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I said that I played soccer.

“That I player soccer” is an object of a verb.”

I said, “I played soccer.”

Is “‘I played soccer’” an object of a verb?

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Yes, “I played soccer” is a direct quotation and is the direct object of the verb “said.”

Here is a link to sentence diagramming of direct quotations. https://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/direct-speech.html

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