Direct and Indirect Speech

Direct Speech: This refers to the quoting by a speaker or writer, of the actual utterance of another speaker or writer. This is usually indicated by the use of quotation marks, opening and closing.


  1. Obioma said, ‘I will return next month, by the grace of God.’
  2. In the word of Shakespeare ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.’
  3. Their pastor always says,’we owe nothing to ourselves but owe everything to God.’
  4. According to Acheb,’Proverbs are the palm oil with which the Igbo eat their words.,
  5. ‘We have neither been fed nor accommodated since we arrived yesterday, ’the visitors complained bitterly.

Features of Direct Speech

  1. The direct speech is enclosed with inverted commas, opening an closing.
  2. It is usually followed by a reporting verb, which may be in the past or present; for example; ‘she said’.
  3. Sometimes, the direct speech is introduced by such expressions as; ‘According to…’
  4. The direct speech is preceded by a comma or a colon, as we find in the following example; The lady always says, ‘My restaurant offers you some of the best dishes in town.’
  5. The direct speech begins with a capital letter.

Indirect Speech: This reports what a speaker or writer has said without using his exact words


  1. Obioma said that he would return the following month by the grace of God.
  2. Shakespeare says that the head that wears the crown lies uneasy.
  3. Their pastor always says that they owe nothing to themselves but owe everything to God.
  4. Achebe said that proverbs are the palm oil with which the Igbo eat their words.
  5. The visitors complained bitterly that they had neither been fed nor accommodated since they arrived the previous day.

Features of Indirect Speech

  1. Quotation marks are not used in the reported speech because it is not a direct quotation.
  2. Usually, the reporting verb found in the direct speech is used but sometimes it could be changed, if the reporter feels like doing so
  3. If the reporting verb is in the past, the verb in the reported speech would change to the past tense.

If the reporting verb is in the present or future, the verb in the reported speech does not change.

If what is expressed in the direct speech is a universal truth, no changes take place in the reported speech, no matter the nature of the reporting verb

Evaluation: Exercise iv, question 1a – 4, page 230, countdown to English


See also

Vocabulary: Latin Expression used in English

Speech Writing

Clauses | Definition, Types & Functions

Trigonometric functions


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