Rules For Direct And Indirect Speech With Examples And Exercises

English grammar has always remained trickier yet interesting to be learned. It is expected that to learn the English language, one must be able to form sentences or learn the other parts of its speech. In the IELTS examination, even 25% of marks are allotted for GRA (Grammatical Range and Accuracy). So here we come up with another topic of grammar by adding into the collection of some previous grammar topics.

In today’s article, the topic of direct and indirect speech will be discussed in an elaborative way and its rules, examples, along with some exercises will be given.

What is Direct and Indirect Speech?

▶️ Direct Speech

The kind of speech where the message of the sender is reported in the exact same words by the receiver of the message. It is also quoted in the quotation marks.

For example:- He said, “I can cook food.”

▶️ Indirect Speech

A kind of speech where the message of the reporter is reported in some other words but of the same meaning. Here, the message is not quoted in speech marks.

For example:- He said that he could cook food.

I. Rules as per Modal Verb Change



1. Can


2. May


3. Must

Has/had to

4. Should


5. Would


6. Ought to

Ought to


  • They said, “ We may go to Canada.”

They said that they might go to Canada.

  • She said, “I must finish the work on time.”

She said that she had to finish the work on time.

  • Michael said, “I ought to avoid junk food.”

Michael said that he ought to avoid junk food.

II. Rules as per Tense Change



1. Simple present tense

(Subject+ V1+ object)

Simple past tense

(Subject + V2+ object)

2. Present continuous tense

(Subject+ is/am/are+ V1+ ing + object)

Past continuous tense

(Subject+ was/were+ V1+ ing+ object)

3. Present perfect tense

(Subject+ has/have+ V3 + object)

Past perfect tense

(Subject +had +V3+ object)

4. Past simple

(Subject+ V2 + object)

Past perfect tense

(Subject+ had+ V3 + object)

5. Past continuous tense

(Subject+ was/were+ V1+ ing+ object)

Past perfect continuous tense

(Subject+ had been+ V1+ ing + object)

6. Simple future tense

(Subject+ will/shall+ V1 + object)

Present conditional

(Subject+ would+ V1 + object)

7. Future continuous tense

(Subject+ will/shall +be +V1+ ing + object)

Conditional continuous tense

(subject+ would be+ V1+ ing+ object)


  • Direct- John said,” I walk.” (simple present)

Indirect- John said that he walked. (Simple past)

  • Direct- Mr. Brown said, “My daughter has left for school.” (present perfect)

Indirect- Mr. Brown said that his daughter had left for school. (Past perfect)

  • Direct- They told, “we were living in Paris.” (past continuous)

Indirect- They told that they had been living in Paris. (Past perfect continuous tense)

  • Direct- Michael told, “he will be watering the plants .” (Future continuous)

Indirect- Michael told that he would be watering the plants. (Conditional continuous)

III. Rules as per Place & Time Change

1. Now


2. Here


3. Today

That day

4. Tomorrow

The next day

5. Last week

The previous week

6. This


7. Tonight

That night

8. Ago


9. Thus


10. Hence


11. Next



  • She said, “ I saw him today.”

She said that she had seen him that day.

  • He said, “I will see him tomorrow.”

He said that he would see him the next day.

IV. Rules as per Pronouns Change

1. I


2. You

He/ she/they

3. We


4. They


5. He


6. Us


7. Our



  • He said, “I like your new car.”

He told her that he liked her new car.

  • He said, “I write a letter.”

He said that he wrote a letter.

V. Direct and Indirect Speech for Interrogative Sentences

1. The conjunction ‘that' is not used in the indirect speech of interrogation sentences.

2. In Indirect sentence of interrogation, the answer is written in positive or assertive form, rather than the question form, and hence, the sentence ends with..

3. Inverted commas are removed in indirect speech.

4. Use verbs such as, ‘ask', ‘inquire' instead of say or tell.


  • Jackson said, “ what is John doing?”

Jackson asked that what John was doing.

  • Esha said, “ will she come for lunch?”

Esha asked if she would come for lunch.

  • He said to me, “do you like coffee?”

He asked me if I liked coffee.

  • They said to me, “how is the weather?”

They asked me how the weather was.

VI. Indirect Speech for Exclamatory Sentences

An Exclamatory sentence is a type of sentence that expresses some joy, sorrow, excitement, or any other kind of emotion. Here are some rules for the indirect speech of exclamatory sentences.

· The imperative sentences expresses advice, request or order. So in order to convert it in indirect, some words need to be added like Requested, advised, suggested, ordered, forbade etc.


  • The old man said to him, “always speak the truth.”

The old man advised him to always speak the truth.

  • He said to me, “please make some tea for me.”

He requested me to make some tea for him.

  • There are exclamatory sentences that express joy or wonder so some words like exclaimed with joy, exclaimed with wonder, exclaimed with sorrow will be added.


  • She said, “hurrah! I passed the exam.”
  • She exclaimed with joy that she had passed the exam.
  • She said, oh! I lost my purse.”
  • She exclaimed with sorrow that she had lost her purse.

Take care of the small details of grammar and you will surely be perfect within some time with lots of practice. Hoping that above rules and examples of direct and indirect speech would work well for your practice. Keep working hard.

Best of luck!

Exercises for Competitive Exams

A. Direct to Indirect Speech

1. Ram said to me, “I am going to Jaipur.”

2. Mohan said to her, “you have completed your work.”

3. Maya said to him, “you can do this work.”

4. “If you don’t keep quiet, I shall shoot you”, she said to him in a calm voice.

5. He said to his father, “please increase my pocket-money.”

6. The boy said, “who dare call you a thief?”

7. She said to him, “why don’t you go today?”

8. Kanwal said, “what a beautiful rainbow it is.”


1. Ram told me that he was going to Jaipur.

2. Mohan told her that she had completed her work.

3. Maya told him that he could do this work.

4. She warned her calmly that she would shoot him if he didn’t keep quiet.

5. He requested his father to increase his pocket money.

6. The boy enquired who dared call him a thief.

7. She asked him why he didn’t go that day.

8. Kanwal exclaimed with wonder that the rainbow was very beautiful.

B. Indirect Speech to Direct Speech

1. She said that her brother was getting married.

2. She exclaimed with sorrow that was a very miserable plight.

3. Dhruv said that he was sick and tired of working in this company.

4. She exclaimed with joy that India had won the Sahara cup.

5. Nita ordered her servant to bring her a cup of tea.

6. She begged me not to go away.

7. She told her that she knew where was everyone.

8. John told me that when he went there, it was raining.


1. She said, “my brother is getting married.”

2. She said, “what a miserable plight it is.”

3. Dhruv said, “I am sick and tired of working in this company.”

4. She said, “hurrah! India has won the Sahara cup.”

5. Nita said to her servant, “Bring me a cup of tea.”

6. “Please don’t go away" , she said.

7. She said to her, “ I know where is everyone.”

8. John said to me, “when you came here, it was raining.”

Dr. Roma

Content Writer