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Direct vs. Reported Speech

Direct and reported speech are two different ways to say what someone else said.

In direct speech, we quote the exact words that a person said. We put quotation marks around their words and add a speech tag such as "he said" or "she asked" before or after the quote. For example:

"Are you free tonight?" she asked.
"I failed a test last week," she said.
He asked, "Have you seen any good movies lately?"

We can also use direct speech to say what someone is saying right now, as in: She says, "Hurry up."

Reported speech is another way of saying what someone said, but without quotation marks. Reported speech doesn't usually repeat the words exactly as the person said them. It typically changes the tense of the verbs. For example, if the speaker used a present tense verb, we change it to the past tense. If the speaker used a past tense verb, we change it to past perfect. We also change pronouns and time expressions.

See how the quotations given in direct speech above look in reported speech. Notice the changes in verb tense:

She asked if I was free that night.
She said she had failed an exam the week before.
He asked if I had seen any good movies lately.

Direct vs. Reported Speech Grammar Quiz

  1. He said Paul Nash beautiful pictures of war scenes.

  2. She asked, "Where from."

  3. Marie asked me if I of a good lunch spot.

  4. He told the truck driver that been everywhere.

  5. " in a risk-free trial of a timeshare off the coast of Guadalajara?" asked the saleswoman.

Go Super to see the answers! Go Super!

Direct vs. Reported Speech Lessons:

Bad Manners

TV on the Radio

Off My Chest

Twitter

Where the Wild Things Are

No Doubt

Shark Tank

Shed Some Light

Go to the TOEFL® page >

Comments

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avella92

avella92

Philippines

really helpful article abour direct and reported speaches. thanks

08:23 PM Mar 20 2016 |

jennybolton

Afghanistan

Your blogs plus all additional text is so entertaining also helpful It composes me befall posterior encore

09:16 AM Jul 06 2014 |

sunny_ling88

China

She said, “I want to buy a new dress.”


She said she wanted to buy a new dress.

01:40 AM Jun 23 2014 |

padmarai96

India

she asked me that where i had gone.

02:33 AM Jun 18 2013 |

s_sadaf1996@yahoo.com

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

HI, thank U so much Ebaby is wonderful & the best way to learning english…


 

01:11 AM Dec 05 2012 |

1 person likes this

a2020

a2020

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

she said”i love you”


she said that she loved me.

01:49 AM Jul 03 2012 |

abu reema

Saudi Arabia

very useful. thanks

12:46 AM May 15 2012 |

sergio duran

Bolivia

“Are you free tonight?”  I asked and said :)

01:49 AM May 13 2012 |

Nicte ha

Nicte ha

Mexico

I wonder if this is ok Undecided

12:25 PM Jan 26 2012 |

kimmilinlein

Mexico

>.< my head is confusse

10:58 AM Jan 26 2012 |