Difference Between Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct vs Indirect Speech

The key difference between direct and indirect speech comes from the way how each expresses the sayings of people. We tend to use direct and indirect speech when we want to express the words of another. Direct speech is when we use quotation marks when expressing the ideas of someone. In such an instance, the direct idea of the person comes across to the listeners without any alternations as it is usually word to word. However, on the other hand, in indirect speech, we remove the quotation marks and is not usually word to word. This is why it is also referred to as reported speech.

What is Direct Speech?

Direct speech is saying what someone said without any changes. Here, we use quotation marks to indicate what the person said and also use the exact words of the person. Let us try to understand this through an example.

Mary said, “I have to go to the library.”

Look at the example. What Mary said is directly given in the sentence as I have to go to the library within quotation marks. The sentence has not been altered in any manner. Before expressing what the person said we usually use a comma and then state the expression within quotation marks. This can also be said in the following manner.

“I have to go to the library tomorrow,” Mary said.

In this case, the quotation is used at the beginning of the sentence. For direct speech, both formats can be used.

What is Indirect Speech?

The indirect speech is a bit different to the direct speech. As mentioned above, this is known as reported speech and is widely used in conversation. In indirect speech, we do not use quotation marks. Instead, we use the conjunction ‘that’ and state the sentence by changing its tense. The tenses change to past tense forms since the person said it in the past. Also unlike in the direct speech, in reported speech the sentence is not word for word. Let us look at an example.

Mary said that she had to go to the library.

As you can see in the example, the quotation marks do not appear in indirect speech. The subject pronoun ‘I’ has been changed to ‘she’ and the conjunction ‘that’ has also been used in the sentence.

When using indirect speech we also have to pay attention to expressions of time. Expressions like today, now, here, tomorrow, this (week), last (Sunday), etc. change to yesterday, then, there, the following day, that (week), the previous (Sunday). For an example,

Direct speech – Clara said, “I have a class tomorrow.”
Indirect speech – Clara said that she had a class the following/next day.

Difference Between Direct and Indirect Speech

What is the difference between Direct and Indirect Speech?

As said in the beginning, the key difference between direct and indirect speech comes from the way how each expresses the sayings of people.

• Direct speech gives out the exact sentence of a person in the very way it was said with the usage of quotation marks.

• Indirect speech does not give the exact sentence but alters it.

However, both direct speech and indirect speech are capable of bringing out the meaning of the saying but through different formats.