Pass English Knowing Direct And Indirect Speeches


Direct and indirect speeches are very important in our spoken and written English Language.

Students, whether graduates, undergraduates, WAEC students as well as those who want to have a good command of English language need to know the usage of direct and indirect speeches.

This post will bring out the meaning, usage and the rules of direct and indirect speeches to be well groomed in grammatical structures and above all, passing English Language as a subject in all kinds of examinations.

By direct speech, we mean the actual words of the speaker are repeated or quoted without any change. Such words are enclosed or marked by inverted commas. For instance, the Principal said, “All students must be punctual at school”.

Indirect or reported speech on the other hand, alter or change the words of the speaker in a given sentence. Such words are not enclosed by inverted commas. They are given in the third person with a reporting verb saying, asking, wishing, praying, demanding, ordering, thinking or requesting. For instance, My Dad said that he would return from his journey tomorrow.

So, in changing from the direct to the indirect speech, certain rules must be observed:

  • Put the conjunction that after a reporting verb.
  • Remove the inverted commas
  • Introduce questions with the verb of asking or inquiring
  • Change the verb to the past tense such as am as was, shall as should, have been as had been, has as had, will as would, can as could, may as might etc.
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Again, it requires the pronouns in the first or the second person to the third: such as you or him as her and they, we as they, mine as his or hers.

You can as well change the adverbs to mean now as then, henceforth as thenceforth, ago as before, here as there, thus as so, yesterday as previous day, tomorrow as the next day, last night as the previous night.

Consider these statements:

  • “The Principal is a wealthy man”, said our Mathematics teacher.
  • Our Mathematics teacher said that the Principal is a wealthy man.


  • My friend said, “James, please lend me your book”.
  • My friend requested or asked James to lend him his book.


  • The teacher said, “What a brilliant boy!”.
  • The teacher exclaimed that the boy was a brilliant boy.


  • “Good luck in your exams”, my dear students, said the Principal.
  • The Principal wished his students good luck in their exams.


In summary, direct and indirect speeches are very important in English language. They give clarity to any composition or letter writing. They make any passage easier to read and understand.  They as well give indepth meaning to any sentence construction to have a good knowledge of the passage in English language. Is a must know part of English to have a good mastery and command of the language.

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