CIP Online English Learning - Direct Speech

What is Direct Speech?

Teacher Catherine

Direct speech is repeating the actual words of a speaker, also called quoted speech, for example, “I’m going,” she said. It is usually enclosed in quotation marks or inverted commas but could be enclosed in guillemet. We do not change any spoken words on using this. 

Examples:

  • “Send me the data before this day ends,” her sister said.
  • The little boy shouted, “Why do I have to do that?”
  • His father keeps nagging at him, “Save what you have and stop buying compulsively.”
  • “I will buy you a present, happy birthday…”, he whispered.

Parts

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, speech reports consist of two parts: the reporting clause and the reported clause. The reporting clause includes a verb such as say, tell, ask, reply, shout, usually in the past simple, and the reported clause includes what the original speaker said.

Chunk it.

His father keeps nagging at him, “Save what you have and stop buying compulsively.”

The reported clause here is, “Save what you have and stop buying compulsively.”

The reporting clause here is, His father keeps nagging at him.

If the reporting clause is before the direct speech, put a comma before it.

Put the exact words inside the quotation marks or inverted commas.

Do not forget to capitalize the first letter of your reported clause. Then put a period or proper punctuation mark before the quotation mark or inverted commas.

“Send me the data before this day ends,” her sister said. 

In this example, direct speech is before the reporting clause. The rules stay the same, write the exact spoken words inside the quotation mark starting with a capital letter but put a comma before closing the quotation mark then ending with your reporting clause and put a period at the end.

When to use it?

We use direct speech when we want to share a story, news or anything about someone or something and we want to use that person’s exact words. In writing, we quote text from famous people thus learning direct speech is handy.

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