Formatting Dialogue


Direct and Indirect Speech

What did she say?

You can answer that question in two ways:

Direct Speech

Direct speech repeats (quotes) the exact words spoken. When we use direct speech in writing, we place the words between quotation marks (" ") and there is no change in these words.

  • She asked, "What time will you be home?"
  • "There's a fly in my soup!" screamed Simone.
  • John said, "There's an elephant outside the window."

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech is usually used to talk about the past, so we normally change the tense of the spoken words. We often use the word 'that' to introduce the reported words. Quotation marks are not used.

She said, "I saw him." (direct speech) = She said that she had seen him. (indirect speech)

'That' may be omitted:

She told him that she was happy. = She told him she was happy.

Instructions for the Quiz

Determine if each sentence is direct speech or indirect speech.