This is the sentence: our coach said that our captain was good at making decisions.

Can I use for direct speech: Said our coach, "our captain is good at making decision."

Is it correct?

  • You're not going to find that word order in many newspapers. Apr 7, 2017 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


Yes it is correct. You can frame it in four different ways. These are not stringent rules but give a general idea.

Starting with reporting verb

Said our coach, "our captain is good at making decisions."

Putting it at the end

" Our captain is good at making decisions," the coach said.

After subject at the beginning of the sentence

Our coach said, "our captain is good at making decisions."

In this form (I don't know what it is called)

" Our captain is good at making decisions," said the coach.

  • 1
    You can also stick the attribution several places inside the direct quote. For example: "Our captain," the coach said, "is good at making decisions." Apr 7, 2017 at 11:43
  • @Clare Fixed the error. Nice catch. I couldn't detect any difference, even though I proofread it once.
    – vickyace
    Apr 7, 2017 at 11:58

Uh… no. Direct speech doesn’t change what was said.

The original sentence looks as though it is indirect reported speech, in which case all that can really be said of it is that however clear the meaning appears, what is written is not necessarily what was said.

Grammatically or semantically it’s fine to say ‘Said our coach, "our captain is good at making decision"’ but how could that have anything to do with direct speech, please?

  • 1
    Your answer is very incoherent. Can you give some examples of what you're trying to say?
    – XPMai
    Dec 25, 2017 at 6:18
  • Thanks, XPMai, and in your book does coherent mean something like hanging together or forming a unified whole or logically consistent or what, please? I suggested three things, which remain coherent, both individually and collectively. What makes anything direct speech is that what was said is not changed. ‘Plain’ direct speech is what you see in books, plays or filmscripts: exactly what is to be said. Direct 'reported' speech starts with exactly exactly the same words, perhaps dropping for brevity, clarity or relevance. Still, nothing may be added or altered. Is that clearer? Dec 27, 2017 at 1:32
  • XPMai The original is clearly indirect reported speech. Obviously not what the coach actually said, it makes no claim to accuracy, instead giving one of too many possible interpretations. Do you see no difference between direct our coach said: “Our captain is good at making decisions” and indirect our coach said (that) our captain was good at making decisions? What is written is exactly what was said. Do you see indirect can always be derived from direct, by definition of direct but the opposite is never certain? Dec 27, 2017 at 1:36
  • XPMai , Direct might sometimes be derived from indirect but by definition of indirect, that involves working backwards with no certain starting point? What is written cannot necessarily bewhat was said. It’s fine to say Said our coach: “Our captain is good at making decisions’ but how could you demonstrate that was truly what the coach said, based on the indirect report? Dec 27, 2017 at 1:38

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