7

Reporting speech

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Reporting speech accurately and clearly is an essential journalistic skill. You must be able to handle both direct quotes and indirectly reported speech.

Direct quotes

1 When you quote a person for the first time, introduce them before the quote:

John Smith, the leader of the council, said: ‘Of course, I refuse to resign.’

Because the quote is a complete sentence, it is introduced by a colon and starts with a capital letter; the full stop comes before the second quote mark.

2 Subject to house style you can use ‘says’ instead of ‘said’:

John Smith, the leader of the council, says: ‘I refuse to resign.’

3 Subject to house style you can use the short form ‘council leader’:

Council leader ...

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