Structure of indirect speech
- Reporting verb is changed into tell, command or order, request – or beg orentreat or ask, forbid, according to the sense of the speech.
- Reporting verb and Reported speech are joined by Infinitive’to’.
Direct : He said to me, “Do it now”?
Indirect : He told me to do it then.
Direct : Father said to me, “Never go there”.
Indirect : Father ordered me never to go there.
Direct : The teacher said to us, “Do not tell a lie”.
Indirect : The teacher forbade us to tell a lie.
or, The teacher advised us not to tell a lie.
Direct : The man said to me, “Please help me”.
Indirect : The man requested me to help him.
When the reporting verb is without object :
Direct : They said, “Come again””.
indirect : They told or asked me or asked someone to go again.
When there are vocatives:
Direct : The captain said, “Soldiers, march on”.
Indirect : The captain commanded the soldiers to march on.
Direct : The leader said, “Friends, listen to me”.
Indirect : Addressing them as friends, the leader requested them to listen to him.
Direct : The student said to the Headmaster, “Excuse me, Sir”.
Indirect : The student begged the Headmaster to excuse him.
When there is let us in the direct speech, it indicates proposal or suggestion :
Direct : He said, “Let us do it”.
Indirect : He proposed or suggested that they should do it.
Direct : He said to me, “Let us go there”.
Indirect : He proposed to me that we should go there.
[Note: Reporting verb is changed into propose or suggest. Should is used for ‘let’].
When there is ‘let me/him/her etc. it does not indicate proposal:
Direct : He said, “Let him do it”.
Indirect : He said that he might (or might be allowed to) do it.
Direct : The boy said to me, “Let me read now”.
Indirect : The boy told me that “he’ might read then or might be allowed to read then.
[Note: Reporting verb is changed according to sense, ‘let’ is changed into might or might be allowed to]
When ‘let’ indicates request or order:
Direct : He said to me, “Please let me go there”.
Indirect : He requested me that he might be allowed to go there. or, He requested me to let him go there.
Direct : The teacher said to the boy, “Let your friend do it”.
Indirect : The teacher ordered the boy to let his friend do it.
Direct . : He said, “Let me have some milk”.
Indirect : He wished that he might have some milk.
- Change into indirect form of speech:
(i) My brother said to me, “Go home at once”.
(ii) He said to them, “Do not come here”.
(iii) He said to him, “Please explain the poem”.
(iv) The general said to the soldiers, “March on”.
(v) The speaker said to the members, “Please obey the Chair”.
(vi) He said, “Let us try again”.
(vii) He said to me, “Let us walk fast”. “
(viii) She said to me, “Let me read the story”.
(ix) The boy said, “Sir, please grant me leave in advance”.
(x) He said, “Let me come in”.
- Change the following into direct form of speech:
(i) He told me to return home.
(ii) I requested him to give me a pen.
(iii) The servant entreated me to give him a new shirt.
(iv) He proposed to me that we should have a walk.
(v) Father told me not to mix with bad boys.
(vi) He said that he might do whatever he liked.
(vii ) The man said, “Friends, work united against terrorism.”
(viii) Grandfather advised his grandsons never to dishonor an old man.
(ix) The passenger asked me to show him the way to the station.
(x) Father forbade me to laugh at a lame man
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