What is Direct Speech? - Learn the Meaning, Definition, Rules and Usage with Examples

In English grammar, the term ‘speech’ refers to the process of communicating or expressing one’s thoughts. It is an exchange of ideas or even a conversation. There are two ways in which you can report speech – direct speech and indirect speech. Direct speech is used to report or rather repeat the words spoken by the speaker or writer in the way it is told by the speaker, whereas indirect speech is the way in which you convey what someone said to another person, not necessarily using the exact words of the speaker.

In this article, you will learn the meaning and definition of direct speech. Also, go through the rules to be followed when using the direct speech and the examples given to understand how to use them accurately.

Table of Contents

What is Direct Speech?

Direct speech is a word-to-word repetition of what the speaker or writer has conveyed. In other words, it is a way in which you can report the exact words of the speaker. Direct speech can be used to convey something that is being said in the present or to tell someone about something that is to happen at a later point of time. Let us now take a look at how various dictionaries define direct speech to further understand what it is.

Definition of Direct Speech

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, direct speech is defined as “a speaker’s actual words.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “when you use direct speech, you repeat what someone has said using exactly the words they used.” The Collins Dictionary defines direct speech as “speech which is reported by using the exact words that the speaker used” and according to the Macmillan Dictionary, direct speech is defined as “the exact words that someone has said.”

Rules to be Followed When Using Direct Speech

Like every other grammar topic, there are rules to be followed when using direct speech. Let us look at each one of them to know how direct speech can be used accurately and effectively.

  • The first point that you have to remember is that direct speech is the repetition of the exact words of the speaker and so you do not have a choice to add or remove words to and from what is said.
  • For the same reason, these words spoken by the speaker have to be enclosed within quotation marks or speech marks.
  • When using direct speech, you can follow the formula given below.

Name of the speaker says/said, “Exact words of the speaker.”

  • You can also use words like replied, asked, screamed, etc. to state what the speaker said according to the emotion in which it is being spoken.
  • Immediately after one of the above-mentioned verbs, add a comma followed by open quotation marks, the words of the speaker (capitalise the first letter of the first word) followed by a period, question mark or exclamation mark and the close quotation marks.
  • Also, make sure you close the quotation marks after the punctuation mark (full stop/question mark/exclamation mark).
  • Finally, keep in mind that you cannot change the words, or paraphrase what has been said by the speaker when you are using direct speech.

Tips to Practise Direct Speech

You can become an expert in using direct speech if you practise well. Here are some ways you can do it.

  • Try reading short stories and converting it into a dialogue. Change the lines of every character into direct speech.
  • Write a story on your own. Use direct speech to convey all the dialogues.
  • Narrate or write about an incident or a day in your life using direct speech.

Examples of Direct Speech

Now that you know the rules to be followed, take a look at the following examples to have a better idea of how it is done.

  • Devi said, “I am teaching French for first year and second year college students.”
  • Freeda asked her brother, “Can you pick me up on your way home?”
  • “My friends are finally coming home this weekend”, said Sheena.
  • The students replied, “We are ready!”
  • Gayatri siad, “My father has been working as a doctor for ten years. “
  • “What are you going to do with the broken mirror?”, asked Mridula.
  • Carol said, “I have planned to wear a grey dress for the prom.”
  • The teacher says, “You have to make your submissions before 8 a.m. on Monday.”
  • The little boy said excitedly, “That was wonderful!”
  • Maduri said, sitting on the sofa, “I am really happy I finally took time to come see you.”

Test Your Understanding of Direct Speech

Rearrange the following sentences to form direct speech and punctuate them appropriately.

1. vishal / my / is / in / brother / participating / race / said / the / running

2. asked / i / devi / like / maths / problems / solving / free time/ your / in / do / you

3. friends / said / wearing / we / my / are / red / for / dresses / wedding / the / reception

4. responded / teacher / nobody / when / have / completed / the / you / project / many / of / how / asked / the

5. reach / says / tonight / bangalore / he / will / i

6. guest / the / danced / children / the / chief / said / beautifully

7. mom / Finn’s / they / all / said / singing / favourite / are / songs / his

8. Bellas / susan / are / the / said / live / performing / world / the / acapella / at / raiser / curtain

9. love / father / said / i / my / you

10. sing / asked / you / with / maria / her / me / will

Now, if you finished rearranging the sentences, check if you have done it correctly from the answers given below.

1. Vishal said, “My brother is participating in the running race.”

2. I asked Devi, “Do you like solving maths problems in your freetime?”

3. My friends said, “We are wearing red dresses for the wedding reception.”

4. Nobody responded when the teacher asked, “How many of you have completed the project?”

5. He says, “I will reach Bangalore tonight.”

6. The chief guest said, “The children danced beautifully.”

7. Finn’s mom said, “They are singing all his favourite songs.”

8. “The Bellas are performing live at the World Acapella Curtain Raiser”, said Susan.

9. My father said, “I love you.”

10. Maria asked, “Will you sing with me?”

Frequently Asked Questions on Direct Speech in English

What is direct speech?

Direct speech is a word-to-word repetition of what the speaker or writer has conveyed. In other words, it is the way in which you report the exact words of the speaker. Direct speech can be used to convey something that is being said in the present or to tell someone at a later point of time.

What is the definition of direct speech?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, direct speech is defined as “a speaker’s actual words.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “when you use direct speech, you repeat what someone has said using exactly the words they used.” The Collins Dictionary defines direct speech as “speech which is reported by using the exact words that the speaker used” and according to the Macmillan Dictionary, direct speech is defined as “the exact words that someone has said.”

What is the formula of direct speech?

When using direct speech, you can follow the formula given below.
Name of the speaker says/said, “Exact words of the speaker.”

How do you punctuate the sentence when using direct speech?

Immediately after the phrase mentioning who said the particular sentence, add a comma followed by open quotation marks, the words of the speaker (capitalise the first letter of the first word) followed by a period, question mark or exclamation mark and the close quotation marks.

Give some examples of direct speech.

Here are a few examples of direct speech that you can refer to.

  • The teacher says, “You have to make your submissions before 8 a.m. on Monday.”
  • The little boy said excitedly, “That was wonderful!”
  • Maduri said, sitting on the sofa, “I am really happy I finally took time to come see you.”
  • Devi said, “I am teaching French for first year and second year college students.”
  • Freeda asked her brother, “Can you pick me up on your way home?”

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