French Direct and indirect speech
Discours direct et indirect
In French, there are two different ways to express the words of another person: direct speech (or direct style) and indirect speech (indirect style).
Direct speech is very simple: the exact words of the original speaker are reported in quotes.Paul dit : « J'aime les fraises ».
Paul says, "I like strawberries."
Lise répond : « Jean les déteste ».
Lisa replies, "Jean hates them."
"Jean is stupid" Paul declares.
In indirect speech, the original speaker's words are reported without quotes in a subordinate clause (introduced by que).Paul dit qu'il aime les fraises.
Paul says that he loves strawberries.
Lise répond que Jean les déteste.
Lisa replies that Jean hates them.
Paul declares that Jean is stupid.
There are many verbs, called reporting verbs, that can be used to introduce indirect speech:
Indirect speech tends to be more
complicated than direct speech, because it requires certain changes (in both English and French).
Go on to Part II.
|Part II: Indirect Speech Changes|
|The free, twice-weekly About French newsletter keeps you informed about changes
to this site, including new lessons, articles, and forum discussions. Subscribe today!