English Grammar Direct And Indirect Quotations
Learn English Direct And Indirect Quotations Grammar

Grammar Level 3- Lesson Sixteen

In this grammar lesson, you learn about Direct & Indirect Quotations in English and how to use it in your English conversation and writing. Just follow examples and write them down a few times to learn them very well. After finishing this lesson, you should work on its quiz.

Grammar Recap

In our previous lesson, we covered the Past Perfect If you just landed on this page, we suggest that you complete our previous lesson including its quizzes before continuing on this lesson.

Requirement Lessons

There is no required lessons for working and learning this lesson.


Direct and Indirect Quotations

A “quotation” is the exact word or words that a person speaks. It’s good to understand the difference between a direct quotation, the words you hear from someone speaking, and an indirect quotation, which are the words that someone else uses to describe another speaker. Confused? When you’re confused it helps to look at an example.

Direct Quotation (Direct Speech)

“I need to go to the store,” said my wife


Indirect Quotation (Indirect Speech)

My wife said that she needed to go to the store.


Notice that “said” is in the past tense, so the verb “need” also becomes past tense.

There’s something called the “sequence of tenses” which is useful to look at now:

The Sequence of Tenses

    Direct Speech arrow Indirect Speech

Present arrow Past

Present Continuous arrow Past Continuous

 Past arrow Past Perfect

Present Perfect arrow Past Perfect

 will arrow would

   can arrow could

 mayarrow might

There are other tenses that could be added here, but this is a good start in learning that tenses change their form when using indirect speech. See the examples below.


“I am a beekeeper.”

What did he say?

He said he was a beekeeper.

“I’m reading a book.”

What did he say?

He said that he was reading a book.


“I was afraid of spiders when I was a little girl.”

What did she say?

She said she had been afraid of spiders when she was a little girl.

“I have been in this same spot for an hour and I haven’t caught a thing.”

He said that he’d been in that same spot for an hour and he hadn’t caught anything.

(he’d been = had been)


“We enjoy making breakfast together.”
They said that they enjoyed making breakfast together.


“I’ll help you pick them up.”
He said he would help her pick up the apples.


“He can eat an entire watermelon,” his wife said.
His wife said that he could eat an entire watermelon.


“This radio may be over 70 years old,” said the owner of the antique shop.
The owner of the antique shop said that the radio might be over 70 years old.


Quiz for Direct & Indirect Quotations

Now that you learned your new lesson, it is time to go to the Direct & Indirect Quotations page and finish your quiz. While working on your quiz, you can always go back to its lesson to refresh your memory.

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Next Grammar Lesson

In our next lesson, we will cover the Past & Perfect Continuous Before moving to the next lesson, we suggest that you complete this lesson including its quizzes.

Related Grammar Lessons


Grammar Level 3 Outline

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