Posted on

How-to use Quotations (Direct and Indirect Quotations) (pt. 1 of 2)

How-to use Quotations (Difference between Direct and Indirect Quotations) (pt. 1 of 2)

The Japanese language, very much like the English language, has two kinds of quotations: direction quotations and indirect quotations.

Direct quotations are used when the speaker is quoting an utterance verbatim, or, exactly word-for-word. In order to indicate this in the English language, quotation marks are used; in the Japanese language, the corresponding punctuation marks are called 鉤括弧 (kagikakko), or for short, simply 鉤 (kagi).
「They look like such」

Indirect quotations, on the other hand, are typically paraphrased from the actual utterance being quoted and therefore need no indicative puncutation mark such as 鉤括弧 (kagikakko). In the English language, indirect quotation marks are typically indicated with the use of the word “that” before the quotation. For example, the sentence “He said that he’s not coming to practice today.” implements an indirect quotation, while the sentence “He said, ‘I’m not coming to practice today.’” implements a direct quotation.

In the Japanese language, the equivalent of the word “that” isn’t used to indicate an indirect quotation; however, the particle と is used as a quotation marker, for both direct quotations and indirect quotations. Therefore, to distinguish the two, the particle と denotes a quotation being used; and subsequently, the use of 鉤括弧 (kagikakko) indicates a direct quotation while the lack of 鉤括弧 (kagikakko) indicates an indirect quotation.

Due to various nuances, the distinction between using direct quotations and indirect quotations and other general guidelines for grammatical usage of quotations with the Japanese language can be slightly more complicated than with the English language.

*While direct quotations are repeated in the exact same conjugational form as the original utterance, Indirect quotations must be in the Plain Form.


Direct Quotation Version:

Kanojo wa 「tanoshikatta desu」 to itta.
(She said, It was fun.)

Indirect Quotation Version:

Kanojo wa tanoshikatta to itta.
(She said that it was fun.)

*Although both direct and indirect quotations are considered subordinate clauses because they are sentences in and of themselves within the main sentence, they can still be used with the particle は instead of the particle が.


Direct Quotation Version:

Kanojo wa 「kono eiga wa sugoku omoshiroi」 to itta.
(She said, This movie is super interesting.)

Indirect Quotation Version:

Kanojo wa kono eiga wa sugoku omoshiroi to itta.
(She said that this movie is super interesting.)