Skip directly to content

Indirect Speech

This lesson includes information on:

1.      Indirect Speech

2.      Formation of Indirect Speech

1.  Indirect Speech

There are two types of speech:

a)      Direct speech

·         Direct speech is used to say what the other person said.  For example, Pedro dijo: Voy a la oficina de correos. (Peter said: I’m going to the post office.)

b)      Indirect speech

·         Indirect speech is used more often than direct speech and is a way of explaining what other people said in a textual and exact form.  For example, Pedro dijo que iba a la oficina de correos. (Peter said that he was going to the post office.) 

2.  Formation of Indirect Speech

One can use information verbs at the beginning of the sentence.  Some information verbs are:

 

Spanish

English

Decir que

To say that

Preguntar si

To ask if

Responder que

To respond that

Contestar que

To answer that

Prometer que

To promise that

Informar que

To inform that

 

It is necessary to use the following structure with each verb tense:

With the present indicative tense one uses the preterit imperfect indicative tense. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que quiere descansar. (He says he wants to rest.)

o       Indirectspeech: Dijo que quería descansar.  (He said he wanted to rest.) 

 

With the future tense of the verb ir one uses the preterit imperfect indicative tense. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que va a llegar temprano.  (He says he is going to arrive early.)

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que iba a llegar temprano.  (He said that he was going to arrive early.)  

 

With the future tense one uses the conditional tense. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que terminará la tarea.  (He says that he will finish the homework.)

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que terminaría la tarea.  (He said he would finish the homework.)

 

With the preterit imperfect indicative form one uses the preterit imperfect indicative form. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que se levantaba temprano.  (He says that he got up early.) 

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que se levantaba temprano.  (He said that he got up early.)

 

With the preterit one uses the pluperfect tense. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que comió muchas frutas.  (He says he ate a lot of fruit.)

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que había comido muchas frutas.  (He said he had eaten a lot of fruit.)

 

With the preterit perfect indicative one uses the pluperfect tense. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que ha terminado la clase.  (He says he has finished the class.)   

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que había terminado la clase.  (He said he had finished the class.)

 

With the past subjunctive tense one uses the imperative. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que venga a las ocho. (He says that he comes at eight.)

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que viniera a las ocho.  (He said he came at eight.)

 

With the past subjunctive one uses the present subjunctive. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que es necesario que vayas al médico.  (He says that it is necessary that you go to the doctor.)

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que era necesario que fueras al médico. (He said it was necessary that you went to the doctor.)

 

With the pluperfect subjunctive tense one uses the past subjunctive tense. 

For example:

o       Direct speech: Dice que deseaba que compraras unos zapatos nuevos.  (He says he wished he would have bought some new shoes.) 

o       Indirect speech: Dijo que deseaba que hubieras comprado unos zapatos nuevos.  (He said he wished he would have bought some new shoes.)