Direct speech is writing that quotes what somebody has said in full, and is meant to be an accurate record of what was said, and by whom it was said.
Indirect speech is writing that provides a summary of what somebody was supposed to have said, and when they said it. As it is a summary it does not have to be a word for word account of conversations, meetings, or group discussions.
In English grammar, the importance of clearly defining the difference between direct and indirect speech should not be underestimated.
Putting words incorrectly into direct speech and indirect speech can alter the context of those words, and change the meaning of the entire piece of writing.
When a writer puts words into direct speech they are declaring that the words were definitely those of the person being quoted.
On the other hand, when words are placed in indirect speech it implies that the writer is unsure that the person used those exact words, or that somebody said that the person used those words.
In the context of fictional writing using the wrong type of speech wrong could just appear to be unprofessional.
However, in terms of non-fiction writing getting direct or indirect wrong, there could be consequences for the writer if the work is published electronically or in hard copy.
Anyway, here is how to correctly record direct speech in written texts. To show that a quote was directly spoken it is enclosed between " ." These speech marks indicate that the words were actually spoken:
The grammar rules for indirect speech [External Links] are not the same, as shown here. Notice that there are no speech marks so that the reader knows that it is what someone is supposed to have said. instead of a word for word account of what was said.
The grammar and punctuation required for direct speech are more specific than it is for indirect speech. This is due to direct speech being a word for word account of what somebody has said.
Such accuracy is even more important in a non fiction account. Direct speech is used in minutes from meetings as well as court hearings, and in legislatures too. Inaccurate records could have consequences and would certainly be regarded as unprofessional, possibly leading to the person recording the proceedings to lose their job.
So this is the complete lesson on Direct and Indirect Speech in English Grammar, I hope you liked it, if you have any doubts, feel free to share those on the comment section.