21 Sep


Within the domain of English grammar, the understanding of Narration is a must. This understanding definitely gets checked, when it comes to competitive exams conducted by IBPS and SSC. So, a candidate must be thorough with the concept of Narration and its application in sentence construction.

In this regard, the English language experts from the center for Bank PO Coaching in South Delhi have explained below the concepts relevant from exam perspective.

What is Narration?

There are two ways in which you can convey the message of a person, or the words that a person has spoken. So, there can be two forms of narration: Direct Speech & Indirect Speech.

(I) Direct Speech: Over here, the original words, exactly, as said by a person are quoted or narrated. These words are enclosed within quotation marks. E.g.,

  • He said, “I work at a factory situated in the outskirts of the city.”
  • The children said, “We are going to celebrate Holi.”
  • She said, “I am working on my test papers.”

(II) Indirect Speech: It’s also called the Reported Speech because it tries to report what the speaker had said. Here, changes are made in the original sentence (Direct Speech) of the speaker and inverted commas are removed. Moreover, the conjunction ‘that’ is often used while changing Direct Speech into Indirect Speech. E.g.:

  • He said that he worked at a factory situated in the outskirts of the city.
  • The children said that they were going to celebrate Holi.
  • She said that she was working on her test papers.

Now, let’s make the concept of Direct Speech & Indirect Speech more precise and clearer to you. The table given below shows the transformation in verb forms (tenses), when we move from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Simple Present: She said, “It is quite humid.” Simple Past: She said that it was quite humid.
Present Continuous: “I am looking for the thief”, he said. Past Continuous: He said that he was looking for the thief.
Present Perfect: Reena’s friend said, “I have submitted the research paper to my class teacher.” Past Perfect: Reena’s friend said that she had submitted the research paper to her class teacher.
Present Perfect Continuous: Jonathan said, “I have been using your toolkit since yesterday.” Past Perfect Continuous: Jonathan said that he had been using my toolkit since the previous day.
Simple Past: Joan said to me, “You attempted almost all the problems.” Past Perfect: Joan told me that I had attempted almost all the problems.
Past Continuous: She said, “I was gardening the whole day.” Past Perfect Continuous: She said that she had been gardening the whole day.
Past Perfect: She said, “I had finished the project before your arrival.” Past Perfect: She said that she had finished the project before my arrival. (NO CHANGE).
Past Perfect Continuous: Maya said, “I had been walking till I got completely exhausted.” Past Perfect Continuous: Maya said that she had been walking till she got completely exhausted (NO CHANGE).

Having understood the basic framework, you must now learn the important rules which have to be kept in mind while attempting exam questions. The institute for the Best Bank PO Coaching in Delhi NCR lays special emphasis on teaching these rules.

Essential Rules:

Rule 1: The tense in the Indirect Speech will not change if there is a universal truth in the Direct Speech. E.g.:

  • Direct- My father said, “Honesty is the best policy.”
  • Indirect- My father said that honesty is the best policy.
  • Direct- The trainer said, “Pure water is colorless and tasteless.”
  • Indirect- The trainer said that pure water is colorless and tasteless.

Rule 2: While converting an imperative sentence from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech, the words ‘ordered’, ‘commanded’, ‘requested’, ‘suggested’, ‘advised’ etc. are used as verbs, depending upon the nature of the imperative sentence in the Direct Speech. E.g.,

  • Direct- The refugees said to me, “Please help us.”
  • Indirect- The refugees requested me to help them.
  • Direct- His friend said to him, “You should work hard for the mid-term exam.”
  • Indirect- His friend suggested to him that he should work hard for the mid-term exam.
  • Direct- My mother said to me, “Do not be late.”
  • Indirect- My mother advised me not to be late.
  • Direct-The nurse said to me, “Do not skip medication.”
  • Indirect- The nurse advised me not to skip medication.”

NOTE: While converting an interrogative sentence from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech, you have to look at the nature of the question and understand it. A question sentence (interrogative sentence) can be primarily of two types- one that can be answered in a YES or NO (closed ended question) and the other that might need an explanation (open ended question).

Rule 3: To convert a closed ended question, that can be answered in a YES or NO, from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech, you have to use If or Whether after a verb such as: asked / enquired. E.g.,

  • Direct- The coach said to me, “Do you like swimming?”
  • Indirect- The coach asked me if I liked swimming.
  • Direct- She said to me, “Will he participate in the singing competition?”
  • Indirect- She asked me whether he would participate in the singing competition.
  • Direct- Rita said to him, “Are you attending the show tonight?”
  • Indirect- Rita asked him if he was attending the show that night.

Rule 4: To convert a question that cannot be answered in a YES or NO (open ended question) from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech, you have to change the tense of the question according to the rules discussed in the above table. Here, the word ‘that’ will not be used between the reporting verb and the reported speech. Moreover, the words ‘If’ or ‘Whether’ won’t be used either.

  • Direct- She said, “How do you feel now?”
  • Indirect- She asked me how I felt then.
  • Direct- The physician said, “Where did she eat last night?”
  • Indirect- The physician enquired where she had eaten the previous night.
  • Direct- We said to them, “Where can we get the passes from?”
  • Indirect- We asked them where we could get the passes from.

Rule 5: If the reporting verb in the Direct Speech is in present or future tense, the tense remains the same in the Indirect Speech i.e. NO CHANGE. E.g.,

  • Direct- Ram says, “I am fine.”
  • Indirect- Ram says that he is fine.
  • Direct- The men say, “We shall complete the job on time.”
  • Indirect- The men say that they shall complete the job on time.

Transformation of Other Words:

How certain important words get changed from Direct Speech to Indirect Speech needs to be understood and memorized. The table given below will help you with that.

Direct Speech Indirect Speech
Today That day
Tonight That night
Tomorrow The next day/ the following day
Yesterday The day before/the previous day
Last night The night before/the previous night
Next week/month/year The following week/month/year
Last week/month/year The previous week/month/year
Now/Just Then
Ago Before
Thus So
Here There
This That
These Those
Can Could
Will Would
Shall Should
Have to Had to
May Might

Illustrated Examples:

  • Direct- Nathan said, “I will purchase a car tomorrow.”
  • Indirect- Nathan said that he would purchase a car the next day.
  • Direct- She said to me, “I worked at the South branch yesterday.”
  • Indirect- She told me that she had worked at the South branch the previous day.
  • Direct- The property dealer said, “Here is the bungalow.”
  • Indirect- The property dealer said that there was the bungalow.
  • Direct- Samantha said, “The incident took place last week.”
  • Indirect- Samantha said that the incident had taken place the previous week.
  • Direct- He said to me, “Can I get the money now?”
  • Indirect- He asked me if he could get the money then.

Revising the tips and tricks explained above will be useful to students preparing for banking exams and attending Top IBPS Coaching in Delhi NCR. In addition to this, it is suggested that you attempt model test papers for better speed and accuracy.


This article on ‘Narration’ has been written very carefully, keeping in mind the points of view of readers like you. For resolution of any queries, feel free to mail us on vidyagurudelhi@gmail.com.

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