Direct And Indirect Speech

Reporting verb

Reporting verb is the verb which reports the speech.

Said is preferred when there is no object.

Tell/told is used when you say who is/was being spoken to.

We use talk and speak when we are referring to the action of communicating.

To report a promise, hope or intention we use an appropriate reporting verb followed by a that-clause or a to-infinitive.

Other verbs used to report hopes, intentions, and promises include: hope, propose, threaten, guarantee and swear.

Verbs that can be followed by either a that-clause or a to-infinitive include: decide, expect, guarantee, hope, promise, swear, and threaten.

Reporting questions

In reported questions the subject normally comes before the verb. It is not necessary to use do or did. Question marks are not used in reported questions.

Yes/No questions are reported with if/whether.

We do not normally use say or tell in reported questions.

Wh-questions are reported by using ask (or another verb like ask) + question word + clause. We use normal word order.

When we report questions constructed with who/what/which + be + complement, be can be put before or after the complement.

Reporting orders, requests and advice

To report orders, requests and suggestions, we normally use a reporting verb like tell with (object) + to infinitive.

Requests for objects are reported using the structure ask + for + object.

Other verbs used in this way include: command, order, warn, ask, advise, invite, beg, teach and forbid.

Verbs that can be followed by object + to-infinitive include: advise, ask, beg, command, forbid, instruct, invite, teach, tell and warn.

Reporting Suggestions

Suggestions are normally reported with a that-clauseThat and should are optional and can be left out.

Note that suggest cannot be followed by a to-infinitive. However, it can be followed by an -ing form.

Other reporting verbs used this way are: insist, recommend, demand, request and propose.