Direct and indirect statements

Direct and indirect statements

Direct Statements

  • A direct statement reproduces the exact words of a speaker or writer.

  • Direct statements are usually introduced by a verb of saying, such as λέγει (he/she says) or εἶπεν (he/she said).

  • They are often set off from the rest of the sentence by quotation marks or some other punctuation mark.

  • Since they preserve the original words, direct statements maintain the grammatical person of the speaker or writer (first, second, or third person).

  • Example: ὁ διδάσκαλος εἶπεν, “ἐγώ σοι βιβλίον δίδωμι” (The teacher said, “I am giving you a book”).

Indirect Statements

  • An indirect statement reports the content of a speaker’s or writer’s words or thoughts, without quoting them verbatim.

  • Indirect statements in Greek are introduced by a verb of saying, thinking, knowing, or perceiving, such as οἴδαμεν (we know) or ἰδόντες ἔφαμεν (having seen, we said).

  • In indirect statements, the content of the original speech or thought is rendered as an infinitive phrase.

  • The subject of the infinitive phrase, if expressed, is in the accusative case.

  • The verb of the infinitive phrase agrees in tense with the tense of the original reported speech or thought.

  • Example: ὁ διδάσκαλος εἶπεν οἱ μαθηταί ἐθέλειν βιβλίον λαβεῖν (The teacher said that the pupils want to receive a book).

Key Differences

  • The most significant difference between a direct statement and an indirect statement in Greek concerns the representation of speech or thought: verbatim in the former, not so in the latter.

  • The subject of the reported speech or thought in an indirect statement is often in the accusative case, while in a direct statement the subject retains its original case.

  • The verb tense in an indirect statement reflects the tense of the original statement, while in a direct statement it is governed by the main verb of speaking or writing.