Direct And Reported Speech The Basics Of Grammar In English Ep 365

A photograph of a lady speaker giving a presentation in hall at university centre workshop, basic English grammar.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 1760 words ⏳ Reading Time 9 min


Direct & Reported Speech - The Basics Of Grammar In English

We recently had a question put to us about direct and reported speech. Understanding this is important. It is a basic part of grammar in English. So today we run through lots of examples of both types of speech. Although we try not to spend much time on grammar, as you learn this through listening anyway, sometimes it helps some people and we are here to help.

Way back in podcast 213 which is still available in this bundle we talked about the difference between direct and indirect speech. Today we will cover the differences in direct and reported speech with more examples, and we’ve included a simple test with answers in the downloadable transcript.

If you can skip to the downloads section of our website and download all the transcripts and audio lessons for the last 6 months, for free. If you need or want more, then we keep our back catalogue of lessons available in bundles, which you can read all about here.

Most Unusual Words:

Receptionist
Steak
Yawning
Adept

Most common 2 word phrases:

PhraseCount
Reported Speech23
Direct Speech14
Go To6
She Said6
To Bed5

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Transcript: Direct And Reported Speech The Basics Of Grammar In English

Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. We’re here to help you with your English language learning. And if you haven’t tried it yet, you can also listen to our podcast on YouTube. You can listen to the audio and see the written words at the same time. What a good idea!

Direct speech and reported speech – differences explained

Shall we do a little bit of English grammar practice today? Let’s work on the difference between what’s called ‘direct speech’ and ‘reported speech’. Vocabulary first of all. The word ‘speech’, S-P-E-E-C-H, is just another way of saying ‘speaking’. ‘Speech’ is a noun and if you talk about ‘your speech’, it means your way, your style of speaking. Notice the slight spelling inconsistency here – the verb ‘to speak’ is spelt S-P-E-A-K, but the word ‘speech’, obviously related, is spelt S-P-E-E-C-H.

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A photograph of an African girl taking driving test with professional instructor, a topic discussed in this English language grammar lesson.

©️ Adept English 2020


And if we’re talking about ‘direct speech’ and ‘reported speech’, these are grammar terms. The word ‘direct’ can mean lots of things, but the overall meaning is ‘straight’ or ‘straight to’, or ‘straight from’. So if you take a ‘direct route’ in your car, it means that you travel the shortest possible distance between two places. If you take a ‘direct flight’, that means your flight goes only to your destination, it doesn’t call anywhere else on the way. And ‘reported speech’ means that you’re not quoting directly the words that the person said. You’re saying it in your own words. You’re relating it as a story. Let’s give some examples to make it easier to understand.

So ‘direct speech’ would be often written down, or when you quote someone direct, so:-

  • ‘I’ll go to the restaurant today’ said Sam.

In that sentence, if you look at it written down, it has quotation marks, ‘I’ll go to the restaurant today’ is a direct quote – these are the words that Sam said. So that’s direct speech.

Reported speech might sound like this.

  • Sam said that he would go to the restaurant today.

So this is someone else telling the story of what Sam said. And the verb changes, sometimes the tense changes because it’s being talked about in the past. It’s already happened. Reported speech has no quotation marks, because it doesn’t use the exact words that the person said. So that example again?

  • Direct speech - ‘I’ll go to the restaurant today’ said Sam.
  • And reported speech - Sam said he would go to the restaurant today.

Why is reported speech so important?

So you’ll come across direct speech in written form most often – like you’d read in a book. Reported speech is used when you’re speaking. In life, you’ll often witness conversations, people talking and then you’ll describe them afterwards. So we use reported speech, in spoken communication all the time. We take our memory of a conversation and we put it into reported speech.

Video

Examples to help understanding of reported speech

Let’s do some more examples – I think it’s useful because there’s quite a lot to change about the sentence sometimes. It’s a good exercise to test your language skills and we do it all the time in life.

  • ‘Can Omar come home with me after school?’ asked Oliver. That’s direct speech and….

  • Oliver asked if Omar could come home with him after school. That’s reported speech – notice in the transcript there’s no question mark and no quotations – no quotation marks.

  • Emily said ‘Oh, I’m very happy!’ when she past her driving test – that’s direct speech.

  • Emily said that she was very happy, when she past her driving test. That’s reported speech.

  • ‘Where’s your mother?’ the old lady asked the little girl – direct speech.

  • Reported speech would be – the old lady asked the little girl where her mother was.

So in that example, notice again no quotation marks, no question mark. And that’s because the sentence is no longer asking a question, it’s reporting a fact. Notice that the meaning stays the same, but the word order may also change. Its this kind of adjustment that you make automatically when you do ‘listen & learn’ as your method of learning English. It comes much more naturally to you.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Seven Rules of Adept English Course

I’m going to give you some examples to practise making reported speech from direct speech in a minute. First of all, let me remind you of our Seven Rules of Adept English Course. If you want to learn how to make the most of our podcasts and how to speed up your English language learning, so that you don’t waste time, then sign up for this course.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

It’s free – you don’t have to pay, it costs zero, nothing! And this course includes video too. It will give you seven ideas, seven concepts to use when you’re learning English – but most of these concepts work whatever new language you’re trying to learn. You’ve nothing to lose, so sign up on our website at adeptenglish.com today.

One more example of converting direct speech to reported speech

Anyway, back to direct and reported speech. One more example and then I’ll give you some to practise on.

  • The receptionist looked at me and asked ‘What’s your address?’ That’s direct speech. I’ll repeat that sentence again and leave a gap for you to try and put it into ‘reported speech’.
  • The receptionist looked at me and asked ‘What’s your address?’
  • The receptionist looked at me and asked ‘What’s your address?’

OK, so your version of reported speech could be something like:-

  • The receptionist looked at me and asked me what my address was. OR
  • The receptionist looked at me and asked my address.

Your turn to practise converting to reported speech

Here are some more examples for you to try - I’ll put some answers in the transcript, but obviously there’s not just one right answer to this. Here goes:-

  • ‘I’m tired and I’m going to bed now’ she said, yawning and standing up.

  • ‘I’m tired and I’m going to bed now’ she said, yawning and standing up.

  • ‘I’m tired and I’m going to bed now’ she said, yawning and standing up.

  • My dad came in from work and announced ‘I’ve got a promotion!’.

  • My dad came in from work and announced ‘I’ve got a promotion!’.

  • My next door neighbour shouted ‘Stop climbing over my fence – I’ll throw your ball back over!’

  • My next door neighbour shouted ‘Stop climbing over my fence – I’ll throw your ball back over!’

One more?

  • The waiter asked ‘How would you like your steak cooked?’ and she replied ‘Oh, medium rare please.’
  • The waiter asked ‘How would you like your steak cooked?’ and she replied ‘Oh, medium rare please.’

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Solve The Maths Problem To Download Podcast & Transcript

Hopefully that’s good practice for you – putting those direct speech sentences into reported speech! Let me know if you want me to do more of these, so that you can practise a bit further.

Enough for now….Ooh, before I say that – remember that there are some answers in the transcript, if you want to have a look. There’s more than one right answer to these, of course.

Suggestions for reported speech:-

Just answer the simple maths problem above and you can download the transcript and get the answers in the PDF transcript.

Goodbye

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Founder

Hilary

@adeptenglish.com

The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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