We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Free Indirect Speech?

By Geisha A. Legazpi
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Free indirect speech, or free indirect discourse, is a unique method of storytelling. It is a way of combining a first-person point of view with a third-person point of view, but removes such expressions that introduce a person. The narrator would usually voice out the thoughts and dialogue of a character without the usage of the usual dialogue indicators like quotation marks. The third person in free indirect speech is about referring to a character while still staying as a separate individual. As a separate individual, there is an intimate knowledge of what the character being referred to is feeling or thinking.

In one example, a person looking at two people that have met in a bar is simply observing them while providing commentary and comical dialogue to a friend on the phone. Direct speech would read as: “He went to the girl and thought that he lucked out. He said to the girl, ‘Hi, I am Random Guy, randomly talking to random girls’.” With indirect speech, however, it would read as: “He went to the girl and thought that he lucked out. He introduced himself as Random Guy that talks to random girls.”

With free indirect speech, however, it would read as: “He went to the girl and thought that he lucked out. He is Random Guy, and he talks randomly to random girls.” In this case, the person who is describing the event and the characters is putting the thoughts and dialogue of the Random Guy into speech. In literary works, the novel "Emma," which was written by the famous English novelist Jane Austen, is a good example of free indirect speech.

Writers, especially novelists, often like to use free indirect speech as a way to blur the line between the character and the thoughts and dialogue of the storyteller. One way to distinguish whether a writer has used this literary technique is to see if there are a lot of third-person singular words like “he” or “she” added to a sentence that describes a first-person point of view. Many linguists and literary scholars have described free indirect speech, sometimes termed as free indirect style, as a mode of representation of speech and thought that uses peculiar grammar features and writing makeup. This has paved a way for modern authors to diversify their work for a more compelling story.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.