DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH
The difference between direct and indirect or (reported speech) is shown in:
He said: ‘I am very angry’ (DIRECT SPEECH)
He said that he was very angry (INDIRECT OR REPORTED SPEECH)
Indirect speech subordinates the words of the speaker in a -that clause within the reporting sentence.
In the case of direct speech, the exact words are ‘incorporated’ (using quotation marks in writing) within the reporting sentence and retain the status of an independent clause but with a function in the reporting sentence which may be classed as a comment clause.
It may occur before, within (very frequent) or after the speech itself. In medial and final position there can be a subject inversion, it sounds archaic when the subject is a pronoun.
BACKSHIFT AND OTHER CHANGES
Several changes are made in converting direct to indirect speech and their effect is one of distancing.
-1st and 2nd person pronouns are changed to 3rd person
-There is a change from this/these to that/those, from here to there and from now to then.
-The most important change is in the verb phrase(back-shift) that occurs when the reporting verb is in the past tense , the verbs change as follows
Present – Past
Past- Past Perfect
Present Perfect- Past Perfect
Past Perfect- Past Perfect
Thus, if we move into the past for the reporting clause, there is a corresponding shift into the past (or further into the past) in the reported clause.
-If the reporting verb is in the present there is no change.
EXCEPTIONS TO DISTANCING RULES
-If the situation does not imply it there is not 2nd to 3rd person
‘You are wrong, John’ said Mary
(John reporting) Mary said that I was wrong
-Backshift is only obligatory if the validity of the statement reported holds only for the part of the utterance.
Socrates said ‘I am a citizen, not of Athens, but of the world’
Socrates said that he was a citizen, not of Athens, but of the world
Socrates said ‘Nothing can harm a good man’
Socrates said that nothing could/can harm a good man
INDIRECT STATEMENTS, QUESTIONS, EXCLAMATIONS, AND COMMANDS
Our examples have so far been statements. Questions, exclamations, and commands are converted into indirect speech as follows:
Indirect Question- Dependent wh-clause or if-clause.
Indirect Exclamation- Dependent wh-clause
Indirect Command- To-infinitive (without subject)
What has been said about back-shift applies to questions and exclamations as well as to statements. Indirect commands, in contrast, cannot incorporate back-shift, as they contain no finite verb. The reporting verb in commands has to be followed by an indirect object.
THE MODAL AUXILIARIES AND THE REPORTED SPEECH
Back-shift in modals
Must had to
The other forms ought to, need, had better remain the same
FREE INDIRECT SPEECH
It is a half-way stage between direct and indirect speech, used in narrative writing. It is a form of indirect speech without reporting clause is omitted and with some elements of the direct speech (Direct questions forms, vocatives, tag questions, etc…). It is a representation of a stream of consciousness rather than actual speech. “He though” would be a better reporting verb than “he said”.
In the cases of indirect speech involving mental activity verbs, negation can be transferred to the reporting verbs.
He didn’t think that Mary was pretty
He thought that Mary wasn’t pretty
These two sentences are virtually synonym while two sentences with say as reporting verb have different meaning
He did not say that Mary was pretty
He said That Mary wasn’t pretty