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Direct and Indirect Speech – Vocative Word or Addressing Word

Here we are to discuss the Changing of the narration of a speech starting with a Vocative Word or Addressing Word. 

Like in the sentence "Amal, what are you doing here?", someone is calling/addressing another person as 'Amal' and this word 'Amal' is known as vocative word or addressing word.

In a direct narration, actually the addressing word refers to the listener.

How to Change the Narration of a Speech with a Vocative Word or Addressing Word

Now, let's have a look on the sentences below where three types use of vocative words are shown —

 #1.  Direct – I said, “John, are you busy now?” 

– In this sentence, the listener is addressed as ‘John’, which is actually the listener’s name.


 #2.  Direct – He said to us, “Brothers, are you happy?” 

– Here the listeners are addressed as ‘brothers’ which is neither the listeners’ actual name, nor is it used for blood relation, rather it is used casually for the sake of addressing.

 #3.  Direct – She said, “Well Pranay, I am going to surprise you.

 – Here an extra word ‘well’ is used before the vocative word ‘Pranay.

Related: Change the Narration of Universal Truth, Habitual Action and Historical fact.

So, how to change the narration of these three speeches, let’s see –

 1st Speech

Direct – I said, “John, are you busy now?”

If the listener is addressed with name (proper noun), in the indirect narration this name (proper noun) is used as the object of the reporting verb.

After that the rest part of the reported speech is used as usual necessary changes. 

As —

Indirect – I asked John if he was busy then. – Here the name ‘John’ is used as the object of the verb ‘asked’.

Another way of doing this is—

***Think the direct narration above like –

Direct – I said John, “Are you busy now?” 

and simply change the narration into indirect speech. 

Other examples:–

Direct – Sandy said, “Preeti, I passed the examination.”

Indirect – Sandy told Preeti that he had passed the examination.

Direct – Jafar said, “Suman, Shaila is coming.”

Indirect – Jafar told Suman that Shaila was going.

Direct – Ananda said, “Dan, there is a parrot in thee tree.”

Indirect – Ananda told Dan that there was a parrot in the tree.

If the addressing is a blood relation or any other relationship:

Direct – She said, “Mother, Where is my pencil?”

The word ‘mother’ is used as the object of the reporting verb following a possessive adjective (my, our, your, his, her, their, its etc.) according to the subject. 

Turn the rest part into indirect following the basic rules for changing the narration

 As —

Indirect – She asked her mother where her pencil was.

Other examples:–

Direct – I said, “Uncle, someone is calling you.”

Indirect – I told my uncle that someone was calling him.

Direct – He said, “How are you, father?”

Indirect – He asked his father how he was.


Related: Direct and Indirect Speech - WH Questions. 

 2nd Speech

Direct – He said to us, “Brothers, are you happy?”

The listeners are addressed as ‘brothers’ which doesn’t imply the actual name (proper noun), nor blood relation or any other close relationship.

For this sort of narration, we’ll write –

Addressing + me/us/you/him/her/it/them + as + vocative word’.

Indirect – Addressing them as brothers he asked if they were happy.


Subject + addressed + me/us/you/him/her/it/them + as + vocative word + and said (‘said’ or any other suitable verb)...”

Indirect – He addressed them as brothers and asked if they were happy.

Other examples:–

Direct – The leader said, “Comrades, we will not give up.”

Indirect – Addressing them as comrades the leader said that they would not give up.

Direct – He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I happy to be with you here.

Indirect – Addressing the people as ladies and gentlemen he said that he was happy to be with them there.

Direct – The old man said to me, “Sister, I am sorry.”

Indirect – Addressing me as sister the old man said that he was sorry.

 3rd Speech

Words like Okay, O, You see, Well etc. don’t effect the meaning of a speech.

 So, if any one of these words – Okay, O, You see, Well etc. is used in the speech before the vocative word, it is not used in the indirect narration

E.g. –

Direct –Okay Jack, I’ll definitely inform you.” She said.

Indirect – She told Jack that Should would definitely inform him.

Direct – He said to me, “Well my son, you will be notified soon.”

Indirect – Addressing me as his son he told me that I would be notified soon.

Direct –O sister, You are to late to attend the meeting.” Said she.

Indirect – Addressing me as sister she said that I was too late to attend the meeting.

Direct –You see Akash, your demand should not exceed your capacity.” I said.

Indirect – I told Akash that his demand should not exceed his capacity. 

Thank you...

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  2. Thank you. It's really helpful

  3. Hey Souvik , This post on direct-indirect was really helpful . Thanks a lot !


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