Rules for Changing the Narration (Direct & Indirect Speech) with Examples

  Narration – Direct and Indirect Speech 

 Definition:

 “Reporting the words of the speaker either by quoting his exact words or without quoting the speaker’s actual words is defined as Narration.”

Explanation:

We need to narrate words of others in two distinguished ways:

  1. Either we repeat his actual words without amending them.
  2. Or we convey the same meanings using our own words.

The former way of communication is called DIRECT SPEECH or QUOTED SPEECH. In case of direct speech, inverted commas are used to mark off the actual words of the speaker.

While, the later mentioned method of communication is called INDIRECT SPEECH or REPORTED SPEECH. In case of indirect speech, inverted commas are not used because speakers’ particular words are not quoted there.

For instance:

Direct speech: She said, “I am very hungry.”

Indirect speech: She said that she was very hungry.

DIRECT SPEECH / QUOTED SPEECH:

In case of direct speech, every sentence consists of 2 parts:

  1. Reporting speech
  2. Reported speech

The words placed outside the inverted commas are referred to as REPORTING SPEECH while those words which are placed inside inverted commas are called REPORTING SPEECH.

FOR EXAMPLE:

He said,“I am a very talented student.”

In this above given example, He said are placed outside the inverted commas so they are called REPORTING SPEECH.

And, “I am a very talented student,” are placed within inverted commas so they are called REPORTED SPEECH.

INDIRECT  SPEECH / REPORTED  SPEECH:

In case of indirect speech, the REPORTING SPEECH becomes the PRINCIPLE CLAUSE and REPORTED SPEECH becomes SUBORDINATE CLAUSE.

FOR EXAMPLE:

He said that he was a very talented student.

In this example, he said is the principle clause

 While,that he was very talented student is the subordinate noun clause.

In indirect speech, the tense of the REPORTED SPEECH usually changes because we are not going to talk about a time in the past.

      RULES FOR CHANGING SPEECH

There are some rules for changing direct speech into indirect speech. These changes can be:

  1. According to REPORTING verbs and also according to REPORTED verbs.
  2. According to the tense used.
  3. According to time and place.
  4. According to personal pronoun and possessive adjectives.
  5. According to the sentence types.

Note: These rules are discussed in detail below

 

1. RULES FOR CHANGING SPEECH ACCORDING TO THE REPORTING VERB USED:

We change the verb in reported speech keeping in view the tense used in reporting speech. There are two conditions for this change. They are,

Condition no 1: Present or future tense verb in reporting speech:

If the verb used in reporting speech is of PRESENT TENSE or FUTURE TENSE, then we are not going to change the verb in reported speech. It would remain the same.

For example:

Direct speech: Ali says, “I am working hard.”

In this sentence, the verb used in reporting speech is of present tense (says) so we will not be changing the tense of reported speech while converting this sentence into indirect speech. Rather, it will remain as such.

So indirect for above mentioned example will be

Indirect speech: Ali says that he is working hard.

Another example for this is:

Direct speech: She says, “When will you come?”

Indirect speech: She asks me when I will come.

 

Condition no 2: Past tense verb used in reporting speech:

If the verb in reporting speech is used in past tense, then ultimately the verb in reported speech will also be changed into past tense. This is termed as BACK-SHIFT of the tense, and is done in the following manner:

DIRECT SPEECH

      BACK-SHIFT

Present tense

Past tense

Past tense

Past perfect tense

Present perfect

Past perfect tense

Past perfect

Past perfect tense

 

Examples:

  1. Umaima said, “I am exhausted now.”

 Umaima said that she was exhausted now.

  1. They said, “We have done our homework.”

 They said that they had done their homework.”

 

  1. I said to him, “I saw your friend yesterday.”

 I told him that I had seen his friend the previous day.

  1. Haider said, “I visited Lahore last month.”

 Haider told that he had visited Lahore the previous month.

Changes according to REPORTED VERBS used:

Reported verbs always follow the reporting verbs. So we need to change our reported verb according to the reporting verb used. There are 2 cases for this change. They are:

  •       The case when the REPORTED VERB will not change.
  •       The case when the REPORTED VERB will change.

Case no 1: When REPORTED VERB will not change:

As mentioned earlier that reported verb changes consequently to the reporting verb. So the following drawn table shows all those conditions where reported verbs will remain the same and there will not be any change in them.

Reporting verb

Reported verb

Changes

Any present

  Any tense

No change

Any future

  Any tense

No change

Past tense

Universal truth

No change

Past tense

  Past perfect

No change

Past tense

  Past Perfect Continuous

No change

Past tense

Might, could, would, should.

No change

 

Examples:

  1.     He says, “I want to go to college.”

He tells/says that he wants to go to college.

  1.     The teacher said, “The Earth moves around the Sun.”

The teacher told us that the Earth moves around the Sun.

 

  1.     Ahmed said, “They had learned the lesson.”

Ahmed told them that they had learned the lesson.

  1. She said, “He might have done his task.”

She said that he might have done his task.

Case no 2: The case when REPORTED VERB will change:

In this second case, the reported verb will change according to the reporting verb used. The following table is drawn to depict changes occurring in reported verbs with respect to reporting verbs.

Reporting verbs

Reported verbs

Changes

Past tense

Any present

Relevant past

Past tense

Will, shall

Would

Past tense

Past indefinite

Past perfect

Past tense

Was, were

Had been

Past tense

May, can

Might, could

 

Examples:

  1. My mother said, “I have an equal affection for my children.”

My mother said that she had an equal affection for her children.

  1. The principal said, “We will arrange a trip next month.”

The principal told that they would arrange a trip the following month.

 

  1. My father said, “May you live a successful life.”

My father wished that I might live a successful life.

  1. He said, “He was in intense pain.”

He told that he had been in intense pain.

This was all about changing the speech according to the verb used in reporting speech. Now, we are going to deal with the changes occurring due to the tense used in reported speech.

 

2. RULES FOR CHANGING SPEECH ACCORDING TO THE TENSE USED:

We have to make amendments in indirect speech according to the tense used in REPORTED SPEECH. The tenses generally change accordingly as depicted in the chart drawn below.

 

Basic tense chart:

Direct speech

        Indirect speech

Present indefinite

E.g. He said, “You look very busy.”

Past indefinite

 He told me that I looked very busy.

Present continuous

 E.g. Muzammil said, “You are looking very busy.”

Past continuous

 Muzammil told me that I was looking very busy.

Present perfect tense

 E.g. She said, “I have gone through this topic.”

Past perfect tense

 She told that she had gone through that topic.

Present perfect continuous

 E.g. I said to you, “You have been dressing in blue.

 

Past perfect continuous

 I told you that you had been dressing in blue.

Past indefinite tense

She said to me, “I saw you.”

Past perfect tense

 She told me that she had seen you.

Past continuous tense

 I said, “I was writing an essay.”

Past perfect continuous

 I said that I had been writing an essay.

Past perfect continuous

Sunny said, “I had been working for 2 hours.”


Past perfect continuous

Sunny said that he had been working for 2 hours.

 

Future indefinite tense

 E.g. He said, “I will go to Abbottabad next year.”

Would

He told that he would go to Abbottabad the following year.

Future continuous tense

 E.g. Armeena said, “they will be working on my given task.”

Would + be + verb + ing

Armeena told that they would be working on her given task.

Future perfect tense

 E.g. He said, “I will have written my letter.”

Would + have

He told that he would have written his letter.

Future perfect continuous

E.g. She said, “I will have been teaching for 20 years next July.”

Would + have + been + verb + ing

 She said that she would have been teaching for 20 years the following July.

 

Hence, all the 12 tenses of English will be changed when we will convert them into indirect speech. But it must be kept in mind that they will only change when REPORTING VERBS are used in past tense (as profoundly discussed above).

 

3. RULES FOR CHANGING SPEECH ACCORDING TO TIME AND PLACE:

Time and place references often have to change in the following manner:

Time and Place

Changes

Here

There

This, these

That, those

This week, month, year

That week, month, year

Tomorrow

The following day or

 The next day

Next week, month, year

The following week or

 the next week or

 The week after.

Yesterday

The previous day or

  The day before.

Last week, month, year

The previous week or

the week before

Ago

Before, previously

2 weeks, months, year ago

2 weeks previously or 2 weeks before.

Tonight

That night

Last Saturday

The previous Saturday

Next Sunday

The following Sunday

Today

That day

Next

The following

Now

Then

 

Examples:

  1. They said, “We will come to meet you next week.”

They told that they would come to meet us the following week.

  1. She said, “I have visited them yesterday.”

She told that she had visited them the previous day.

  1. He said to me, “where are you going now?”

He asked me where I was going then.

  1. Alina said, “Is this your notebook?”

Alina inquired whether that was my notebook.

 

4. RULES FOR CHANGING SPEECH ACCORDING TO PERSONAL PRONOUNS AND POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES:

Personal pronouns and possessive adjectives tend to change in the following manner when we are about to change direct speech into indirect speech.

Personal pronouns and possessive adjectives

Changes

  I, me, my, mine

Corresponding pronouns and adjectives

You

      You

He

      Him

She

Her

It

That

We

They

They

  They

      Our

Their

 

Examples:

  1. He said to me, “From where you received my bag?”

He asked me from where I received his bag.

  1. I said, “You better leave now.”

I ordered him to leave then.

  1. Junaid said, “Hurrah! We have won the game.”

Junaid exclaimed with joy that they had won the game.

 

5. RULES FOR CHANGING SPEECH ACCORDING TO SENTENCE TYPES:

Sentence type is the most important thing to be considered when to change speech. It matters a lot which type of sentence is used in direct speech. So, when we convert direct speech into indirect speech we need to amend the following changes in it.

 

Sentence type

Reporting verbs

Changes

Simple

Said to

Told

Negative

Said to

Told

  Interrogative

Said to

Asked,

Inquired

Imperative

Said to

Requested,

Advised,

Ordered,

Demanded,

Bade, forbade,

Commanded.

Optative

Said to

Wished,

Prayed

Exclamatory

Said to

Exclaimed with joy, sorrow, wonder

Suggestion (use of let).

Said to

Requested,

Proposed,

Suggested.

 

Examples:

  1. Irtaza said, “Alas! I am undone.”

Irtaza exclaimed sadly that he was undone.

  1. He says, “Will you come tomorrow?”

He asks me whether I will come the following day.

  1. She said to me, “can you help me?”

She requested me if I could help her.

  1. Ali said to his son, “Work hard if you want to pass the exam.”

Ali advised his son to work hard if he wanted to pass the exam.

  1. The student said to his teacher, “Excuse me, sir.”

The student requested his teacher to excuse him.

  1. He said, “let us go now.”

He suggested that they should go then.

  1. Rashid says to them, “Good bye my friends.”

Rashid bade good bye to his friends.

 

Conclusion:

From the above-mentioned rules, we came to know that we can convert a speaker’s exact words into our own words but keeping in view all the norms of narration. All the rules must be followed in order to change the speech. The rules can be of time, pronoun, tense and sentence type used but the whole game revolves around the REPORTING VERB and REPORTED VERB used in the speech.

Note: For Online Test of Narration  Click Here 

 

 

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