Narration : Direct Indirect Speech Rules Part-1

Most of the students struggle to score good marks in English paper of  SSC CGL Exam. In English there are some topics , you need not be an expert  to score good marks. If you know the basic rules for these topics  you can boost your preparation, Direct Indirect Speech is one of them. In SSC CGL Tier 2 every year 25 to 27 questions are asked form Direct Indirect Speech. There are simple rules for Direct and Indirect speech , if you know them then it can boost your marks in English.We are sharing rules for Direct Indirect Speech Part-1  in this post.Learn the rules and practice them, we will also share important questions for practice.


Definition: Direct Indirect Speech 

When we express someone’s words in our own words, it is called – “Indirect Speech” and when we express someone’s words as it is, it is called – “Direct Speech”.

For examples-
He said to me, “I write a letter”. (Direct)
He told me that he wrote a letter, (indirect)

Rules for changing “Direct Speech” into “Indirect Speech”:

Type – 1 (Assertive Sentences) :

Rule 1: Comma and inverted commas are removed in the indirect speech and connective word ‘that’ is used in the indirect speech.

Rule 2:- Rules for changing reporting verb

Direct Indirect
Say, says (without object) No Change
Say to, Says to (with object) Tell, Tells
Said (without object) No Change
Said to (with object) Told


Rule 3: Pronoun will changes according to SON rule.

Pronoun Reporting Speech Rule
1st person(I, We) Subject 1st person(I, We) changes according to Subject of Reporting Speech.
2nd person(you) Object 2nd person(You) changes according to Object of Reporting Speech.
3rd person(he, she, it, they) No change No change

For example:

My friend said, “I am fine”.
My friend said that he was fine.

She said to me, “You are right”.
She told me that I was right.

He says to me,”She works hard”.
He tells me that she works hard.

Rule 4:- If reporting verb is written in the present or future tense then the tense of the reported verb is not changed in the indirect speech.

Rule 5:- Change in Tense

Direct Indirect
Simple Present (V1/do/does) Simple Past(v2/did)
Present Continuous (is/am/are) Past Continuous (was/were)
Present Perfect Past Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous Past Perfect Continuous
Simple Past Past Perfect
Past Continuous Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect No Change
Past Perfect Continuous No Change


Rule 6:- Rules for change of “Helping Verb”.

Direct Indirect
Is, am Was
Are Were
Has, Have Had
Shall, Will Should/Would
Can Could
May Might
Do, Does Did


Rules 7:- Rules for change of words showing nearness.

For example – ‘yesterday’ is changed into “the previous day”.

Direct Indirect
This That
These Those
Here There
Now/ just Then
Today That day
Yesterday The previous day
Tomorrow The next day
Tonight That night
Last night the previous night


Rule 8:- If the reported speech is a universal truth/Idiom/Phrase/habitual action or historical fact, then tense of reported speech will not change.

Socrates said,”Virtue is its own reward”.
Socrates said that virtue is its own reward.

 For example –

  1. He says, “I take coffee”. (Direct)
    He says that he takes coffee. (Indirect)
  2. He is saying, “I was suffering from fever”. (Direct)
    He is saying that he was suffering from fever. (Indirect)
  3. Radha said, “I have finished her work”.
    Radha said that she had finished her work.
  4. You said to me, “I went to Mumbai”.
    You told me that you had gone to Mumbai.
  5. He said, “The bus had left”.
    He said that the bus had left.
  6. He said, “I shall bring your book tomorrow”.
    He said that he would bring my book the next day.
  7. He said, “Man is mortal”.
    He said that man is mortal.
  8. She says to me, “I did not break you pen”.
    She tells me that she did not break my pen.


Type -II (Interrogative Sentences):

Rule I- Reporting verb ‘said to’ is changed into ‘asked’, questioned, enquired in the indirect speech.
Rule II – Mark of interrogation (?) is removed in the indirect speech.

Rule III –  In yes/no question type sentence, conjunction If/Whether is used whereas in Wh question type sentence no conjunction is used, simply question word is placed as it is.

Rule IVThe Reported Speech is changed into Assertive sentence (i. e., the order of Verb + Subject is changed into Subject + Verb).

Rule VTense and pronoun will change as per general rule mentioned in assertive case.

For example-

(i) Yes/No Question type

He said to me, “Are you studying?”
He asked me if I was studying.

He said to me, “Have you done your work?”
He asked me if I had done my work.

She said to me, “Do you take tea?”
She asked me if I took tea.

He said to me, “Did you take lunch?”
He asked me if I had taken lunch.

She said to me, “Can you do it?”
She asked me if I could do it.


(ii) Wh Questions type

He said to me, “What are you doing?”
He asked me what I was doing.

She said to me, “How old are you?”
She asked me how old I was.

He said to me, “Why do you play cricket?”
He asked me why 1 played cricket.

She said to me, “Where do you come from?”
She asked me where I came from.

I said to Ram, “Which is your pen?”
I asked Ram which his pen was.

Rule V- If Sir/madam/your honour words are used in direct speech, then in indirect speech ‘respectfully’  word is used in place of these words.

Rule VI- If in sentence yes or no reply is given then in indirect speech ‘answered in the affirmative’ /’answered in the negative’ is used.

He said to her, “Madam, can I help you?”  She said, ” no”.

He asked her respectfully if he could help her. She answered in the negative.

To download Narration : Direct Indirect Speech Rules Part-1 : click here

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