What Is Indirect Speech?


1 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Indirect or reported speech is used to give the sense of what someone has said, rather than quoting their words directly. Take a sentence like, "I'm tired," said Tim. If we repeated this to someone else, we would probably say "Tim said he was tired" and not repeat the exact words "I'm tired." You can see that we change from the present to the past tense to do this. Reported speech usually goes back one tense, because when you report an event it is no longer present. So, "I haven't finished yet," said Tim becomes "Tim said he hadn't finished yet.
More often, indirect speech is used to give a more general flavour of what someone has said. Take a sentence like "Please, please, don't tell anyone what happened, Emma!" cried Tim. We might change this to "Tim begged Emma not to…" There are a number of "reporting verbs" which are used for this, including beg, order, admit, demand, deny and invite.

Answer Question