Indirect speech is speech that describes what someone said without using the person's actual words. "They stated you didn't like it," "I asked her what her intentions were," and "citizens grumbled about the smoke," for example. Using this form of expression, writers can avoid directly quoting people.
Indirect speech is often used by writers who want to give their readers or listeners a general idea of what happened in a situation but don't want to burden them with repeated phrases or words. Using descriptive phrases instead of exact quotes helps to keep conversations flowing and adds interest to your writing.
There are three basic forms of indirect speech: quoted indirect speech, paraphrased indirect speech, and implied indirect speech.
In quoted indirect speech, the speaker's words are preserved exactly or almost exactly as they were spoken. The only change usually made is to add quotation marks around the phrase or sentence. This form of speech is used when the writer wants to include all of the details of what was said, such as if someone says something funny or interesting, or if there is some other context relevant to the conversation that requires including the original wording.
Because it relates to the second portion of indirect speech in which something has been spoken by a person, indirect speech is also known as reported speech. It is the most common form of discourse in newspapers and magazines, because it is easy to understand and concise. Writers use reported speech when they want to convey information about the thoughts and feelings of someone else but are not present to observe them themselves.
In addition to using reported speech, writers can also describe what people see and hear, which is called direct speech. In direct speech, the writer uses the simple past tense to talk about events that she or he witnessed personally. For example, "I heard my dog barking outside before I went to bed" is direct speech. Indirect speech is used when the writer describes things that were said or done by others. For example, "My brother told me to go away" is indirect speech.
Writers often use both reported speech and direct speech in the same sentence. For example, "John yelled at Mary when she came home late from work," can be written in two ways using reported speech: "Mary was told by her coworker John that she could go straight to hell," or using direct speech: "John shouted at Mary when she came home late from work." Both versions are correct.
When anything is repeated precisely as it was, it is referred to as direct speech, which is commonly denoted by a pair of inverted commas. Indirect communication will still provide the same information, but instead of explicitly repeating someone's words or speech, it will report or describe what was said. For example, if I asked you "Are you ready?" and you replied "I am", that would be direct speech because the words are being said directly to you. If I described your response in a sentence such as "She said she was ready" or "He told me he was ready", that would be indirect speech.
Reported speech is when something is said by someone else and then reported by you, either directly or through other means. Reported speech is often used by writers when they want to convey information that could not be said outright. For example, if I were describing a fight that broke out and someone was injured, I might say "A man was seen running from the scene". In this case, "seen" is used as a form of reported speech because I am reporting that someone ran from the scene. Reported speech can also be used by authors to create suspense in their stories, as in this example from John Grisham's The Firm: "Len Baker is dead. Murdered." The word "dead" has been reported by someone (probably his partner Len) and so we don't know for sure whether or not he is alive.
"I'm sick," he says. Indirect Speech: He claims to be unwell. "She sung a song," she says. She claims to have performed a song. Direct Speech: He sings how sick he is. "They fought," they say. They claim to have fought.
Using quotation marks when describing someone's words makes them sound like they are speaking instead of writing. This technique can be used in essays to make your thoughts seem more real or actual. For example, if you were discussing what kind of person is good at math and you wanted to mention that George Bush is not very good at math, you could say "Math isn't his strong suit." This means that Bush doesn't do well at math but it does not mean that you are claiming to know that he cannot add without using a calculator.
When you use quotation marks when narrating something that was written by someone else, you are saying that you saw or heard this information directly from the source.
The form alters when employing indirect or reported discourse. In this tense, the verb say denotes that something was spoken in the past. The primary verb in the reported sentence is shifted into the past in these circumstances. Thus, the present simple becomes the past simple.
Indirect communication necessitates the use of a reporting verb in place of the quotation marks used in direct speaking. The reporting verb must be followed by the subordinating conjunctions que (typically) or si, and the original utterance must be transformed into a subordinate sentence. For example: "Pierre said that Vincent is good at football." This can be expressed in French as "Pierre dit que Vincent est bon au football."
If no reporting verb is present, the speaker is simply telling others what he/she thinks of someone or something. In this case, the original statement cannot be transformed into an indirect sentence because there is no way to indicate the listener(s) or reader(s). Without any indication of who is hearing or reading the statement, it can only be interpreted as direct speech.
For example, if Pierre says that Vincent is good at football without any further context, then this is equivalent to saying "Vincent is good at football" in English. There is no way to transform this statement into another sentence without further information about who is listening or reading it. Therefore, it is necessary to add some form of "that" or a similar word to indicate that Pierre is indeed talking about Vincent.
In addition to que and si, other conjunctions that can be used in indirect sentences include: but, nor, and yet. These words are often used when introducing a contradiction into the sentence.