While terms like direct and indirect can be classified within a broader category (object, governance etc.), I am not sure how to classify direct and indirect speech. I thought it could be just speech, but found no evidence of that. What is the one-up here?

1 Answer 1


Direct and indirect speech are subsumed under the term reported speech. Here is an extract from the entry on reported speech from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics (p343):

Reported speech: One utterance as reported by another ... . Strictly including cases of both indirect speech and direct speech; often, however, used of indirect speech specifically.

In language teaching in particular reported speech tends to be synonymous with indirect speech only.

  • This makes so much sense but at the same time it’s so weird… Thanks! Jan 20, 2018 at 15:40
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    So, something can be reported speech and not reported speech at the same time. Why do we bother? I realise that my decision not to take A-Level English language was inspired. ////// Have you noticed that you're not the only S/shoe on the rack? Another source of confusion. Jan 21, 2018 at 11:38
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    @Edwin Ashworth. Well, we do usually come in pairs, although admittedly not of different sizes!
    – Shoe
    Jan 21, 2018 at 11:54

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