Direct and indirect speech: Optative sentences

The function of an optative sentence is to express wish, prayer or preference. They are on of the easiest narrations like imperatives. In order to convert any optative sentence into indirect speech just follow the directions below.
The verb of reporting speech

The verb of reporting speech (say) is changed in accordance with the nature of the reported speech which shall be as follows;

Nature of reported speech

Converted verb of reporting speech
Reported speech expressing desire
wish or desire
If reported speech is a prayer pray

Use of conjunction

While converting a sentence into indirect speech when commas are removed the conjunction [that] or preposition [to] is used.

Use of sign of exclamation

Expressing wish or prayer is largely conventional and least backed by strong sense of emotions. In that case there is full stop at the end of the reported speech (in direct narrations). On other way round if wish or prayer is meant to have the strong feelings then it is necessary that it must end on sign of exclamation (!) than full stop or period.


Mother said to her son, “I wish you every success in life!”
Mother prayed her son to have every success in his life.

He said to me, “May you succeed in your mission.”
He wished that I might succeed in my mission.

Use of sign of exclamation (!) augments feelings therefore sometimes it makes a big change in the verb of reporting speech in indirect narrations so that it also show the strength of feelings.


He said, “Let’s go for a party!”
He strongly desired to go for a party.

Note: here the phrase (strongly desired) is used because of sign of exclamation (!) in reported speech of direct narration; because it augments the desire so does the phrase (strongly desired).

The words used in reported speech for desire or prayer

Desire and prayer have different expressions and they are used in reported speech of direct narrations, like;

Words to express desire: let’s and if only

Words to express prayer: may

(See the examples of prayer of wish below)

Use of modal operator

Prayers start with modal operator (may) and if reporting speech is in past tense the past form of modal operator (might) shall be used while converting a sentence into indirect speech.

Examples of prayer

She said to me, “May God bless you.”
She prayed that God might bless me.

His grandmother said to him, “May you live long.”
His grandmother prayed that he might live long.

She said, “May God reward you.”
She prayed that God might reward him.

He said, “May you get through your exam with good marks.”
He prayed / wished that he might get through his exam with good marks.

Examples of wish

He said, “If only I were rich I could have lived what I desire.”
He wished to be rich so that he could have lived what he desired.

She said, “Let’s go to the market.”
She wished to go to the market.

That can also be converted like,

She asked to go to the market.

But that doesn’t show desire

Watch the video

Terms | Privacy Policy | Contact us | About us

Copyright © All Rights Reserved