In English grammar, sentences are the key part that helps us convey our thoughts and ideas. Without sentences, it would be impossible for us to interact, state, or speak out our thoughts. But sentences can be of different types. Different sentences convey different information in their own unique ways.
Today, we will learn about one such unique sentence structure that works on its own functionality, the direct speech. In general, direct speech can be defined as a sentence where the exact words used by some speaker or writer are used to convey the message. Here, we make a sentence that uses the same words from the original speech that some person, at some point, spoke.
However, there are certain rules that we need to follow while using a direct speech sentence. If you are not aware of them, refer to the explanations below and enlighten yourself with every rule to avoid confusion.
What is a Direct speech?
By definition, direct speech is a sentence in which the exact words used or spoken by a speaker is presented. This is a sentence structure in which the words of a person are reproduced in speech marks. This is especially used to make the readers feel engaged or quote something very important.
In simple words, direct speech is the sentence where we see quotation marks or inverted commas containing a certain set of words in the grammatical tense of when it was originally spoken. That means the message that someone at some point has written or spoken is conveyed exactly in the same manner in the present.
This form of sentence structure is used for various different purposes. However, the most common use of direct speech is storytelling or quoting a thought. It makes dialogue presentation easy and helps understand characters more interestingly and engagingly.
If you are still confused, look at the examples below to understand easily:
- “Where are you going?” said Aunt Polly.
- “Oh my god, I never thought this would happen again!” said our teacher angrily.
- “I think I will drop today’s plan,” replied Sarah, sighing.
- Harry said, “I am not well. I cannot come.”
- Our teacher yelled, “Keep quiet, or I’ll deduct all your marks.”
- “Did you play the guitar?” asked Marry.
- “Where is my new birthday gift?” Sia asked excitedly.
- “I am feeling lazy,” said Paul.
In the above examples, we can notice that different sets of words are stated inside quotation marks. And those words are evidently not being spoken in a current state. So, direct speech is a sentence where the exact words spoken at some point are written in a new sentence. This is to convey the exact message that the original speaker had conveyed.
Rules of direct speech
Now that we know what direct speech is, it is important to learn how to form and use one correctly. Direct speech is the presentation of the exact words of some person. It may seem easy in that sense. But there are some rules, especially punctuating rules, that we need to be aware of.
Some of the main rules regarding direct speech are;
• In a direct speech sentence, the speech of a particular person should always be between speech marks. That means the speech is opened and closed by speech marks, quotation marks, or inverted commas. For example: “I hate math classes,” said Vicky.
• The next important rule is that each character’s new speech will start on a new line. Also, each line of speech will begin with a capital letter.
• A line of speech usually ends with a comma, question mark, or exclamation mark. Further, if a sentence needs to be broken up for added information, we can use commas or question marks to finish the first part of the speech.
• A reporting clause mostly comes at the end of the sentence. Reporting clause means the phrase that indicates we are referring to the words that someone said or thought. They are the part that goes like: He said, Sarah asked, they screamed, etc. It is usually placed at the end of a sentence. But in some cases, it can also come in the beginning.
• Each reporting clause is ended with a full stop. But that is the case usually when it is mentioned at the end of a sentence. If a reporting clause is used at the beginning of a sentence, we will generally end it with a comma.
These are the general rules that we need to learn in order to form direct speech sentences. Missing any of these points can cause grammatical errors.
Difference between direct and indirect speech
There is another form of speech in grammar, the indirect speech. Indirect speech and direct speech are both different types of sentences that convey a message in different ways.
As we learned, direct speech is a sentence where the exact same words spoken by someone are presented. On the other hand, indirect speech is where we rephrase the words of the speaker in a sentence. In indirect speech, only the necessary or important points of someone’s message or speech are reported.
Here, unlike direct speech, we do not write the full speech of the speaker. Instead, we report the necessary content by rephrasing them in our own words.
Direct speech: “I am bored of school activities,” John screamed.
Here, the exact words used by John are conveyed. There is no change or replacement of words.
Indirect speech: Sam said that he wanted to go to the movies.
Here, the words used might not match exactly with the words used by Sam in the original context. However, the main objective is to convey the same message. And in indirect speech, we do that without quoting the person’s speech.
So, this is the basic difference between direct speech and indirect speech. Both the speech types work equally well in different situations. However, when it concerns characters and dialogues, one cannot avoid direct speech to make the sentences more interactive and engaging.