CBSE Class 10 English Grammar – Direct And Indirect Speech

CBSE Class 10 English Grammar – Direct And Indirect Speech

(Statements, Commands, Requests, and Questions)
The words spoken by a person can be reported in two ways—Direct and Indirect. When we quote the exact words spoken by a person, we call it Direct Speech.

  • Sohan said to Mohan, “I am going to school.”

The exact words spoken by Sohan are put within inverted commas. But when we give the substance of what Sohan said, it is called the Indirect Speech.

Direct and Indirect Speech

  • Sohan told to Mohan that he (Sohan) was going to school.

1. Reporting Clause and Reported Speech:
Sohan told Mohan that he was going to school. The words which generally come before the inverted commas are called the reporting clause, i.e. Sohan said to Mohan and the verb ‘said’, is called the reporting verb. The words spoken by Sohan and put within inverted commas are called the reported speech, i.e. “I am going to school.”

2. Rules for Changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech:

  • In the Indirect speech, no inverted commas are used.
  • The conjunctions that, if, whether, are generally used after the reporting verb.
  • The first word of the reported speech begins with a capital letter.
  • The tense of the reporting verb is never changed.
  • The reporting verb changes according to sense: it may be told, asked, inquired

3. Rules for the Change of Pronouns:

  • The first person pronouns (I, me, my, we, us, our) in the reported speech change according to the subject of the reporting verb.
  • The pronouns of the second person (you, your, yourself) in the reported speech change according to the object of the reporting verb.
  • The pronouns of the third person do not change.

For example:

  1. He said, “I like the book.”
    He said that he liked the book.
  2. He said to me, “Do you like the book?”
    He asked me if I liked the book.
  3. He said, “He likes the book.”a
    He said that he liked the book.

4. Changes in words expressing nearness, time, auxiliaries, etc.
5. Change in Tenses:

  • If the reporting verb is in the present or the future tense, the tense of the reported speech is not changed:
    Satish says, “I am flying a kite.”
    Satish says that he is flying a kite.
    Satish will say, “I want a glass of milk.”
    Satish will say that he wants a glass of milk.
  • If the reporting verb is in the past tense, then the tense of the reported speech will change as follows:
  • If the direct speech expresses a historical fact, universal truth, or a habitual fact, then the tense of the direct speech will not change:
    Direct: He said, “Honesty is the best policy.”
    Indirect: He said that honesty is the best policy.
    Direct: He said, “The sun rises in the east.”
    Indirect: He said that the sun rises in the east.
    Direct: Rakesh said, “I am an early riser.”
    Indirect : Rakesh said that he is an early riser.
    Direct: She said, “God is omnipresent.”
    Indirect: She said that God is omnipresent.
    Direct: The teacher said, “The First World War started in 1914.”
    Indirect: The teacher said that the First World War started in 1914.

6. Changing Statements into Indirect Speech:

  • The reporting verb ‘said to’ is changed-to ‘told’, ‘replied’, ‘remarked’,
  • The reporting verb is not followed by an object, it is not changed.
  • The inverted commas are removed. The conjunction is used to connect the reporting clause with the reported speech.

The rules for the change of pronouns, tenses, etc. are followed.

  1. Direct: Ramu said, “I saw a lion in the forest.”
    Indirect: Ramu said that he had seen a lion in the forest.
  1. Direct: Satish said to me, “I am very happy here.”
    Indirect: Satish told me that he was very happy there.
  1. Direct: He said, “I can do this work.”
    Indirect: He said that he could do that work.
  1. Direct: Renu said to me, “I was washing the clothes.”
    Indirect: Renu told me that she had been washing the clothes.
  1. Direct: She said, “I am not well.”
    Indirect: She said that she was not well.
  1. Direct: He said to Sita, “I have passed the test.”
    Indirect: He told Sita that he had passed the test.
  1. Direct: I said to my friend, “He has been working very hard.”
    Indirect: I told my friend that he had been working very hard.
  2. Direct: My friend said to me, “I shall go to Delhi tomorrow.”
    Indirect: My friend told me that he would go to Delhi the next day.
  3. Direct: I said, “I agree to what he said.”
    Indirect: I said that I agreed to what he had said.
  1. Direct: The student said to the teacher, “I am sorry that I am late.”
    Indirect: The student told the teacher that he was sorry that he was late.

7. Rules for the Change of Interrogative (Questions) sentences:

The reporting verb “say’ is changed into ask, inquire,

The interrogative sentence is changed into a statement by placing the subject before the verb and the full stop is put at the end of the sentence.

If the interrogative sentence has a wh-word (who, when, where, how, why, etc) the wh-word is repeated in the sentence. It serves as conjunction.

If the interrogative sentence is a yes-no answer type sentence (with auxiliary verbs am, are, was, were, do, did, have, shall, etc), then ‘if or ‘whether’ is used as a conjunction.

The auxiliaries do, does, did in a positive question in the reported speech are dropped.

The conjunction is not used after the reporting clause.

  1. Direct: I said to him, “Where are you going?”
    Indirect: I asked him where he was going.
  2. Direct: He said to me, “Will you go there?”
    Indirect: He asked me if I would go there.
  3. Direct: My friend said to Deepak, “Have you ever been to Agra?”
    Indirect: My friend asked Deepak if he had ever been to Agra.
  4. Direct: I said to him, “Did you enjoy the movie?”
    Indirect: I asked him if he had enjoyed the movie.
  5. Direct: I said to her, “Do you know him?”
    Indirect: I asked her if she knew him.
  6. Direct: He said to me, “Will you listen to me?”
    Indirect: He asked me if I would listen to him.
  7. Direct: I said to him, “When will you go there?”
    Indirect: I asked him when he would go there.
  8. Direct: He said to me, “How is your father?”
    Indirect: He asked me how my father was.
  9. Direct: I said to him, “Are you happy?”
    Indirect: I asked him if he was happy.
  10. Direct: He said to her, “Do you like apples?”
    Indirect: He asked her if she liked apples.

8. Changing Commands and Requests into Indirect Speech:

  • In imperative sentences having commands, the reporting verb is changed into command, order, tell, allow, request,etc.
  • The imperative mood is changed into the infinitive mood by putting ‘to’, before the verb. In case of negative sentences, the auxiliary ‘do’ is dropped and ‘to’ is placed after ‘not’:
  1. Direct: She said to me, “Open the window.”
    Indirect: She ordered me to open the window.
  2. Direct: The captain said to the soldiers, “Attack the enemy.”
    Indirect: The captain commanded the soldiers to attack the enemy.
  3. Direct: I said to him, “Leave this place at once.”
    Indirect: I told him to leave that place at once.
  4. Direct: The teacher said to the students, “Listen to me attentively.”
    Indirect: The teacher asked the students to listen to him attentively.
  5. Direct: The Principal said to the peon, “Ring the bell.”
    Indirect: The Principal ordered the peon to ring the bell.
  6. Direct: The master said to the servant, “Fetch me a glass of water.”
    Indirect: The master ordered the servant to fetch him a glass of water.
  7. Direct: I said to him, “Please bring me a glass of water.”
    Indirect: I requested him to bring me a glass of water.
  8. Direct: I said to my friend, “Please lend me your book.”
    Indirect: I requested my friend to lend me his book.

9. Sentences with ‘Let’.

  • ‘Let’ is used in various meanings.

(i) ‘Let’ is used to make a proposal.

  • First change the reporting verb into ‘proposed’ or ‘suggested’.
  • Use ‘should’ instead of ‘let’.
    Direct: He said to me, “Let us go home.”
    Indirect: He suggested to me that we should go home.

(ii) ‘Let’ is used as ‘to allow’.

  • In Indirect Speech, we change the reporting verb to ‘requested’ or ‘ordered’.
  • We start Reported Speech with ‘to’.
    Direct: Ram said to Mohan, “Let him do it.”
    Indirect: Ram ordered Mohan to let him do that.
    Ram told Mohan that he might be allowed to do that.

10. Sentences with Question Tags
(i) In the indirect speech the question-tag is usually left.
(ii) In indirect speech these words are removed and the word ‘respectfully’ is used in the reporting clause.
Direct: Mahesh said, “Sir, may I go home?”
Indirect: Mahesh respectfully asked his sir if he might go home.

11. Sentences with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
Direct     : He said, “Can you dance?” And I said, “No.”
Indirect: He asked me if I could dance and I replied that I couldn’t.
Direct    : My mother said, “Will you come home on time?” And I said, “Yes.”
Indirect: My mother asked me if I would come home on time and I replied that I would.

Note  : ‘Yes’ of ‘No’ hides a complete sentence. Therefore, change yes/no into a short answer.

Direct     : She said to me, “You didn’t break the window, did you?”
Indirect: She asked me if/whether I had broken the window.
Direct : He said to Geeta, “You are going to the station, aren’t you?”
Indirect: He asked Geeta if/ whether she was going to the station.

12. Sentences with ‘have to’ or ‘had to’
(i) Change ‘have to’ according to the rules.
(ii) But change ‘had to’ into ‘had had to’ in the indirect speech.
Direct    : Hari said, “I have to work a lot.”
Indirect: Hari said that he had to work a lot.
Direct    : Hari said, “I had to work a lot.”
Indirect: Hari said that he had had to work a lot.

13. Sentences with ‘Sir’, ‘Madam’ or ‘Your Honour’ etc.

  • Generally such words are used to show respect to the person concerned.

You can master in English Grammar of various classes by our articles like Tenses, Clauses, Prepositions, Story writing, Unseen Passage, Notice Writing etc.

14. Exclamations and Wishes
Sometimes Exclamatory sentences contain exclamations like Hurrah!, Alas!, Oh!, Heavens!, Bravo, etc. Such exclamatory words are removed in the indirect speech and we use ‘exclaimed with sorrow’, exclaimed with joy, exclaimed with surprise, etc. instead of ‘said’.

  1. Direct    : Rohan said, “Hurrah! We won the match.”
    Indirect: Rohan exclaimed with joy that they had won the match.
  2. Direct    : Reema said, “Alas! Karina’s mother is suffering from cancer.”
    Indirect: Reema exclaimed with sorrow that Karina’s mother was suffering from cancer.
  3. Direct    : The captain said to Kapil, “Bravo! You scored 89 runs.”
    Indirect: The captain exclaimed with praise that he (Kapil) had scored 89 runs.

(a) Look at these sentences.

  1. Direct   : My mother said, “May God bless you!”
    Indirect: My mother prayed to God for my well being.
  2. Direct    : She said, “May God save the country!”
    Indirect: She prayed to God to save the country.
  3. Direct    : They said to the king, “Long live!”
    Indirect: They blessed the king for his long life.

(b) Look at these sentences.

  1. Direct    : Mohan said, “What a pity!”
    Indirect: Mohan exclaimed that it was a great pity.
  2. Direct    : I said, “How stupid he is!”
    Indirect: I exclaimed that it was a very stupid of him.
  3. Direct    : “What a terrible sight it is!” said the traveller.
    Indirect: The traveller exclaimed that it was a very terrible sight.
    All the sentences in inverted commas are exclamatory sentences.

(i)  Use ‘exclaimed’ in place of ‘said’ in the reporting verb in the indirect speech.
(ii) In Indirect sentences, we use exclamatory sentences as statements.
(iii) Indirect speech begins with that and full stop (•) is used instead of the exclamation mark (!).

Exercise (Solved)

Change the following sentences into Indirect Speech:

(i) He said, “I will do it now.”
Answer: He said that he would do it then.

(ii) He says, “Honesty is the best policy.”
Answer: He says that honesty is the best policy.

(iii) Ramesh says, “I have written a letter.”
Answer: Ramesh says that he has written a letter.

(iv) She said, “Mahesh will be reading a book.”
Answer: She said that Mahesh would be reading a book.

(v) She said, “Where is your father?”
Answer: She inquired where his father was.

(vi) He said to me, “Please take your book.”
Answer: He requested me to take my book.

(vii) The Principal said to the peon, “Let this boy go out.”
Answer: The Principal ordered the peon to let that boy go out.

(viii) He said to me, “May you live long!”
Answer: He prayed that I might live long.

(ix) She said, “Goodbye friends!”
Answer: She bade goodbye to her friends.

(ix) The student said, “Alas! I wasted my time last year.”
Answer: The student regretted that he had wasted his time the previous year.

Exercise (Unsolved)

Change the following sentences into Indirect Speech:

  1. The captain said, “Bravo! well done, my boys.”
  2. He said to her, “Why do you read this book?”
  3. He said to her, “Does your cow not kick?”
  4. He said to his brother, “Shailesh has broken my glass.”
  5. Our teacher said, “The earth revolves around the sun.”
  6. He said to me, “Why have you come here?”
  7. Usha said, “Father, you are very kind to me.”
  8. The teacher said to the boys, “Do not make a noise.”
  9. He said to his friend, “May you prosper in business!”
  10. The officer said to the peon, “Let the visitor come into my office.”

When we want to tell somebody else what another person said, we can use either direct speech and reported speech. When we use direct speech, we use the same words but use quotation marks, For example: Scott said, “I am coming to work. I will be late because there is a lot of traffic now.”

When we use reported speech, we usually change the verbs, specific times, and pronouns. For example: Scott said that he was coming to work. He said that he would be late because there was a lot of traffic at that time.

Reported Speech Exercises for Class 10 CBSE With Answers 

This grammar section explains English Grammar in a clear and simple way. There are example sentences to show how the language is used. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English will help you to write better answers in your Class 10 exams. Because the Solutions are solved by subject matter experts.

Rules for Reported Speech
While changing direct speech into reported speech or vice-versa the following changes occur:

1. Changes In Reporting Verb
Affirmative sentences: said, told (object), asserted, replied, assured, informed, responded, whispered, alleged, believed, assumed, thought
Interrogative sentences: asked, enquired, wanted to know
Imperative sentences: ordered, begged, pleaded, implored, advised, demanded

2. Change Of Pronouns
Direct Speech: Johnny said, ‘I am playing.’
Indirect Speech: Johnny said that he was playing.
First-person generally changes to third person {depending upon the subject of the reporting verb).

3. Change Of Tenses

Direct SpeechIndirect Speech
Johnny said, ‘I like to play.’Johnny said that he liked to play.
Johnny said, ‘I am playing.’Johnny said that he was playing.
Johnny said, ‘I have played this game.’Johnny said that he had played that game.
Johnny said, ‘I have been playing this game.’Johnny said that he had been playing that game.
Johnny said, ‘I played this game last week. ’Johnny said that he had played that game the previous week.
Johnny said, ‘I was playing this game when Mohan came home.’Johnny said that he had been/was playing that game when Mohan came home.
Johnny said, ‘I had played this game before you came.’Johnny said that he had played that game before he came.
Johnny said, ‘I will play this game.’Johnny said that he would play that game.

In general, present tense becomes past tense; past tense and present perfect become past perfect.

4. Change of situations
Nagesh said, ‘I read this book last week. (direct speech)
Nagesh said that he had read that book the previous week, (indirect speech)

  • ‘this’ becomes ‘that’
  • ‘last week’ becomes ‘the previous week’
  • here – there
  • now – then
  • today – that day
  • yesterday – the day before/the previous day
  • tomorrow – the next day/the coming day
  • last week – the week before/the previous week
  • next month – the next month/the coming month

5. In case of questions and answers

  • Nagesh asked, ‘Have you read this book?’ (direct speech)
  • Nagesh asked if’ whether I had read that book, (indirect speech)
  • Nagesh asked, ‘Where is the book?’ (direct speech)
  • Nagesh asked where the book was. (indirect speech)

(a) For yes/no questions – use if/whether
(b) For wh- questions – use the wh-word

Word Order:

  • Nagesh asked, ‘What’s the matter?’
  • Nagesh asked what the matter was. (what + the matter + was)
  • Nagesh asked what was the matter, (what + was + the matter)
  • The word order can be either:
  • who/which/what + complement + be or ‘
  • who/which/what + be + complement

6. Reported Speech using present and future tenses

  • Nagesh said, ‘The sun rises in the east.’ (direct speech)
  • Nagesh said that the sun rises in the east, (indirect speech)
  • Nagesh said, ‘I will read this book.’ (direct speech)
  • Nagesh said that he will read that book, (indirect speech)
  • If the original speaker’s present and future is still present and future, the tense remains unchanged.

7. In case of modal verbs
can becomes could

  • will – would
  • shall – should
  • may – might

would, should, could, might, ought to and must are unchanged.

  • Nagesh said, ‘I can solve this sum.’ (direct speech)
  • Nagesh said that he could solve that sum. (indirect speech)

Reported Speech Solved Examples Exercises for Class 10 CBSE

Read the dialogue given below and then complete the passage that follows.

Question 1.
Read the dialogue and complete the passage given below.

Interviewer: So, why do you want to be a computer programmer?
Ravi: Well, I have always been interested in computers.
Interviewer: I see. Do you have any experience?
Ravi: No, but I’m a fast learner.
Interviewer: What kind of a computer do you use?
Ravi: Computer? Uhm, let me see. I can use a Mac. I also used Windows 10 once.
Interviewer: That’s good.

Ravi recently attended an interview for the selection of a computer programmer. At the interview, he was asked
(a) ……………………….. To this question he replied that he wanted to change his job because (b) ……………………….. When the interviewer asked him (e) ………………………. he replied that he (d) ……………………….. Finally, the interviewer wanted to know (e) ………………………. . Ravi replied that he could use a Mac and had also used Windows 10 once in the,.past. The interviewer seemed to be pleased with his answers.
(a) why he wanted to be a computer programmer
(b) he had always been interested in computers
(c) whether he had any experience
(d) didn’t but that he was a fast learner
(e) the kind of computer he used

Question 2.
Manu: Where are you going to?
Annu: I am going to the market. Do you want anything?

Manu asked Annu (a) …………………… Annu replied (b) …………………… Annu replied (b) …………………… and she further asked (C) ……………………
(a) where she was going.
(b) that she was going to the market
(c) if/whether she wanted anything.

Question 3.
Sunita: Tomorrow is your birthday, what do you want as a gift?
Neetu: That is a lovely thought but I don’t want anything.

Sunita asked Neetu since the next day was her birthday, (a) …………………… Neetu replied that (b) …………………… but (C) ………………….. . Answer:
(a) what she wanted as a gift
(b) that was a lovely thought
(c) she did not want anything.

Question 4.
Gardener: Did you water the plant today?
Dev: No, but I will, today.
Gardener: Then tomorrow I will get a sapling of sunflower.

The Gardener asked Dev (a) …………………… Dev replied negatively but (b) …………………… Then the gardener said that (c) ………………….. . Answer:
(a) if/whether he had watered the plant that day.
(b) said he would that day.
(c) he would get a sapling of a sunflower the next day.

Question 5.
Mr. Harish: Can you polish my shoes?
Cobbler: Yes sir. But I will take 10 for each shoe.

Mr. Harish: I will not mind as long as it is done. Mr. Harish asked the cobbler (a) …………………… The cobbler replied affirmatively but (b) …………………… Mr. Harish said that (C) …………………….
(a) if/whether he could polish his shoes.
(b) said that he would take 10 for each shoe
(c) he would not mind as long as it was done.

Question 6.
Electrician: When did your electricity go?
Mohan: It is not working since evening.
Electrician: Sorry sir, in this case, I will have to check the fuse now.

The electrician asked Mohan (a) …………………… Mohan replied that (b) …………………… The electrician apologetically said that in that case (c) ……………………
(a) when his electricity had gone.
(b) it was not working since evening.
(c) he would have to check the fuse then.

Question 7.
Teacher : Children, let us all pledge to save trees.
Children : Yes, mam, we all pledge to save our trees as the trees are the lungs of the city.
Teacher : Let us start today by planting a sapling.

The teacher asked all the children to pledge to save trees. The children replied affirmatively (a) …………………… as the (b) …………………… Then the teacher said that (c) ………………….. .
(a) saying that they all pledged to save trees
(b) trees are the lungs of the city.
(c) they should start by planting a sapling that day.

Question 8.
Buddha : Honesty is the best policy.
Disciple : Does honesty always pay?
Buddha : It may or may not, but at least you will never feel guilty.

Buddha in his preaching said that (a) …………………… the best policy. A disciple asked him if (b) …………………… always pays, Buddha replied (c) …………………… but at least he would never feel guilty.
(a) Honesty is
(b) honesty
(c) that it might or might not

Question 9.
Doctor : You should take this medicine every day.
Patient : Should I take it before dinner or after dinner?
Doctor : No, you should take it after breakfast.

The Doctor advised the patient that (a) …………………… The patient further asked (b) …………………… The doctor replied negatively and then said (c) ………………….. .
(a) he should take that medicine every day.
(b) if/whether he should take it before dinner or after dinner.
(c) that he should take it after breakfast

Question 10.
Reena : Do you know how to swim?
Surbhi : Yes I know. I have learnt it during this summer vacation.

Reena asked Surbhi (a) …………………… Then Surbhi replied (b) …………………… and also added that (c) ………………….. .
(a) if/whether she knew how to swim
(b) in affirmative
(c) she had learnt it during the summer vacation.

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