Corollary Theorems: DIRECT AND INDIRECT STYLE

 

English Grammar Notes #15:

DIRECT AND INDIRECT STYLE

 

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Grammar Notes

 

When the words of a person need to be reproduced in a document, both direct and indirect styles are used, most of the time alternatively or interlaced. Using only (or very much) direct style in a literary document results in cryptic meanings, because direct style is not able to express interior feelings, thoughts, and reasons.

LSEG: direct to indirect styleOf course, "direct style" is more accurate, therefore it is used preferentially in official papers. In literature, however, "indirect style" takes precedence since it is a lot more rich in expression, in addition to just reporting the facts.

Direct style is relatively easy to implement: the words are reproduced exactly using quotes. Indirect style requires a few particular transformations in order to reproduce the words and the actions as accurately and consistently as possible.

The structure employed to present, briefly, direct and indirect style in this page is:
   1. Defining Direct and Indirect Styles
   2. Transforming Direct Style to Indirect Style
   3. Particular Instances 
 
ATTENTION
These Grammar Notes are not sufficient to understand the topics presented. For accurate and detailed information we recommend LOGICALLY STRUCTURED ENGLISH GRAMMAR.
 
 DEFINING DIRECT AND INDIRECT STYLES


Direct and indirect style (also improperly though commonly named “direct and indirect speech”) are two particular methods of reproducing in writing someone’s words. In direct style, the words are reproduced exactly using quotes; in indirect style, someone’s words and actions need to be translated/transformed into a particular style of a third person narration.

Example:
Jane said, "Please, John, let's visit my mother."

Indirect style is a grammatical method of reproducing, in writing, the words and the actions of the persons, as accurately as possible, using a "direct object" subordinate construction.

Example:
Jane told John (that) she wanted to visit her mother.

NOTE
The declarative verb is the predicate-verb in main clause used to introduce direct or indirect style.

Direct style is independent on the declarative verb. In indirect style, however, the declarative verb becomes a tense-reference, therefore the sequence-of-tenses rules (plus their exceptions) take control.


LSEG: direct to indirect style

 
 TRANSFORMING DIRECT STYLE INTO INDIRECT STYLE


Direct style is relatively easy to implement: the words are reproduced exactly using quotes. Indirect style, on the other hand, requires a few particular transformations in order to reproduce the words and the actions as accurately and consistently as possible. Transforming direct style to indirect style is performed according to a few steps and rules.

Fragment from LSEG: the first rule of direct to indirect style.

LSEG: style 1

Determining adjectives and adverbs expressing proximity are replaced by forms expressing distant references. Fragment from LSEG: adjectives and adverbs transformations.

LSEG: style 2
 PARTICULAR INSTANCES


In addition to the mentioned general rules, a few types of sentences require particular methods of transformation from direct to indirect style:
   1. interrogative sentences
   2. emphatic/exclamatory sentences
   3. imperative sentences


LSEG: interrogative sentences in indirect style
  

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Page last updated on:
February 13, 2014
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