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Reported Speech | Narration | English Grammar | CBSE | ICSE | State Boards

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

The art of narrating the words of a speaker is Narration.
There are two ways in which a speaker can express his ideas and statements
1. The Direct Speech
2. The Indirect Speech or Reported Speech
The speech in which the actual words of the speaker is given is known as ‘ The Direct Speech’
e.g. The teacher said, ‘Study sincerely and be present in the school.’ ( Direct Speech)
The speech in which the substance of the speaker’s speech is given is known as The Indirect Speech/ Reported Speech.
e.g. The teacher advised us to study sincerely and be present in the school. ( Indirect Speech)

There are three parts of a Direct Speech

a) The speaker is known as ‘Reporter’

b) The verb initiating the speech of the speaker is known as ‘The Reporting Verb’

c) The words of speaker which are reported are known as ‘The Reported Speech’

e.g Ram said, ‘I don’t know who he is. ‘

Ram: Reporter

Said: Reporting Verb

‘I don’t know who he is’’: reported speech. Note:

a) The reporting verb and the reported speech are separated by a ‘comma’

b) Reported Speech always begins with Capital letter.

c) The reported Speech is always enclosed in inverted (“………..”) commas.

d) Any tense can be used in the Reported Speech.

e) The Reported speech may consist of following types of sentences

ASSERTIVE INTERROGATIVE IMPERATIVE EXCLAMATORY.



a) If the reporting verb is in present tense or future tense, there will be no change of tense of direct speech.

e.g. He says, “ I am not feeling well.’’

Ans: He says that he is not feeling well No change of tense

e.g. She will say, ‘My father is a doctor.’

Ans: She will say that my father is a doctor.



b) If the Direct Speech contains Universal Truth, characteristics, habitual action, then there is no change of tense of direct speech in converting to reported speech.

e.g. The teacher said, ‘’New Delhi is the capital of India.’’ (No Change of Tense)

The teacher said that New Delhi is the capital of India. (Universal Truth) e.g. My friend said, ‘’ I get up every day at 6 in the morning. (No Change of Tense)

My friend said that he gets up every day at 6 in the morning. (Habitual Action) e.g. My brother said, ‘’ My watch keeps right time.’’ (No Change of tense) My brother said that his watch keeps right time. (Characteristics)

c) In assertive and negative sentences, the reporting verb ‘said ’ is converted into ‘told’ if said is followed by an object.

e.g. He said to me, ‘ I was watching a movie last night.’ (Said is followed by object ‘me’)

He told me that he had been watching a movie the previous night.




How to Convert Direct Speech into Indirect Speech in Interrogative Sentences?

a) If the interrogative sentence starts with ‘ Do/Does/Did/Have/Has/Was/Were/am/Is/Are’ the answer of which is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’, then we use ‘if’ to connect reporting verb with reported speech.

e.g. The teacher asked, Did you have your breakfast?’’

The teacher asked if I had my breakfast.

The teacher asked, ‘Have you done your homework?’

The teacher asked if I had done my homework.

b) If an interrogative sentence starts with ‘ Why/How/When/Where/ Which etc the answer of which is neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no’, then we should use the same interrogative word in reported speech to connect with reporting verb.

e.g. The teacher asked him, ‘ How old are you?’

The teacher asked him how old he was.

e.g.The teacher asked me, ‘When did you come?’

The teacher asked me when I had come.




c) In converting interrogative sentence in reported speech, always remember to use the order ‘ subject + verb+ object’. In other words, the sentence should have assertive structure reported speech.

e.g. The teacher asked ‘ What time do you sleep?
The teacher asked what time I slept. (not ‘what time did I sleep’)

How to Convert Direct Speech into Indirect Speech in Imperative Sentences?

a) If the imperative sentence in direct speech refers to some suggestions/proposals, then reporting verb is changed into ‘suggested’ or ‘ proposed’ and in reported speech ‘…… should’ is introduced.

e.g. My friend said to me, ‘ Let us go to the theatre this evening.’

My friend suggested/proposed to me that we should to the theatre that evening.

b) When the word ‘let’ in direct speech does not express any suggestions or proposals, then we should write ‘ might’ / might be allowed in reported speech instead of ‘..should’

e.g. My friend said to me, ‘ Let me do this work.’

My friend wished that he might do that work/ he might be allowed to do that work.

c) Reporting verb is also changed into ‘advise’, ‘order’, ‘request’ , ‘warn’ etc according to the context in the direct speech.

e.g The teacher said to us, ‘ Always bring textbook in the class.’

The teachers advised/instructed us to always bring textbook in the class.

e.g. The master said to the servant, ‘ Post the letter.’

The master ordered the servant to post the letter.




How to Convert Direct Speech into Indirect Speech in Exclamatory Sentences?
a) Reporting verb is changed into ‘wished’, exclaimed, prayed, applauded, exclaimed with joy, exclaimed with sorrow etc.
  • e.g. He said to me , ‘May you live long.’

  • He wished that I might live long.

  • Mother said to me, May God bless you.’

  • Mother prayed that God might bless me.

  • He said to me, ‘Good morning.’

  • He wished me good morning.

  • The boy said, ‘What a joy! We have won the game.’

  • The boy exclaimed with joy that they had won the game.

  • I said to him, ‘What a fool you are.’

  • I exclaimed that he was a great fool.

  • The commander said to the soldiers, ‘Bravo! You fought bravely.’’

  • The commander applauded the soldiers saying that they had fought bravely.

Recommended Reading: Reported Speech Worksheet

Note: To solve Exercise Questions based on Reported Speech, Click Here.


2 Comments


Thank you maam for your explanation and giving the work sheets.

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Anurag Tripathi
Anurag Tripathi
Mar 04, 2021

thanks mam


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