Narration is the art of reporting the words of a speaker. There are two ways of expressing the speech of speaker i.e. Direct Speech and Indirect Speech.
In Direct Speech the actual or exact words of the speaker are presented without any change whereas, in Indirect Speech, the actual words of the speaker are transformed as per requirement and then presented.
- He says, “Scorekhel.com is a good website.” [Direct Speech]
- He says that Scorekhel.com is a good website. [Indirect Speech]
♦ There are two parts of sentences in a Direct Speech i.e. Reporting Verb or Reporting Speech and Reported Speech. In the above example, part of the sentence which is out of inverted comma is called Reporting Speech (He says, says is reporting verb) and the one within the inverted comma is Reported Speech (“Scorekhel.com is a good website.”).
In Competitive exams in India, questions are generally framed from Direct, Indirect conversion; for which we need to learn some basic rules of conversion.
1) Remove the comma and the inverted commas from the sentence in direct speech and replace them with an appropriate conjunction. In case of assertive/ exclamatory/ optative sentence replace it with the conjunction that and in case of interrogatory sentence, if the question is of yes/ no type replace it with a conjunction if or whether else don’t use any conjunction.
2) Change the reporting verb according to the reporting verb like change said to → told, say to → tell etc. (remember that tell is a transitive verb therefore no preposition is used after it, hence we directly use object after tell)
3) Change the pronoun of reported speech according to a rule designated as SON where S stands for Subject, O stands for Object, N stands for No change.
a) When no object of Reporting Verb is present, First-person changes according to the subject of Reporting Verb [S]
b) When there is an object of Reporting Verb, the Second person (you, me, her etc.) changes according to Object of Reporting Verb. [O]
c) There is no change, if it is a Third person. [N]
Direct: He said, “I like Scorekhel.com.”
Indirect: He said that he liked Scorekhel.com. [change according to subject of reporting verb (He) as no object is present]
Direct: I said, “I like Scorekhel.com.”
Indirect: I said that I liked Scorekhel.com. [change according to subject of reporting verb (I) as no object is present]
Direct: He said to me, “You have finished puzzle.”
Indirect: He told me that I have finished puzzle. [change according to object of reporting verb (me)]
Direct: He said to her, “You have finished puzzle.”
Indirect: He told her that she had finished puzzle. [change according to object of reporting verb (her)]
Note: If you find the above rule confusing, you may change pronoun, assuming yourself in narrating the direct sentence to a third person (who is out of context of the given sentence) and your senses will automatically respond the pronoun which is to be used. (This method is more reliable)
4) Change tense of reported speech according to reporting verb, if the reporting verb is in present or future tense (like say to) there is no change in reported speech.
Direct: Reena says, “I take the test from ScoreKhel.com.”
Indirect: Reena says she takes the test from ScoreKhel.com. [no change in tense, as reporting verb (say) is in present tense]
5) If the reporting verb is in the past tense (like said to) then change in tense/ adverbs/ modals are as below:-
A) Change in Tense of Reported Speech (content within inverted comma).
• Simple present → Simple past → Past perfect → No change
• Present continuous → Past continuous → Past perfect continuous → No change
• Present perfect/ present perfect continuous → Past perfect/ past perfect continuous → No change
[if reported speech is in the simple present tense, it changes to simple past in indirect conversion and so on, as ordered above]
♦ Note: If Reported Speech is universal truth / Idiom / Phrase/ habitual action / historical fact / Imagination/ simultaneous actions then there is no change in its tense in Direct-Indirect Conversion.
B) Change the adverbs of the Direct Speech as below: -
today → that day, tomorrow → the next day, yesterday → the previous day/ the day before, tonight → that night, Last → the previous, here → there, this → that, these → those, ago → before, now → then, thus → so.
C) Change the Modals as below: -
• shall/will -> should/ would, may -> might, can -> could
Direct: Rahul said, “I will do it now or never”.
Indirect: Rahul said that he would do it then or never.
Direct: Mini said to me, “I have studied from ScoreKhel.com.”
Indirect: Mini told me that she had studied from ScoreKhel.com.
Direct: He said, “The Sun rises in the east.”
Indirect: He said that the Sun rises in the east. (Universal truth)
Direct: Mini said to me, “I write with my left hand.”
Indirect: Mini told me that she writes with her left hand. (Habitual fact)