Grammar Basics: Direct and Indirect Speech

What is Direct Speech?
Consider the following sentence:
Shyam said: 'A fine lesson will be taught to the wicked John.'
In Direct speech:
The given sentence is in direct speech.
Here the exact words of the speaker have been put within quotation marks.
There is a colon after 'said'.
The first word inside the quotation marks starts with a capital letter.
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What is indirect speech?
Consider the following sentence:
Shyam said (that) a fine lesson would be taught to the wicked John.
In Indirect speech:
The quotation marks as well as the colon after said are removed.
The conjunction “that” introduces to us the words (not exact) spoken by the speaker.
However the latest trend is to drop 'that'
Tense Change: As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right):
Direct speech Indirect speech
Present simple: She said, "It's cold." Past simple: She said it was cold.
Present continuous: She said, "I'm teaching English online." Past continuous: She said she was teaching English online.
Present perfect simple: She said, "I've been on the web since 1999." Past perfect simple: She said she had been on the web since 1999.
Present perfect continuous: She said, "I've been teaching English for seven years." Past perfect continuous: She said she had been teaching English for seven years.
Past simple: She said, "I taught online yesterday." Past perfect: She said she had taught online yesterday.
Past continuous: She said, "I was teaching earlier." Past perfect continuous: She said she had been teaching earlier.
Past perfect: She said, "The lesson had already started when he arrived." Past perfect: NO CHANGE - She said the lesson had already started when he arrived.
Past perfect continuous: She said, "I'd already been teaching for five minutes." Past perfect continuous: NO CHANGE - She said she'd already been teaching for five minutes.
Modal verb forms also sometimes change:
Direct speech Indirect speech
Will:  She said, "I'll teach English online tomorrow." Would: She said she would teach English online tomorrow.
Can: She said, "I can teach English online." Could: She said she could teach English online.
Must: She said, "I must have a computer to teach English online." had to: She said she had to have a computer to teach English online.
Shall: She said, "What shall we learn today?" Should: She asked what we should learn today.
may : She said, "May I open a new browser?" Might:She asked if she might open a new browser.
Note - There is no change to; could, would, should, might and ought to.
Direct speech: "I might go to the cinema", he said.
Indirect speech: He said he might go to the cinema.
You can use the present tense in reported speech if you want to say that something is still true i.e. my name has always been and will always be Lynne so:-
Direct speech: "My name is Lynne", she said.
Indirect speech: She said her name was Lynne.
Or
She said her name is Lynne.
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You can also use the present tense if you are talking about a future event.
Direct speech: '(exact quote)' "Next week's lesson is on reported speech", she said.  
Indirect speech: '(not exact)' She said next week's lesson will be on reported speech.  Review the above article before practising questions based on Direct and Indirect Speech.