Reported speech: orders, requests & suggestions
ORDERS, REQUESTS, SUGGESTIONS
1. When we want to report an order or request, we can use a verb like ‘tell’ with a to-clause.
- He told me to go away.
The pattern is verb + indirect object + to-clause.
(The indirect object is the person spoken to.)
Other verbs used to report orders and requests in this way are: command, order, warn, ask, advise, invite, beg, teach, forbid.
- a. The doctor said to me, “Stop smoking!”. —-> The doctor told me to stop smoking.
- “Get out of the car!” said the policeman. —–> The policeman ordered him to get out of the car.
- “Could you please be quiet,” she said. ——> She asked me to be quiet.
- The man with the gun said to us, “Don’t move!” ——-> The man with the gun warned us not to move.
2. Requests for objects are reported using the pattern ask + for + object:
- “Can I have an apple?”, she asked. ——> She asked for an apple
- “Can I have the newspaper, please?” ——-> He asked for the newspaper.
- “May I have a glass of water?” he said. ——–> He asked for a glass of water.
- “Sugar, please.” ——-> She asked for the sugar.
- “Could I have three kilos of onions?” ——-> He asked for three kilos of onions.
3. Suggestions are usually reported with a that-clause. ‘That’ and ‘should’ are optional in these clauses:
- She said: “Why don’t you get a mechanic to look at the car?” ——-> She suggested that I should get a mechanic to look at the car. OR She suggested I get a mechanic to look at the car.
Other reporting verbs used in this way are: insist, recommend, demand, request, propose.
- “It would be a good idea to see the dentist”, said my mother. ——> My mother suggested I see the dentist.
- The dentist said, “I think you should use a different toothbrush”. ——–> The dentist recommended that I should use a different toothbrush.
- My manager said, “I think we should examine the budget carefully at this meeting.” ——-> My manager proposed that we examine the budget carefully at the meeting.
- “Why don’t you sleep overnight at my house?” she said. ——–> She suggested that I sleep overnight at her house.
Suggest can also be followed by a gerund: I suggested postponing the visit to the dentist.
See also Summary of Reporting Verbs.