “Do you love travelling with friends?”
18. Naveen said to her, “Have you ever visited Amarnath?”
19. He said to Priya, “Are you interested in politics?”
20. “Can you do this experiment yourself?”

Drill 4

Commands and requests


1. The manager said to the peon, “Go away”.
2. The captain said to the soldiers, “Advance”.
3. Sheela said to her friends, “Don’t disturb me”
4. The old lady said to the porter “Help me across the street, please”.


1. The manager ordered the peon to go away.
2. The captain commanded the soldiers to advance.
3. Sheela told her friends not to disturb her.
4. The old lady requested the porter to help her across the street.

Part B
Please write
Change into indirect speech

1. My mother said, “Children, be quiet”.
2. The Inspector said to the robbers, “Put your hands up”
3. She warned us, “Mind your business”.
4. My teacher told me, “Write it again”.
5. The old lady said to us, “Don’t smoke in this room, please”.
6. “Sit here, please, “said the receptionist.
7. Vasanthi said to her friends, “Come to my birthday party, please”.
8. Mrs. Janaki Dhas said to her children, “Don’t sit on the wet grass”.
9. My mother reminded me, “Don’t go to interview without a pen and paper”.
10. Our teacher said to us, “Finish this exercise now”.
11. “Do as I command you,” said the officer to his men.
12. The pirate chief said to his men, “Obey”
13. He said to her, “Stop crying”.
14. The teacher said, “Mary, open the door please”.
15. “Call the second witness, please, “said the magistrate.
16. Dr. David said to us, “Don’t ring up after 11, please”.
17. “You sit down”, said the teacher.
18. The chief said to his the teacher, “ Please attend my marriage”.
19. Lefty said to his friend, “Be careful. Don’t be in a hurry”.
20. The old man said to his grand children, “Stop it and leave the room”.

Part A Please read
Lesson 2

Drill 5

Exclamatory Sentences


1. Sundari said, “What a lovely view!”
2. “How kind of you to help me!” said the visitor.


1. Sundari exclaimed that it was very lovely view.
2. The visitor exclaimed that it was a very kind of him to help her.


Change into indirect speech

1. The nurse said, “How dirty the child is!”
2. The mother said, “How pale my child looks!”
3. “How he snores!” said the wife.
4. The drunkard’s wife said, “Oh, how horrible”
5. “What a beautiful rose!” said Sweety!
6. The old lady said, “What a terrible noise!”
7. Edison said, “What a good idea!”
8. The tourists said looking at the fish, “What a big fish!”
9. Sumitha said, “What a beautiful flower!”
10. She said, “What a sweet voice!”
11. The tourists said, “What a happy company!”
12. “What an entertaining dinner!”, said the chief guest.
13. They said, “What a pleasant afternoon!”
14. The mother said, “What a long time the child cried!”
15. The nurse said, “How long the patient struggled!”
16. He said, “How pleasant your manners are!”
17. She said, “What a fuss Gita made!”
18. He said, ”What a fuss Gita made!”
19. Dhanu said, “What lovely flowers!”
20. They said, “How cold it is!”

Drill 6

Part A Please read
Indirect to Direct

1. Our teacher said that in many species of animals the young animal looked nothing like its parents.
2. Gowri told me that she liked things which could last long.


1. Our teacher said, “In many species of animals the young animal looks nothing like its parents”.
2. Gowri said to me, “I like things which can last long”.

Drill 7

Indirect to Direct
Part A
Please read
Direct Questions

1. The teacher asked the students when the very first flight in the history of man was made.
2. Yashpal asked me how people flew between 1783 and 1852.


1. The teacher said to the students, “When was the very first flight in the history of man made?”
2. Yashpal said. “How did people fly between 1783 and 1852?”

Part B
Please write
Change into direct

1. Edgar asked his son what man flew in before he flew in a helicopter.
2. Molly asked her students when the helicopter came into the history of flying.
3. Edmund asked his child why people preferred aero planes
4. Kitty asked her mother how she managed to buy a 747 jumbo jet.
5. Anthony asked Bill how much he paid for the helicopter.
6. Nalini enquired what time the train would move.
7. My father asked me whom I had met at the party.
8. The reporter enquired which car had won the race.
9. The visitor asked my children how they made an omelet.
10. I asked my students how often they cleaned their shoes.
11. The chief guest asked us who cooked the meat.
12. Students asked their principal who their Hindi teacher was.
13. The doctor asked their patient how tall she was.
14. I asked Susan where she lived.
15. The villagers asked the shepherd boy why he shouted.

Drill 8

Indirect to Direct

Part A
Please read
Indirect questions

1. My uncle asked me if birds could talk.
2. Carl asked Robin whether water was an element by itself. 3. Linda asked Lisa whether she liked natural silk.


1. My uncle said, “Can birds talk?”
2. Carl said to Robin, “Is water an element by itself?”
3. Linda said to Lisa, “Do you like natural silk?”

Part B
Please write
Change into direct speech.

1. Mandy asked her master if he was going to teach her how pollution spoiled the environment.
2. Clement asked his students whether they had understood his talk on pollution.
3. Bryan asked Lucy if she knew anything about pollution of water
4. Gene asked her father if the world was a safe place for children.
5. Eric asks us whether we are willing to join his Clean Environment Society.

Drill 9


1. Felix ordered his men to obey.
2. Mabel commanded the army to stop fighting.
3. Clifford ordered his assistants to be punctual.


1. Felix said to his men, “Obey”.,
2. Mabel said to the army, “Stop fighting”.
3. Clifford said to his assistants,” Be punctual”

Part B
Please write
Change into direct

1.Frank commanded the militants to surrender.
2.The hijackers ordered the pilot to take off.
3.She commanded the naughty children to be quiet.
4.My mother ordered us not to open any windows.
5.The scout master commanded the boys to march.

Drill – 10
Indirect to Direct

Part A
Please read

1. Sandra requested Bob to fill in that application form.
2. Lucia requested her son not to smoke.

Part B
Please write
Change into direct

1. The girl requested the manager to issue her a new cheque book.
2. Shirley requested Sophie not to drive too fast.
3. The mechanic requested the driver not to smoke near the petrol pump.
4. Ruth requested her teacher to read the last sentence again.
5. My aunt requested me to help her to move the piano.

Drill – 11

Indirect to Direct
Part A
Please read

1. The teacher advised Juliet to read that book.
2. The nurse advised the patient to stay in bed.
3. I advised Livia to see a doctor.


1. The teacher said to Juliet, “Read this book”
2. The nurse said to the patient, “Stay in bed.”
3. I said to Livia, “See a doctor.”

Part B
Please write
Change into direct

1. The teacher advised her students not to waste time.
2. Jenifer advised her juniors to answer all the questions.
3. The doctor advised me a rest.
4. Felix advised his daughter to take her medicine regularly.
5. My aunt advised my uncle not to drive too close to the car in front.

Drill 12

Indirect to Direct

Part A Please read listen

1. Lydia suggested buying some fish and making their own curry.
2. Bruce suggested that they should not waste time waiting for VIPs.


1. Lydia said, “Let’s buy some fish and make our own curry”.
2. Bruce said, “Let’s not waste time waiting for VIP”.

Part B
Please write
Change into direct.

1. He suggested taking the children to the zoo.
2. She suggested a walk.
3. But I suggested that we should look for a taxi.
4. Rita suggested leaving that wrecked car there.
5. Anne suggested that they should give a party to all their employees.

Drill – 13



1. Susan exclaimed that it was very cold.
2. Boris exclaimed that Nazia sand very beautifully.
3. Alvin exclaimed that she made much fuss.


1. Susan said, “How cold it is”
2. Boris said, “How beautifully Nazia sings!”
3. Alvin said “What a fuss she made!”

Part B

Please write

Change into direct

1. Laura exclaimed that they were very lovely flowers
2. The fisherman exclaimed that it was a very big fish.
3. The teacher exclaimed that Gary was a very rude boy.
4. Nirmala exclaimed that it was an awful experience.
5. Jimmy exclaimed that it was very bitter.

Drill 14

Mixed sentences


1. Ginny said, “I like roses. Mummy, give me a rose, please”.
2. “Where is today’s paper?” said grandpa. “I want to see the election results.”
3. “What a spicy meal!” said Edna “Can I eat now?”
4. “Breakfast is ready. Hurry up. What are you doing there Emma?” said Dick.


1. Ginny said that she liked roses and requested her mummy to give her a rose.
2. Grandpa asked me where that day’s paper was and said that he wanted to see the election results.
3. Edna exclaimed that it was a very spicy meal and asked me if she could eat then.
4. Dick said that breakfast was ready and told Emma to hurry up and asked her what she was doing there.

Part B

Please write

Change into indirect

1. “Don’t worry about a few mistakes, “said the teacher, “Everybody makes mistakes. But you must learn from your mistakes”
2. Duncan said to the shop-keeper, “Can I get a candle, sir? “Please go to the next shop. We don’t sell candles here,” relied the shop-keeper.
3. My mother said to my father, “You woke everyone up last night. Try to be back home little earlier.”
4. “The coffee is very cold”, Complained Mr. Enoch. “If you want hot coffee, make it yourself” replied Mrs. Enoch.
5. I said to the tourist, “Where are you staying?” Guide me to a good hotel, please”, said the tourist.
6. Sara said, “Eugene, how long will you be in Madurai?’
7. “I’d like a single room, please”, said the tourist. “Do you want a room with a bath?” said the receptionist.
8. Chuck said, “Daddy, what time is it now?” “Look at the clock, dear”.
9. “Shall I meet the manager tomorrow?” I said.
10. “I’d rather you met him today” said Sally.
11. “It’s your turn to baby-sit tonight”, Gary told his wife.
12. “I can’t. I baby-sat last night and the night before”.

Drill 15

Indirect to Direct

Mixed sentences


1. Indira exclaimed that the mango was very sweet and requested me to give her one more.
2. Nora exclaimed that it was a very strange village and asked how anyone could live there.
3. I told Nora that it was the world she was born to live in and advised her to learn to live every moment well.


1. “How sweet the mango is!”, Said Indira. “Please give me one more”
2. Nora said, “What a strange village? How could anyone live here?
3. “This is the world you are born to live in, Nora. Learn to live every moment well,” said I.

Change into direct

1. Mary complained to me that her car won’t start. I asked her why she didn’t sell the old car and buy a new one.
2. The mechanic told me to press the button ‘s’ to start the engine and advised me not to press it hard.
3. My father told me that he had run out of stamps and asked me if I had any.
4. My children requested me to narrate stories and said that they felt enlightened by my stories.
5. Suresh asked me if I was surprised to see him and told me he returned from New York the previous day.
6. Ruth said to her mummy that she had an appointment then. Her mummy advised her not be in a hurry.
7. The customer asked the shop-keeper how much the potatoes cost. The shopkeeper replied that they were five rupees a kilo.
8. The conductor asked the passenger if she had got any change. The passenger said she was very sorry.
9. Susi requested the page to give her a ham sandwich. The page advised her to go to a non-vegetarian hotel.
10. I asked the new executive how he found the new job. He said he was going to quit the job.
11. Our students asked the guide what a boat house was. He explained to them that a boat house was building for storing boats.
12. I asked one of my students what a houseboat was. He said that a houseboat was kind of boat where people can live in.
13. Once a teacher asked her children what came first the chicken or the egg. The children replied that both came together.
14. I asked Jane if she had cleaned her car. She said that she was going to clean it.
15. Nandini sang a song. Meena exclaimed that it was very sweet.

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