What is Narration in English Grammar?

In English grammar, there are different concepts that help us portray our thoughts and ideas in various ways. One such concept that we will discuss today related to expressing a speech is called narration.

In a general sense, narration can be defined as the system of reporting the words of a particular person in a new sentence. This concept consists of sentences that contain the words or the speech of someone who spoke at some point.

It may seem confusing, but Narration is a very basic concept in English grammar. There are two broad divisions in narration, namely direct speech and indirect speech that help narrate words in two different ways.

What is Narration?

By definition, we can define narration as a concept in English grammar that reports the words or speech of some person or a speaker. It is the art of conveying a person’s speech in a new sentence indicating the same meaning or message.

So, in simple words, Narration consists of sentences that help in telling or conveying what someone said at a point in time. That means it is the system of expressing the words or speech of a particular speaker at a different time.

There are two distinct ways of expressing a person’s speech or words. This gives the two classifications in Narration, direct speech and indirect speech. These are the two kinds of speech in grammar. The former, direct speech, is also known as the reporting speech, and the latter, the indirect speech, is also known as the reported speech.

What is Direct speech?

In a general sense, direct speech can be defined as a sentence where the exact same words of the speaker are used to express the speaker’s speech. That means direct speech induces repetition of the exact words that the speaker spoke or said at some point in time in speech marks or quotation marks.

In simple words, we express a speech in direct speech in a way that the original speaker is saying something by himself. There is no change of words and no alteration of the tense of the verbs. Here, we use a reporting clause or verb that indicates we are referring to someone else’s speech or words, such as he said, she said, etc. And then, the reported clause, which consists of the original speech of the speaker.

In short, this is the system of narrating someone’s words by using quotation marks or inverted commas in a sentence, making no changes to the originally used words.

Let us look at some examples to have a better idea:

  • Jonesy said, “The school is going to close for three days during Christmas.
  • We are never going to make it to the town,” said Sia, exhaustedly.
  • Our teacher asked, “Are you doing well?”
  • Who is going to the fest tomorrow with me?”, asked Meena.

As we can see, the sentences contain speech marks within which a certain set of words spoken by some person is present. Thus, they are said to be direct speech.

Rules of Direct Speech

  • A speech line within the speech marks always starts with a capital letter.
  • A reporting clause is usually written at the end and finished with a full stop. But sometimes, it can be present in the beginning, ending with a comma.

What is Indirect speech?

On the other hand, indirect speech is another type of speech or system of narrating a person’s speech where we are not obliged to use the exact same words of the speaker. That means indirect speech is the sentence where we convey or narrate a speech by rephrasing the original speech in our own words.

In indirect speech, there are no quotation marks used to quote the speaker’s words. Here, only the important or necessary content of the speech is reproduced using a different set of words. The only aim is to express the same message.

Here, we use a reporting clause similar to a direct speech and then a reported clause, that-clause. The that-clause is the most common way of expressing words in an indirect speech. However, the reported clause can change according to the situation. For instance, if it is a question, one may use if or whether. If it is a command, one may use, to.

Let us look at some examples:

  • Ram said that he wanted to eat ice cream.
  • Sia told that she worked as a doctor on the army campus.
  • Our teacher asked us if we wanted to go to games.
  • The principal asked us to leave the ground immediately.

Changing direct speech into Indirect Speech

If we need to change a direct speech sentence into an indirect speech sentence, we need to follow some general rules given down below.

The first point that we need to consider is the pronoun. Changing a speech into indirect speech requires the change of the pronoun according to the speaker. It will depend if someone is referring to themselves or a third person.

Direct speech: He said, “I will come to school”.
Indirect speech: He said that he would come to school.

The second important point that we should take care of is the tense. The simple rule is that when we change a direct speech into indirect, the present tense of the verb changes to the past tense. However, if the reporting clause itself is in the present or future tense, the reported clause will not change its tense.

  • She says, “she is a player”. (Direct speech)
  • She says that she is a player. (Indirect speech)
  • She said, “I work in AR Public school”. (Direct speech)
  • She said that she worked in AR Public school. (Indirect speech)

The third point is regarding the words we use. Modal verbs such as shall, will, etc., in direct speech will change in indirect speech as would, should, etc. Similarly, the adverbs of time, adverbs of place, and demonstrative such as that, this, etc., will change in indirect speech.

  • Marry said, “I will come home tomorrow”. (Direct speech)
  • Marry said that she would come home the next day. (Indirect speech)

So, these are the basic points we need to be thorough regarding narration. Narration is simply the way of expressing someone’s speech in two different ways, direct and indirect.

Leave a Comment