Let’s learn how to report commands, requests and suggestions.

In reported commands, requests and suggestions we use such verbs as:

to order, to ask, to tell, to suggest, to beg, to advise, to forbid, to warn, to insist, to promise, to agree, to refuse, to remind, etc. after which according to the construction of the introductory verbs we use

  • to-infinitive
  • not to-infinitive
  • -ing form (Gerund)

She said, “Don’t take these papers”. – She told / asked not to take those papers.

“Move over, will you?” Helen said to Nelly. – Helen asked Nelly to move over.

“Don’t speak all at a time,” the teacher said to her class. – The teacher told the class not to speak all at a time.

A to-infinitive is used after the verbs to orderto agree, to offer, to promise, to refuse.

“Of course I’ll phone you,” he said. – He promised to phone me.

“Boys,” shouted the instructor, “Forward, march!” – The instructor ordered the boys to march forward.

A gerund (-ing form) is used after the verbs to apologize for, to complain of, to insist on, to suggest, to deny, to prefer.

“Let’s listen to music,” she said. – She suggested listening to music.

“You must finish this work,” he said. – He insisted on my finishing the work.

An object pronoun (me, you, him, her, us, them) + to-infinitive is used after the verbs to ask, to advise, to beg, to command, to invite, to remind, to order, to warn.

“You should see a doctor,” he said. – He advised me to see a doctor.

A that-clause is used afte the verbs to agree, to complain, to deny, to exclaim, to promise, to suggest.

“Yes, it’s a interesting film,” she said. – She agreed that it was an interesting film.

“I din’t use your brush,” he said. – He denied that he had used my brush.

We don’t normally use the word please in the reported speech.

“Pass me the sugar, please,” she said. – She asked me to pass her the sugar.

“Nelly, will you shut the window please?” the teacher said. – The teacher asked Nelly to shut the window.

“Helen, collect the exercise books, please,” the teacher said. – The teacher told Helen to collect the exercise books.

Reported Suggestions and Offers

“Let’s postpone the class meeting till Friday,” said the monitor. – The monitor suggested that they should postpone the meeting till Friday. / The monitor suggested postponing the meeting till Friday.

“Let’s revise the agenda,” said the chairman of the meeting. – The chairman of the meeting suggested revising the agenda. / The chairman of the meeting suggested that they should revise the agenda.

“Let’s remove this bookcase from our classroom,” said the teacher. – The teacher suggested removing the bookcase from the classroom.

“Let me help you to carry your suitcase, Sue,” said Nick. – Nick offered to carry Sue’s suitcase.

“Shall I post your letters, Granny?” said George. – George offered to post his Granny’s letters.

“Shall I help you handle this DVD, Ann?” said Michael. – Michael offered to help Ann with the DVD.

And now have practice in using reported commands, requests and suggestions.

Exercise 1. Report the following suggestions and offers.

  1. “Let’s all subscribe to Digest,” said the teacher.
  2. “Let’s begin the meeting,” said the chairman.
  3. “Let’s postpone the football match till September,” said a member of the committee.
  4. “Let’s ask the policeman the way to the Planetarium,” said Brian.
  5. “Let’s better go by air, boys,” said Peter.
  6. “You should invite all your friends, Alice,” said mother.
  7. “Let me help you, Mary,” said Nina.
  8. “Let me give you a lift,” the driver of the car said to me.
  9. “Let me help you take your luggage to your compartment,” said the porter to the old lady.
  10. “Shall I carry this case for you, Ann?” said Lou.
  11. “Shall I sit with your baby?” said Mary to me.
  12. “Shall I make coffee?” he asked.

Exercise 2. Rewrite these sentences replacing the word said by one of the words given below. Use each word once only: agreed, insisted, exclaimed, whispered, apologized, admitted, claimed, suggested, protested, boasted, shouted.

  1. “I can speak four languages easily,” he said.
  2. “Let’s go to the movies tonight,” he said.
  3. “If you cannot do it for me today, you simply must do it tomorrow,” she said.
  4. “Well, yes, if you insist, we shall stay here for a couple of days,” he said.
  5.  “Well, yes, you are right after all,” he said.
  6. “This teacher has given me the wrong mark. I know this subject very well,” said the student.
  7. “Hush! Stop talking, you are being impolite to the lecturer,” she said.
  8. “I haven’t broken the traffic rules. You cannot take my license. I know my rights,” the driver said.
  9. “Stop that noise in here!” he said.
  10. “I’m sorry I am late for class,” he said.
  11. “It’s a surprise to meet you here today,” she said.