Reported Speech or Direct & Indirect Speech is one of the trickiest topics in Grammar. Not only must you have a good understanding of the Rules of Converting Direct and Indirect Speech, but you must also be aware of the Exceptions in Direct and Indirect Speech.
Before you begin with exceptions to the rule, however, you must know the Basics of Direct & Indirect Speech, and also make sure you don’t fall for the common misconceptions surrounding Reported Speech. So you should start here:
|He said, “I saw the sun rising in the east.”
He said that he had seen the sun rising in the east.
|He said, “Sun rises in the East.”
He said that Sun rises in the East.
In case 1 and 2, the Reporting Verb is in the past tense (said) but still the tense of only Case 1 is changed. There are certain exceptions that follow the change of tense.
Exception #1: The tense of the verb doesn’t change even if the Reporting verb is in past tense for the following cases.
Universal/ Scientific Truths:
E.g. She said, “Water boils at 100 degree Celsius.”
She said that water boils at 100 degree Celsius.
E.g. The teacher said, “Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.”
The teacher said that Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.
E.g. Mohan said, “Where there is a will there is a way.”
Mohan said that where there is a will there is a way.
E.g. She said, “I snooze my alarm everyday.”
She said that she snoozes her alarm every day.
Exception #2: The connector isn’t always ‘that’ for the following cases.
Type 1 – Yes/No type question:
‘If/whether’ is used instead of ‘that’.
|John said to Joanna, “Are you supporting Hilary Clinton?
John asked Joanna whether she was supporting Hilary Clinton.
Type 2 – ‘Wh’ type question:
The same ‘Wh’ used in the direct speech is used instead of ‘that’.
|He said, “When is Priyanka leaving for Canada?”
He asked when Priyanka was leaving for Canada.
The sentences that give advice, order, request or suggestion.
‘To’ is used instead of ‘that’ as a connector.
Use the words ordered, begged, pleaded, implored, advised, demanded, forbade etc. instead of ‘said’ as per the tone of the sentence.
|The teacher said to me,” Go in your class and learn your lesson.”
The teacher ordered me to go in my class and learn my lesson.
|He said to her,” Please don’t leave me.”
He pleaded her not to leave him.
Note: The structure of the indirect speech is always an Assertive Sentence
following the structure (subject + helping verb + verb + object).