Grammar (Direct and Indirect Speech)


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In today’s English Language class, We will be learning about Direct and Indirect Speech. We hope you enjoy the class!


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A direct Speech sentence is a sentence that reports the actual utterance/statement of the speaker or writer without any alteration. A direct speech contains the exact words used by the speaker.


Features of Direct Speech

  1. After the subject (speaker) and the reporting verb, put a comma.
  2. Put quotation marks before you write the first word of his speech.
  3. Write in capital letter, the first letter of the first word of his speech.
  4. Put the appropriate punctuation mark at the end of the speech, e.g; a full-stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark.
  5. Close the speech with quotation marks


Below are examples of direct speech sentences:

Akin said, ‘I am a nice boy’.

Analysis: Akin (speaker or subject)

Said (reporting verb)

( ‘) (comes after the verb)

I am a nice boy (the exact words of Akin)

A full-stop (.) is applied because it is a complete statement.

Lastly, a quotation mark is used to close the speech.



Indirect Speech / Reported Speech

In reported speech, the exact words of the original speaker are not used. Some changes take place when giving a report using indirect speech sentence.


Features of Indirect Speech Sentences

  1. After the subject (speaker) and the reporting verb, the reported speech is introduced with the conjunction “that”, where appropriate.
  2. All the verbs in the present tense in a quotation must be changed to past tense
  3. All pronouns must be changed to the third person.
  4. All words of nearness must be changed to corresponding words of remoteness


Below are the changes in a tabular form:

Present Tense                                  Past Tense

am/ is/be                             was

will                                          would

shall                                        should

have                                      had

has                                         had



I                                               he/ she

we                                          They

can                                        could

must                                       had to


Other changes

yesterday                             the previous day / the day before

this week                              that week

next week                            the following week

here                                       there

now                                       then

today                                    that day

tomorrow                             the following / next day

ago                                        before

these                                      those

this                                          that

However, when reporting a universal truth, no changes take place in the reported speech, including the reporting verb. Also, if the reporting verb is in the present or future tense, the verb in the reported speech does not change.



Now, consider the following examples:

Direct speech: He said, ‘We have enough rooms for all of you.’

Indirect speech: The man informed us / told us that they had enough rooms for all of us.


Direct speech: Tade says, ‘We have lectures every Friday.’

Indirect speech: Tade says that they have lectures every Friday.


Direct speech: Our geography teacher said, ‘The earth is spherical’.

Indirect speech: Our geography teacher said that the earth is spherical.



Do practice exercise sixteen of English Grammar for J.S.S, page 71-72 (3 only)



Countdown English by Ogunsanwo; English Grammar by P.O Olatunbosun



Read page 70-71 of English Grammar by P.O Olatunbosun and page 93-94 of Exam Focus.



  • Change the following sentences from Direct to Indirect speech.
      1. “I am sorry, I was late,” Tolu said
      2. “I have never been here before now”
      3. “This book isn’t mine”, Kunle said.
      4. I was very ill yesterday,” John said


  • Change these sentences to Direct speech.
      1. The tutor commanded the student to stop talking.
      2. The man asked whether I could come the next day.
      3. Mother promised to see me that day.
      4. He expressed his sympathy.


WEEKEND ASSIGNMENT: Do tests for continuous assessment on pages 155&156 OF Effective English bk3 (nos 2&3)



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In our next class, we will be learning about Synonyms and Antonyms. We are very much eager to meet you there.


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