Difference Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech

In novels, most of them will be narrations else we will come across dialogues said by the people. So while writing a novel the writer has to take care of the narrative part as well as the dialogue part.

When we start writing we use different types of speech. Either we convey what the speaker has said. Else we make it as a statement with our own words. So in this way, the writer acts as the mouthpiece of the speaker. For this purpose, the two types of speeches are used. They are

  1. Direct Speech
  2. Indirect Speech

Hence they play a major role in literature or a journal. The writer has to know where to use the lines in dialogue form and where to use the narrative form of the speech. The correct usage of the speech will give best reading experience to the reader.

Direct Speech vs Indirect Speech

The main difference between direct speech and indirect speech is that direct speech is repeating the exact words of a speaker whereas Indirect speech is recounting the word of a speaker in one’s own words.

Direct Speech VS Indirect Speech


Comparison Table Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech (in Tabular Form)

ParametersDirect SpeechIndirect Speech
MeaningIn a direct Speech the direct meaning is conveyed.In an indirect speech, an exaggerated meaning is conveyed most of the time.
Alternative namesA direct speech is also called as Quoted Speech.An indirect speech is also called Reported Speech.
PerspectiveThe words can be understood in s point of view.The words of view can be understood from various other listeners’ point.
Usage of Punctuation marksThe Direct Speech makes use of punctuation marks.There will be no punctuation marks for an indirect speech except for a period in the end.
EmotionsA direct speech will have more impact on a person’s emotions.An indirect speech can not create much similar to that of direct speech.


What is Direct Speech?

A direct speech is a  set of phrases or points conveyed by the owner of the words. While writing the phrases are always enclosed within punctuation marks, usually, quotation marks are used. A direct speech does not give rise to many misunderstandings.  The direct speech could be seen in a press speech or at any type of speech program.

A teacher lecturing his/her wards is an example of direct speech. The person who is conveying the message will have direct control over the emotions of the people. People could sympathize with him/her when they hear it from the person who has gone through tough times.  While conveying the person has to take care of the gesture and expressions.  The speaker should take care of his/her gesture. It will help to connect with the person/audience to whom the words are delivered. There will be no change in the tense while writing in direct speech.

Some of the examples of direct speech are:

  1. Mr.Andrew said, “I am going to the office”.
  2. Dr.Paul said to Peter, “You should take your medicine regularly”.
  3. Han said to Jane, “o not switch on the light”.

What is Indirect Speech?

An indirect speech us a form of speech that is reported by someone apart from the original person. Hence indirect speech is also called reported speech. Though indirect speech does not contain any quotation marks, it may sometimes make use of square brackets or ellipses when conveying a faithful notion of others. In an indirect speech, there will be no personal pronouns. They are sometimes changed. Also, a direct speech when being converted into indirect speech may have changes in demonstratives as well. So ‘this’ and ‘that’ will also change.

Apart from this, when mentioning the time in an indirect speech, it can not be used as such. For example, ‘yesterday’ will be conveyed in indirect speech as the day before. So an indirect speech should undergo various changes to convey the meaning of a direct speech. Hence a reported speech is something that is conveyed in one’s own words without affecting the original meaning of the sentence. The reported speech has to undergo some changes in the verb to deliver what the speaker has said.

 Some of the examples of Indirect Speech are

  1. Mr.Andrew said that he was going to the office.
  2. Dr.Paul advised Peter that he should take his medicine regularly.
  3. Han said Jane not to switch on the light.

Main Differences Between Direct Speech and Indirect Speech

  1. There will be no exaggeration in a direct speech. But in the indirect speech, there are chances of many exaggerations
  2. The direct speech will convey only the speaker’s point of view. An indirect speech will convey what the listener had understood from his context
  3. A direct speech will have only one meaning. But an indirect speech will have many meanings as the perspectives from person to person changes from one person to the other
  4. In a direct speech the person who owns the words will be delivering it. But an indirect speech is delivered by an intermediate person to the rest of the people.
  5. In a direct speech there may be fillers when the speaker wants to take some time but an indirect speech can not have many usages of fillers



The motive if both direct speech and indirect speech is to convey the news or views. The direct speech is a verbatim kind of speech.  In an indirect speech, faith is to be claimed by the person who says it.

The faith that a person creates while reporting what the owner told plays an important role. So the intermediate person has to win the faith of the people. This applies to the owner as well. Hence when using Direct speech and indirect speech the tenses are always to be kept on mind.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=8I4pfkA3jCUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA29&dq=Direct+Speech+and+Indirect+Speech&ots=5soYODSWnh&sig=JIqIEADlA8wS7IY8VRTM_0HzB4Y
  2. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/jocn_a_00022
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