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Indirect Speech for Assertive and Interrogative Sentences Rules with Examples

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Indirect Speech Assertive sentences

To change assertive sentences into indirect speech, the reporting verb “say” and “said” are changed into “tell” and “told” if an object follows them; otherwise, they are retained. The inverted commas are replaced by the conjunction that in the reported speech.

Examples

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
David says, “I am an engineer.” David says that he is an engineer.
My friend said to me, “I don’t believe you.” My friend told me that he didn’t believe me.
Sara said to me, “I am ill.” Sara told me that she was ill.
Tom said, “I am planning to work with this company.” Tom said that he was planning to work with that company.
Kate said, “I want to buy a new bike.” Kate said that she wanted to buy a new bike.

Note: We don’t need to change the tense if the information in the direct speech is still valid.

  • Direct: Mr. Sanu said, “The moon is shining tonight.”
  • Indirect: Mr. Sanu said that the moon was shining that night.
  • Direct: Tom said, “I know your brother.”
  • Indirect: Tom said that he knew my brother. 

The tense of the reported speech does not change if the reporting verb is in the present or future tense.

  • Direct: I say, “I shall go to London.”
  • Indirect: I say that I shall go to London.
  • Direct: The older man says, “I am poor.”
  • Indirect: The older man says that he is poor.
  • Direct: Ali says to me, “I am fine.”
  • Indirect: Ali tells me that he is fine.

Indirect Speech Negative Assertive Sentences Examples 

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
“No, Ahmad,” he said, “You didn’t study last night.” He said to Ahmad that he had not studied the previous night.
“Work is not what it seems,” said the officer. The officer said that work is not what it seems.
“The students want to go somewhere for holidays, but we don’t know where to go.” The students said they wanted to go somewhere for holidays, but they didn’t know where to go.
Judy said, “My brother is not very well.” Judy said that his father was not very well.
“Do not shout,” Akram said to me. Akram told me not to shout.
Sunil said, “I wasn’t laughing.” Sunil said that he had not been laughing.
Sonu said, “I do not take the paper.” Sonu said that he did not take the paper.


Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences 

To change interrogative sentences from direct to indirect speech. They are divided into two types.

Simple Interrogative

The interrogative sentence answered in “yes” or “no” is called simple interrogative. These sentences typically begin with auxiliary or model verbs like is, am, are, was, were, will, shall, can, may, should, do, did, does, etc.

Examples
Are you married?
Can you speak English?
May I come in?
Will she come tomorrow?

To turn this type of questions sentences into indirect speech, the words “If” or “whether” are used instead of inverted commas before the question. The word if and whether have no difference in meaning, but whether is more formal than if.  The conjunction “that” and question mark “?” isn’t used in indirect speech. The rules for change in tense of the sentence are applied similar to other sentences, but the sentence will not start with an auxiliary or model verb.

Common reporting verbs used in interrogative sentences are asked, inquired, demanded, wondered, admit, announce, want to know, etc. 


Indirect Speech Interrogative Sentences Examples 

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
The teacher said to me, “Do you know her address?” The teacher asked me if I knew her address.
Saleem said to Hassan, “Have you time to do it?” Saleem asked Hassan if he had had time to do it.
I said to Akram, “Will you marry her?” I asked Akram if I would marry her.
His Father said to him, “Did you see the supervisor yesterday?” His Father asked him if he had seen the supervisor the day before.
Sara said to her friend, “Would you please give me your phone?” Sara requested her friend to give her his phone.
She said to her friend, “Would you like to join our group?” She invited her friend to join her group.
Ann said (to me), Are you sick?” Ann asked me if I was sick.
“Have you spent all the money?” asked John. John asked me if I had spent all the money.
Sue said to him, “Are you tired?” Sue wanted to know if he was tired.


To report a reply, we use the verb answer or reply in the reported speech. For example

Direct: Ahmad said to Ann, “I am not tired.”
Indirect: Ahmad answered/replied that he wasn’t tired.

Double Interrogative

The question which cannot be answered in “yes” or “no” is called double interrogative. Such types of questions required a little detailed answer. Double interrogative sentences are generally beginning with question words, how whom, what, etc.

To turn double interrogative sentences (also called information questions) into indirect speech, the words “If” or “whether” aren’t used in these questions. The question words replace the inverted commas (when, where, what, how, etc.)—question marks and the word “that” as a conjunction is not used in indirect speech. The tense of the sentence is changed according to the rules applied in normal sentences.

Indirect Speech Double Interrogative Sentence Examples

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
The professor said to us, “What are you doing?” The professor asked us what we were doing.
The stranger said to her, “What is your name?” The stranger asked her what her name was.
Hassan said to Salman, “Why did you do it?” Hassan asked Salman why he had done it.
Akram said to me, “Where were you this morning?” Akram inquired me where I was this morning.
Nadeem said, “Where were you yesterday?” Nadeem asked where I had been the day before.
Her brother said to her, “What is the problem?” Her brother wanted to know what the problem was.
“Who is your Urdu teacher?” She asked me who my Urdu teacher was.


If the direct speech uses the verb “do,” it is left out in indirect speech.

  • Direct: He said, “What do you say.”
  • Indirect: He asked me what I said.
  • Direct: What do you do?
  • Indirect: He asked what she does.
  • Direct: He said, “What do you usually eat.”
  • Indirect: He asked me what I usually eat.

Reporting Questions with "OR"

Questions in the direct speech that uses “or” in the direct speech can also be changed into indirect speech using “if” or “whether.

  • Direct: Ali said, “Does Asma want tea or coffee”?
  • Indirect:  Ali asked if Asma wanted tea or coffee.
  • Direct: They said to him, “Do you want to play with us or go to bed?”
  • Indirect: They asked him if he wanted to play with them or go to bed.
  • Direct: My roommate said to me, “Did you decide to study or sleep?”
  • Indirect: My roommate asked if I decided to study or sleep.

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