Reported Speech (III): Reporting Verbs

D. D.
Slide Set by D. D., updated 5 months ago
D. D.
Created by D. D. about 1 year ago


This is a set of 6 slides that explains how to use different reporting verbs and the structures they follow.

Resource summary

Slide 1

Slide 2

    What do you already know?
    List a few ideas or concepts that you already know about reported Speech, These prompts may help you: What other reporting verbs can we use apart from Say and Tell? How do we report Suggestions?  How do we report commands or orders? How do we report advise? How do we report requests?

Slide 3

    Reporting Verbs and their structures
    Other reporting verbs apart from say and tell are: deny, suggest, advise, offer, promise, ask, encourage, remind, blame, recommend, insist, etc. These reporting verbs have different meanings and are used with different structures, as the Mind Map at the beginning of this course represents. In these slides we will deal with the most common uses: Requests and Advise, Commands and Orders, and Suggestions.  Attention: Reporting verbs can belong to different "categories" and therefore be used with more than one grammar structure. We usually use reporting verbs in past simple, and the verbs in the reported clause may also change unless they are infinitives or gerunds.

Slide 4

    The main reporting verb used to express requests are Ask or Advise. The basic structure for reporting requests is: introductory clause + Object+ to + infinitive. Other verbs that follow this structure are invite, teach, encourage, or remind. Example of a request: A: Say hello to your mum. B: She asked me to say hello to my mum. Advise expressions with must, should and ought to are usually reported using the reporting verbs advise or urge. Example: A: You must read that book. B: He advised / urged me to read that book.
    1. Requests and advise

Slide 5

    To report an order we can use a verb like tell followed by an infinitive: She told me to go away.  The pattern is reporting verb + object + infinitive. Other verbs used to report orders in this way are: command, order, warn, beg, forbid.   Example: A: Stay away from this part of town. It's dangerous. B: He told me to stay away from that part of town. it is dangerous.    
    2. Commands and Orders

Slide 6

    Suggestions are usually reported using the reporting verbs suggest, insist, recommend, demand, request, and propose followed by a "that" clause. 'That' and 'should' are optional in these clauses. Note that suggest, recommend, and propose may also be followed by a gerund in order to eliminate the indirect object and make the suggestion more polite.  Examples: A: 'Let’s go to the cinema' / 'Why don't we go to the cinema' / 'it would be a good idea to go to the cinema / 'I think we should go to the cinema' B: He suggested going to the cinema. B: He suggested that we should go to the cinema. B: He suggested we should go to the cinema. B: He suggested we go to the cinema B: He suggested that we go to the cinema.   A: "I don't think it's a good idea to go to the cinema today. It's so sunny, we could go somewhere outdoors instead.'  B: He suggested postponing the trip to the cinema. A: You should go to the British museum while you are in London. B: She recommended visiting the British museum while I was in London. In this last example, the tense of the verb 'to be' changes because I am not in London anymore when I report this statement. However, note that it may not always be necessary that the tense of the verbs in the reported clause changes.
    3. Suggestions

Slide 7

    Forming the negatives
    To make the verbs that we have reported negative, we need to look at the verb pattern: When there's a clause, we make the negative in the usual way: She said that she didn't like ice cream. When there's 'to + infinitive', we generally put 'not' before 'to': He promised not to do it again. When there's 'verb-ing', we generally put 'not' in front of it: I advise not taking the bus.

Slide 8

      In formal English, some verbs that are followed by '(that) + clause' use the infinitive instead of a present tense verb. Some people suggest that this is a kind of subjunctive in English. You only need to worry about this in very formal writing. Mostly, this doesn't make a difference, because the present simple form in English is often the same as the infinitive form. But when the subject is 'he', 'she' or 'it' or when the verb is 'be', we can see it clearly. I advise that he go to bed early. (Normally we'd expect: I advise that he goes to bed early.) I insist that she come now. (Normally we'd expect: I insist that she comes now.) They suggested that the cats be put in the garden for the night. (Normally we'd expect: They suggested that the cats are put in the garden for the night.)
    Advanced structures

Slide 9

    This is a list of reference websites checked to gather some of the information in this slide set. EF Education First Ltd. (n.d). Reported speech: orders, requests & suggestions. Retrieved from   EF Education First Ltd. (n.d). Tense changes when using reported speech. Retrieved from:   Perfect English Grammar (n.d.). Reporting verbs. Retrieved from  
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