Using direct and indirect speech

Home learning focus

Learn how to use direct and indirect speech.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • three activities


Speech is an important feature in a newspaper report. It helps the writer to share important information about what the people who are involved in the story have to say about it.

A newspaper report includes two types of speech - direct and indirect/reported speech.

Watch this video to remind yourself how direct speech is punctuated using inverted commas (also known as speech marks).

Learn about speech marks.

Direct Speech

Direct speech is when the exact words that have been said by a person are written down inside inverted commas.

  • Inverted commas (speech marks) go before and after direct speech. They surround what was said by the speaker. For example:

'Your cooking is delicious!' said Gerald.

Learn more about how inverted commas are used to show direct speech by watching this video.

Learn about inverted commas.

Punctuating direct speech

  • A new speaker needs a new line. This might not be included in a newspaper report as the speech won’t be part of a conversation between people or characters.

  • You should use a capital letter at the start of each piece of speech.

  • Punctuation (question marks, full stops and exclamation marks) go inside the inverted commas.

  • If the person who is speaking is named before the speech, you must use a comma before the first set of inverted commas. For example:

Gerald exclaimed, “Please can I have some more?”

Indirect (reported) speech

When indirect speech is used, the writer will share the main points of what someone has said without writing exactly what they said in full.

No speech punctuation (eg inverted commas) is used for indirect speech. For example:

  • Direct speech: “I wish I could eat that meal everyday,” explained Gerald.

Could be written as:

  • Indirect speech: Gerald admitted that his dream would be to eat the same meal each day.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Share your knowledge of direct speech and inverted commas by completing this quiz.

Activity 2

Speech Detectives!

  1. Read through this model newspaper report all about the inspirational activist Malala Yousafzai.
Direct and indirect speech worksheet
  1. Highlight any examples of direct speech that you find.

Top tip!

Look for the inverted commas.

  1. Next, highlight examples of indirect/reported speech within the report.

Top tip!

Speech punctuation isn’t used for indirect speech.

Super challenge

Imagine you were a newspaper reporter present on the day Malala received her Nobel Peace Prize.

What would people who were there that day have said to you?

Write down three ideas as either direct or indirect speech.

Activity 3

Explore direct and indirect speech further with the activity below.

Direct and indirect speech worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to use direct and indirect speech.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about factual writing:

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