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I was wondering whether you use "direct" speech or "indirect" speech in everyday conversation.

Example:

  • Statement: My mom told me to study.
  • Direct speech: He said, "My mom told me to study."
  • Indirect speech: He said (that) his mother had told him to study.

I think the casual speech doesn't require being formulated this way, but I need to know what is the correct case from English experts point of view. Shall O use indirect speech also in daily conversations or ot is used only in formal / written occasions?

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    What about in your own language? Indirect speech exists in all languages. Don't you use it in yours? [correction: casual speech, no "the"], It has nothing to do with the idea of casual...
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 14:25
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    What do you use in your first language?
    – user3395
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 14:25
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    In my mother language we use both structures in both formal/informal occasions @Lambie.
    – A-friend
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 14:56
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    Right, and I doubt very much whether formality or informality is a criterion.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 19:25

1 Answer 1

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We use both, but I expect indirect speech is more common:

I was at the candidate's speech last night and she said that ...

Otherwise you'd have to somehow indicate that you are directly quoting:

I was at the candidate's speech last night and she said, quote, "..." (unquote).

I was at the candidate's speech last night and she said, and I quote, "..."

I was at the candidate's speech last night and she said, and I'm directly quoting here, "..."

and various other ways.

In conversation, direct quotes can sound more formal or more serious, because you are trying to convey the exact words that were said, rather than just your impression or recollection of those words. This implies the exact words are important in some way.

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  • Hello @Andrew and thank you very much for the answer. Just to clear it up, do you mean that in "direct speech", either in writing or in daily conversations, we should use structures like: "and I'm directly quoting here" or "and I quote" or just "quote"? If yes, then wouldn't it sound too formal in conversation?
    – A-friend
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 21:19
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    @A-friend direct quotes are formal. You wouldn't use them unless you wanted to sound formal. Otherwise you would say something informal like, "Did you hear what the candidate said in her speech last night? She said something like ..."
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 0:18
  • Therefore, @Andrew both (in)direct speech is formal. Right?
    – A-friend
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 8:10

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