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Grammar 63 - Reported Speech 2
In direct speech the quoted words must always be placed between inverted commas.

Grammar 63 - Reported Speech 2

Sometimes we read reports because we are interested in what a celebrity, an authority, a famous writer, a famous sportsman or any other person we are interested in has said exactly and we would like to draw our own conclusion from what is reported. When a writer is reporting the words of someone else, he/she resorts to direct speech or indirect speech. When a writer reports speech attributed to a particular person verbatim, we call it direct speech and these words are placed between inverted commas or quotation marks. If the writer merely gives their own version of the words they are reporting we call it indirect speech and there is no need for inverted commas. This is the second of two High English quizzes which will show you how to use direct and indirect speech correctly.

We have learnt in our past lessons that the actual words spoken by a speaker are represented by placing them between inverted commas or quotation marks. This signifies that the quotation is attributed to the person and there can be no confusion as to what was said. But there are other rules of grammar to be followed:

A comma or colon is placed before the words quoted.
The end mark in reported speech is always a full stop. However, the end mark within the quotation marks would depend on the mood; context and meaning expressed and could be a full stop, an exclamatory mark, or a question mark.
The first letter of the quote within the quotation marks is always capitalised.

Writers, and more specifically newspaper reporters, rely heavily on reported speech and they use a combination of direct and indirect speech to communicate to their readers effectively. They make their report very interesting by interspersing quotations with their own interpretation of the speech they have heard. Read the news item that is reproduced as reported in an online publication, take the quiz that follows and learn to mix up direct and indirect speech in your written communication.

Online Report

Parliamentary Affairs Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, ruled out any resignation and maintained that there can be a debate in which the Opposition can express its views.

He insisted that neither Swaraj nor Raje had done anything illegal or unethical that they should resign. Raje was not even Chief Minister at that time, he added.

"We want to accommodate the Opposition... Let us have a discussion... If they want to express their point of view, we are ready," Naidu said.

Reacting sharply, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "the unwarranted, uncharitable and provocative statement by the Finance Minister and BJP, accusing Congress of disruption makes it abundantly clear that the government is neither serious nor sincere in breaking the deadlock in Parliament."

"The blame of Parliament's not functioning lies squarely with the Prime Minister for his arrogance and obduracy," Sharma said in a statement.

The Congress leader said it was "ironical that Arun Jaitley is asking the Congress to reflect whereas as per the government's own claim is that the Parliament has transacted more business in the last one year as compared to the previous 10 years.

"The credit for the Parliament work and clearing important legislative work in the last one year belongs to the responsible and mature Opposition whereas the blame for the derailment of the legislative business in the previous 10 long years lies with the BJP."

The former Union Minister asked Jaitley and BJP "not to give patronising sermons to the Congress but to collectively reflect and apologise for their own conduct while in Opposition."

He said, "It is the responsibility of the Congress and the Opposition to unmask the duplicity of the Prime Minister and the BJP to expose their hypocrisy, double speak and double standard on propriety, probity and accountability.

"The Congress party is resolute and duty-bound to ensure accountability for acts of commission, omission and abuse of office and gross impropriety."

Dubbing Congress as "confused", Sitharaman said earlier Congress demanded a debate on the Lalit Modi issue. But when the government agreed to immediately "and to the shock of Congress", they demanded that the resignations should come first and only then would they participate in a debate.

She claimed that Congress has put itself in an "untenable position" and has "pushed itself against the wall" by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan.

The minister also sought to drive a wedge in the Opposition unity by claiming that while Congress is disrupting Parliamentary proceedings other Opposition parties are looking forward to a debate on important issues in the House.

At the same time, she said the government has no intent to "divide" the Opposition and wants everybody on-board.

With regard to Vyapam scam, she said Parliament rules do not permit debate on state issues.

However, she said "rules can be changed" if members want so as she contended that "there are other members, who want a debate on (Congress-ruled) Kerala solar scam or the (Himachal Pradesh's Congress Chief Minister) Virbhadra Singh corruption issue", in an apparent bid to nail the Congress.
1.
Which kind of reporting used in the above passage?
Only direct speech.
Only indirect speech.
No direct or indirect speech.
Both direct and indirect speech.
It is evident from the passage that it consists of direct and indirect speech. Direct speech is represented by placing words attributed to the speaker between inverted commas or quotation marks
2.
How many times was direct or indirect speech attributed to Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu?
One direct and two indirect speeches.
No direct or indirect speeches.
Two direct speeches and one indirect speech.
One direct speech and one indirect speech.
The first two paragraphs represent indirect speech and direct speech attributed to the minister. The second paragraph represents both indirect speech and direct speech evidenced by the statement placed under inverted commas
3.
"Confused" and "and to the shock of Congress" are direct speech attributed to who?
Sitharaman
No-one
Raje
Swaraj
Though the words are placed under inverted commas, it is not necessary that it is an actual quote. Here, the speaker is using the words under inverted commas to highlight a point and they are not direct quotes attributed to anyone
4.
In the report, Congress leader Anand Sharma's words have been shown in which style?
In both direct and indirect speech.
In indirect speech only.
In direct speech only.
In neither direct nor indirect speech.
It is clear from the report, the leader has been quoted only in direct speech as all that is attributed to the leader has been placed under inverted commas
5.
How many times has Swaraj been reported as saying something?
Three times.
Two times.
Once only.
Not at all.
Actually, Swaraj is one of the subjects being reported on. There is no statement attributed to Swaraj
6.
'She claimed that Congress has put itself in an "untenable position" and has "pushed itself against the wall" by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan.'
What kind of a sentence is this?
Indirect speech.
Direct speech.
Both indirect and direct speech.
Just a statement.
It is clear from the context of the sentence that the phrases under inverted commas are used for emphasis. In fact, the entire sentence is indirect speech attributed to Sitharaman
7.
'She claimed that Congress has put itself in an "untenable position" and has "pushed itself against the wall" by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan.'
Convert this sentence into direct speech.
She claimed "Congress has put itself in an untenable position and has pushed itself against the wall by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan."
She claimed, "Congress has put itself in an "untenable position" and has "pushed itself against the wall" by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan."
She claimed, "Congress has put itself in an untenable position and has pushed itself against the wall by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan."
She claimed, "Congress has put itself in an untenable position and has pushed itself against the wall by demanding resignations of Swaraj, Raje and Chauhan".
Remember that you place a comma just before the quotation starts. The first letter of the first word at the beginning of the quotation is capitalised. The full stop comes within the quotation marks
8.
What is the necessary condition to differentiate between direct and indirect speech?
To hyphenate the words attributed to a person.
To place the words attributed to a person between inverted commas.
To capitalise the words attributed to a person.
To italicise the words attributed to a person.
The necessary condition is to place the words between inverted commas
9.
Which of the following options is related more to indirect speech?
When we are interested in giving less information.
When we are interested in making sentences very long.
When we are interested in the exact words.
When we are not interested in the exact words.
Remember that we have to communicate what we want to say properly and here we may use indirect speech when we are not concerned so much with who said what as much as with what was said
10.
Which of the following options is related more to indirect speech?
Dramatic effect.
Authenticity.
A sense of urgency.
All of the above.
All the above options help to communicate better and when it is shown as directly coming from an authority there is a ring of authenticity to the communication.
Author:  V T Narendra

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