notes: reporting verbs
The most important basic aspects
of reported speech that you have to remember are:
changes in verb tenses
He said he was going home
changes in expressions of time
going home tomorrow"
He said he was going home the
changes in personal pronouns and
going to my uncle's home tomorrow"
He said he was going to his uncle's
home the following day
When you first learn reported speech
these are the aspects you need to practise. The verbs you use, therefore,
are basic ones like say, tell, reply and ask.
However, if you had to interview
someone, for example, and then wrote about what the person said, it
would be very boring and repetitive if you used only these verbs.
There are a lot of other verbs you
can use to describe or summarise what people say without repeating
the same thing over and over again. These verbs give us the meaning
of the original words without actually using them all.
The section below shows some of these
'reporting verbs' with their meanings and grammatical structures. You
can often use verbs you wouldn't normally associate with reported speech,
but if they describe the meaning of the original words then use them.
The grammar structures I've shown
with these verbs are not necessarily the only structures possible.
I've tried to show the ones I think are the most usual. The meaning
of some verbs changes according to the structure used, so I've only
included structures that have the same meaning.
to accuse someone of doing something
"It was you who ate my chocolate,
Elvira, wasn't it?"
He accused Elvira of eating his chocolate.
to admit doing something
to admit that...
"OK, it was me. I ate your
Elvira admitted eating the chocolate.
Elvira admitted that she had eaten the chocolate.
to advise someone to do something
"Well, if I were you I'd start
saving for my retirement."
He advised me to start saving for my retirement
to agree that...
"Yes, you're right, it's a
She agreed that it was a terrible problem.
to announce that...
"I'm afraid I've got some
bad news. The company's closing."
The manager announced that the company
to apologise (to someone) for doing something
"I'm sorry I didn't get to
He apologised for not going to the meeting.
to ask someone to do something
"It's very hot in here. Would
you mind opening the window?"
She asked him to open the window.
to blame someone for doing something
"We lost the match because
you didn't save that penalty."
He blamed the goalkeeper for losing the
to complain about something
"The electrician said he was
coming at ten o'clock so I took time off work and waited in all morning...."
She complained about the electrician.
to congratulate someone on doing something
"Well done! I knew you'd pass
your driving test this time."
She congratulated him on passing his driving
to deny doing something
to deny that...
"It most certainly wasn't
me that left the front door open."
He denied leaving the front door open.
He denied that he had left the front door open.
to explain why...
to explain that...
"Sorry I'm late. The traffic
was bad and then I couldn't find a parking space."
He explained why he was late.
He explained that the traffic was bad.
to forget to do something
"Oh no, I haven't got any
money. I didn't go to the bank."
He forgot to go to the bank.
to invite someone to do something
"Would you like to come to
our house for dinner on Friday?
He invited them to come to dinner on Friday.
to offer to do something for someone
"Those bags must be heavy,
John. Shall I take one?"
She offered to carry a bag for him.
to promise to do something
"Yes, honest, I'll be there
on time. I won't be late."
He promised not to be late.
to refuse to do something
"Well I'm not washing up.
I did it last time."
He refused to do the washing-up.
to remind someone to do something
"Remember you have to go to
the bank. You forgot yesterday."
She reminded me to go to the bank.
to suggest that someone should do something
to suggest that someone do something
"Why don't you go to the dentist
if your tooth hurts?"
She suggested that he should go to the
She suggested that he went to the dentist.
to threaten to do something
"If you're late again we'll
start without you."
They threatened to start without him.
to warn someone about something
to warn someone (not) to do something
"Don't drive too quickly.
The streets are very icy."
He warned him about the ice.
He warned him not to drive too quickly.
to exercises and pdf files
verbs gapfill exercise - online
verbs gapfill exercise - pdf file for download or printing
verbs grammar notes from this page - pdf file for download
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