Narration Changing Rules and Tactics

Narrations are of two types:
1.    Direct Narration                      2. Indirect Narration
Narration means expressions of the speaker.
***Direct Narration: The speech that the speaker expresses directly is called Direct speech.
Example: He said, “I am ill.”

***Indirect Narration: The speech that the speaker expresses indirectly is called indirect speech.
Example: He said that he was ill.

***Reporting Verb: The verb that remains out of inverted comma is called reporting verb. Like- he said.  Here said is reporting verb.

***Reported Speech: The sentence that remains inside of inverted comma is called reported speech.
 Example:  “I am ill.”

Assertive Sentence:

***To change from Direct Speech to Indirect speech we have to omit inverted comma and use that.

***If the subject of Reported speech is 1st person , according to person of the subject will be changed.

Direct – He said to me , “I am ill.”
Indirect - He said to me that he was ill.

*** If the reporting verb is past tense the verb of reported speech will also be in past tense (according to tense).

Example: Direct – He said, “I want to go home.”
                 Indirect- He said that he wanted to go home.

*** If the reporting verb is present or future the verb of reported speech will be the same (no change).

Example:  Direct- He says, “I like it.
                  Indirect- He says that he likes it.

At the time of changing narration from Direct to Indirect we have to remember the following rules:

Direct narration-----------------------------Indirect narration
Present Indefinite-------------------------- Past Indefinite
Present Continuous------------------------Past Continuous
Present Perfect------------------------------Past Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous-------------Past Perfect Continuous
Past Indefinite -----------------------Past Perfect
Past Continuous-------------------- Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect-------------------------- Past Perfect
Future-------------------------------- Future in Past form
This ----------That.
Today---------That day / the same day.
Tonight --------That night.
Tomorrow-----The next day/the following day.
Last year-------The previous year,
Yesterday-----the previous day/the day before.
Next year-------the following year

Some exercises with answers are given below:  
      Direct: The teacher said, “ Time and tide wait for none.”
Indirect : The teacher said that time and tide wait for none.
Direct: He said to me,  “I have been working since sunrise.”
Indirect: He said to me that he had been working since sunrise.
Direct: The teacher said to the students ,  “The more you read , the more you learn.”
Indirect: The teacher said to students that the more they read, the more they  learnt.
Direct: Dolly said to Anwar, “I want to go to school now.”
Indirect: Dolly said to Anwar that she wanted to go to school then.
Direct: You said to me , “ You do not do your duty.”
 Indirect: You said to me that you did not do your duty.
Direct: Sagir said Anwar,  “Man is immortal.”
Indirect: Sagir said to Anwar that Man is mortal.
Direct: The old man said to the girl,  “I know you and your father.”
Indirect: The old man said to the girl that she knew her  and her father.
Direct: Rashed said ,  “I ate my meal.”
Indirect: Rashed said that he had eaten his meal.
Direct: Ali says, “I did not play yesterday.”
Indirect: Ali says that he did not play yesterday.
Direct: He will say,  “I shall do the work tomorrow.”
Indirect: He will say that he will do the work the next day.
Direct: My friend said to me, “I have  already finished my work.”
Indirect: My friend said to me that he had already finished his work.
Direct: Salim said to me ,“I was ill.”
Indirect: Salim said to me that he had been ill.
 Direct: My father said to me, “We are going there tomorrow.”
 Indirect: My father said to me that they were coming here the next day.
 Direct: Amina said, “Father, I shall go to bed now.”
 Indirect: Amina said to her father that she should go to bed then.

 Direct: The teacher said ,  “all men are equal in the eye of law.”
 Indirect: The teacher said that all men were equal in the eye of law
 Direct: Karim said, “I did not go because I was ill.”
 Indirect: Karim said that he had not gone because I had been ill
Direct: He said, “The train reached at nine.”
Indirect: He said that The train had reached at nine
Direct:  Fahim said to me,  “I am drawing picture  for you.”
 Indirect: Fahim said to me that he was drawing picture  for me.
Direct: Sadique  said ,  “I saw Mohammed near our school.”
Indirect:  Sadique  said that he had seen Mohammed near their school.
 Direct: The teacher said to Camelia,  “You must listen to your parents.”
 Indirect: The teacher said to Camelia that she must listen to her parents.
 Direct: The girl said,  “ Sir, I know the answer of this question.”
Indirect: The girl addressing as sir said that she knew the answer of that question.
 Direct: The teacher said ,  “The moon shines at night.”
 Indirect: The teacher said that the moon shone at night.
 Direct: Florida said to me, “You are not sincere and therefore I do not trust you.”
Indirect: Florida said to me that I was not sincere and therefore he did not trust me.

Direct: I said to him,“ I am sick and cannot attend the meeting.”
Indirect: I said to him that I was sick and could not attend the meeting.
Direct: Moin said to him, “ I shall go to California tomorrow.”
Indirect: Moin said to him that he would go to California the following day.
Direct: He said to you, “I live here in Canada.”
Indirect: He said that he lived there in Canada.
Direct: Zaman said, “Man must submit to destiny.”
Indirect: He said that man had to submit to destiny.
Direct: He said to Robin, “You were merely a boy when I saw you last.”
Indirect: He said to Robin that he had been merely a boy when he had seen him

Interrogative Sentence:

***This type of sentence refers to questioning something.
Example- Direct- He said to me, “What are you doing?”
                Indirect- He asked to me what I was doing.

*** If the sentence of reported speech is of questioning in reporting verb  say, tell have to be omitted and ask or esquire of or demand etc words are to be used.

***The sentence will be changed from Interrogative to Assertive sentence.

***Instead of  any kind of  questioning word like do, does, did, was, were, shall or will  we have to use if or whether and no need to use that.
  Example:- Direct-He said  to me, “Are you ill?”
                    Indirect- He asked if I was ill.

***But if in reported speech what, why, when, where,  how etc words are used to make question  we have to omit inverted comma and these word will be used before subject while changing from direct to indirect speech and no need to use that, if or whether.
Example:-  Direct- He said to him, “What is your name?”
                  Indirect- He asked him what his name was.

 More Examples
Direct: The passenger said to the porter, “When will the train arrive?”
Indirect: The passenger asked to the porter when the train would arrive.
Direct: He said to me, “Which book do you want?”
Indirect: He asked me which book I wanted.
Direct: He said to me, “Where did you go yesterday?”
Indirect: He asked me where I had gone the previous day.
Direct: The policeman said to me, “Did you see the accident?”
 Indirect: The policeman asked to me if I had seen the accident

Imperative Sentence:

This type of sentence is used to order, advice, pray etc.
We have to use order, command, and request, beg, pray, advise, etc words instead of the words used in the sentence ask or say to change from direct to indirect speech.

*** According to sentence reporting verb will be omitted.

*** To will be used before verb in reported speech.
Example:- Direct- He said to his student, “Stand up”
                 Indirect- He ordered his student to stand up.
*** If the sentence is negative, do will be omitted and not will be used before to.

 Noted that imperative sentences in negative form are always made up by do not.

Example:- Direct :-  My father said to me,” Do not run in the sun.”
                  Indirect:- My father advised me not to run in the sun.

***If reported speech starts with please then omit please and add kindly even instead of this you can use only to.

Example:- Direct :- John said to Smith, “Please give me your pen”.
                 Indirect:- John requested to Smith to kindly give him his pen. Or
                               John requested to Smith to give him his pen

***** If the sentence starts with let and it seems proposal, omit reporting verb and add propose/suggest.

***Omit inverted comma and add that.

*** Should will be used after the subject of reported speech

Example:-Direct:-Jack told Lora, “Let us go for a walk.”                              
               Indirect:- Jack proposed Lora that they should go for a walk.
               Direct: We said to him, “Let us try.”
               Indirect: - We proposed him that we should try.

***If the sentence starts with let but it does not seem to proposal then after subject may/might/might be allowed to is used

Example:- Direct:- He said to me, ”Let me go in.”
                  Indirect:- He requested to me that he might be allowed to go in.


Exercise with answers
Direct: The chairman said, “Let us settle the dispute?”
Indirect:  The chairman proposed that they should settle the dispute.
Direct: He said to his friends, “Please wait for me till I return.”
Indirect:  He requested to his friends that they might wait for him till he returned.
Direct: Father said to the son, “Don’t quarrel with each other.”
Indirect: Father advised to the son not to quarrel with each other,
Direct: The teacher said to the student, “Always speak the truth.”
Indirect:  The teacher advised the students to always speak the truth.
 Direct: The officers said to the worker, “Leave the room at once.”
Indirect: The officers ordered the workers to leave the room at once.
Direct: Babi said to Rimi, “ Let us go out for a walk.”
Indirect:  Babi proposed to Rimi that they should go for a walk.
Direct: Faisal said  to Mahfuz, “ Let us learn the lesson.”
Indirect:  Faisal proposed to Mahfuz that they should learn their lesson.
Direct: The beggar said to the man ,”Let me have a meal.”
Indirect:  The beggar begged a meal to  the man.
Direct:  “Come in my friend,” said I
Indirect:  I said to my friend to come in.
Direct: The prisoner said the judge , “Let me see my mother.”
Indirect:  The prisoner requested to the judge to see his mother.

Optative Sentence:

This type of sentence refers to wish or pray

*** According to meaning by omitting reporting verb wish or pray will be used.

***Omit inverted comma and add that.

***May/might will be used after subject all the rest of the rules will be same as Assertive sentence.

Example:-Direct: He said, “Long live the king.”
 Indirect:- He prayed that the king might live long.
Direct:-My father said to me, “May God grant you a long life.”
Indirect:- My father prayed to me that God might grant me a long life.

More Examples
Direct: Mother said to me, “May you live long.”
Indirect: Mother prayed that I might live long.
Direct: Father said to his son, “May you pass the examination.”
Indirect: Father wished his son that he might pass the examination.
Direct: H e said to me, “May Allah helps you.”
Indirect: He prayed that Allah might help me.
Direct: They said, “Long live our president.”
Indirect: They prayed that their might live long.
Direct: The teacher said to the student, “May you come round soon.”
Indirect: The prayed that the student might come round soon.
Direct: The President said, “May Bangladesh live long.”
Indirect: The president wished that Bangladesh might live long.
Direct: The dervish said to me, “May you shine in life.”
Indirect: The dervish prayed that I might shine in life.
Direct: The woman said to her son, “May you be happy.”
Indirect: The woman wished that her son might be happy.

Exclamatory Sentence:

This type of sentence expresses the feelings of emotion, sorrow, joys, hatred etc.
Example:-Direct:-He told, “What a happy news!”
                Indirect: He told that it was very happy news.

*** In Exclamatory Sentence at the time changing from direct to indirect speech to express full meaning you have to omit reporting verb and then add cry out in sorrow or exclaim in/with grief (for sorrow), exclaim with joy/delight ( for enjoyment),bid (for farewell), swear (for promise) and wish (for good will).

***Then omit inverted comma and add that and at last transform this sentence into Assertive sentence.

Direct : He said , “Alas! I am undone.”
Indirect: He cried out in sorrow that he was undone.
Direct:-John said, “Good morning to you all.”
Indirect:- John wished them all good morning.

*** Many times we see that at the beginning of the sentence what/how etc words are used to mean the greatness or much. In this case we have to omit these words and add very, very much, very great, greatly or great.
Direct:-He told, “What a fool I am!”
Indirect:-He exclaimed with grief that he was a great fool.
Direct: The boy said, “How beautiful the flower is!”
Indirect:-The boy exclaimed with joy that the flower was very beautiful.

Questions with Answers:
Direct: I said, “Had I the wings of a bird!”
Indirect: I exclaimed that I had the wings of a bird.
Direct: I said to her,“ What a nice girl you are!”
Indirect: I said to her that she was a very nice girl.
Direct: What a terrible cousins poor Samira had!” said Mr Rahim.
Indirect:  Mr. Rahim said that Sharmin had very terrible cousins.
Direct: You said to me, “How nice your hand writing is!”
Indirect: You said to me that my hand writing was very nice.
Direct: He said, “What a cheering report it is!”
Indirect:  He exclaimed with joy that it was a very cheering report.
Direct: He said, “Alas I am undone!”
Indirect: He exclaimed with sorrow that he was undone.
Direct: He said, “How sweet the mango is!”
Indirect: He exclaimed with joy that the mango was very sweet.
Direct: I said to him, “What a brave man you are!”
Indirect:  I said to him that he was a very brave man.
Direct: He said, “What a pity!”
Indirect: He exclaimed with grief that it was a great pity.
Direct:  I said to my friend, “What nice fellow your father is!”
Indirect: I said to my friend that his father was a very nice fellow.
Direct:   The man said to the boy, “How silly you are!”
Indirect: The man said to the boy that he was very silly.
Direct:  John said to Simon, “What a nice gift I have done for you!”
Indirect:  John said to Simon that he had done a very nice gift for him.
Direct:  The traveler said, “How silly you are!”
Indirect: The traveler exclaimed with grief that he was very silly.


  1. Thanks you Salim sir for providing such a blog

    1. Thanks. Stay connected to get updates of all.

  2. The flower is very beautiful. IS it univetsal truth?

  3. 'The flower is very beautiful' is not a universal truth because it is indicating one definite flower that can be changed. But if you tell "Flower is beautiful" then it is universal truth because it refers to all the flowers of the universe.