The 5 rules of indirect speech are:
- Change the tense of the reporting verb. The reporting verb is the verb that is used to introduce the indirect speech. It is usually in the past tense, even if the direct speech is in the present tense. For example:
Direct: “I am going to the store,” said Alice. Indirect: Alice said that she was going to the store.
- Change the pronouns to reflect the new perspective. In indirect speech, the speaker is reporting the words of another person, so the pronouns may need to be changed to reflect the new perspective. For example:
Direct: “I’m going to visit my friend,” said Bob. Indirect: Bob said that he was going to visit his friend.
- Change demonstrative pronouns to reflect the new spatial relationship. Demonstrative pronouns are words like “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” They can be used to point to things that are close to the speaker (proximal) or far away from the speaker (distal). In indirect speech, the demonstrative pronouns may need to be changed to reflect the new spatial relationship between the speaker and the listener. For example:
Direct: “This is my book,” said Mary. Indirect: Mary said that that was her book.
- Remove quotation marks and add a conjunction. Quotation marks are used to indicate direct speech. In indirect speech, the quotation marks are removed and a conjunction such as “that” is added to introduce the reported speech. For example:
Direct: “I’m going to the store,” said Alice. Indirect: Alice said that she was going to the store.
- Change the mood of the reported clause if necessary. The mood of the reported clause refers to the type of sentence it is: declarative, interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory. When changing from direct to indirect speech, the mood of the reported clause may need to be changed. For example:
Direct: “Can you please help me?” said the old woman. Indirect: The old woman asked if I could please help her.
Direct: “Don’t go near the water!” shouted my mother. Indirect: My mother warned me not to go near the water.
Indirect speech can be a bit tricky to get used to, but it is an important skill to have in English grammar. By following these 5 rules, you will be able to change direct speech to indirect speech accurately and confidently.