Often, we have to relate what we have seen or heard to other people. More specifically, we need to speak about what other people have said. This can be accomplished in two ways - either we can summarise in our own words what a person has said (indirect speech), or we can repeat it verbatim (direct speech, or quotes). This is the first of two High English quizzes which will test your knowledge of reported speech.
Different situations require different methods. For instance, when we read about a judgment of a court, we tend see it reported exactly the way the judge has pronounced. On the other hand, when a news reporter has attended a press conference direct quotes are less common. What was said at the conference tends to be reported in the reporter's own words.
There are conventions to be followed when reporting either directly or indirectly. Take a look at these two example sentences:
‘My brother said to me, “I think we should see mother together.”’
‘My brother said to me that we should see mother together.’
The first of these is an example of direct speech and the second of indirect speech. In the first sentence, we notice that the statement that a brother makes is written between inverted commas (also called quotation marks or quotes). We have learnt in our past lessons that actual words spoken by a speaker are always inserted between inverted commas. This signifies that the quotation is attributed to the person and there can be no confusion as to what was said. In the second sentence, we notice that we do not use quotations marks. Usually, we resort to direct speech when we feel what is said is important. On the other hand, we resort to indirect speech when we feel that what was said exactly is not important but the message conveyed is important. We can make use of both direct and indirect speech to make our communication more effective. Take the quiz that follows, which is based on the news item below.