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Sentence Structure: Direct and Indirect Quotations

The following examples illustrate some of the types of changes that you must make when you change a direct quotation to an indirect quotation.

Type of Quotation and Examples
1. Direct quotation with quotation marks
 
· The young couple said, "The price was too high."
  Indirect quotation: no quotation marks
 
· The young couple said that the price was too high.
2. Direct quotation with first person pronoun
 
· He commented, "I can't understand the figures."
  Indirect quotation: change to pronoun
 
· He commented that he couldn't understand the figures.
3. Direct quotation with command
 
· "Cancel the payment," my husband said.
  Indirect quotation: verb + to
 
· My husband said [told me] to cancel the payment.
4. Direct quotation with expressions of time and place.
 
· The bankers said, "We'll work on this deal tomorrow."
  Indirect quotation: expressions of time and place not related to speaker's perspective
 
· The bankers said they would work on that deal the next day.
5. Direct quotation with conversational words and phrases
 
· The clients said, "Well, no thanks; we won't reorder.
  Indirect quotation: omit or rephrase conversational words and phrases
 
· The clients thanked us but said they would not reorder.
 
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See also
Direct and Indirect Questions