Reported orders, requests, commands in English

Indirect speech is not only about conveying thoughts, stories, news or other people's questions in your own words. It happens pretty often that we need to voice someone’s request or instruction. And for this we generally turn to indirect speech, but in a slightly different form.
So, to say that we were asked about something or to indicate the need to do something, or even to show that someone scared us with the consequences of our actions, we need an introductory verb. And if in ordinary indirect speech it could be the verb say or tell, now we can use a huge number of such verbs. The main thing is that they should express our mood and emotional shade of the message.
That is, if we are warned about danger, the introductory word will be “warned”:

‘Don’t go there! It’s dangerous ’she said.
She warned me not to go there.

In this example, we can see another feature of this type indirect speech. Namely, the absence of grammatical changes - the verb in the subordinate clause has not changed its tense, instead it has turned into an infinitive.
Depending on the introductory word, verbs in subordinate clauses can take the form of an infinitive or the ending -ing. This is what is called verb patterns, and what we talked about here.
The table below lists possible introductory words and forms of the verbs that follow them.


Introductory Verb

Direct speech

Reported speech

+ to -inf



Ok, I will help you.

He agreed to help me.


Tell me everything!

She demanded to tell her everything.


I can give you that book.

He offered to give me the book.


I will not do it!

He refused to do that.


I know them!

She claimed to know them.


I will do my homework. 

The student promised to do the homework.


Stop smoking or I will tell your parents!

She threatened to tell my parents if I didn’t stop smoking.

obj. + to -inf



You should have more rest. 

The doctor advised me to have more rest.


You can take my phone,

She allowed me to take her phone.


Could you close the door?

He asked me to close the door.


Please, let’s watch this movie.

He begged me to watch that movie.


Put your hat on!

My mom commanded me to put my hat on.


You must not be here.

They forbade me to be there.


Will you come to the party?

They invited me to come to the party.


Clean your room!

She ordered him to clean his room.


Don’t ask him about it.

She warned me not to ask him about that.


Don’t forget to call your mom.

He reminded me to call my mom.

+ -ing form


accuse smb of

You broke the cup!

She accused him of breaking/having broken the cup.

apologise for

I am sorry I’m late.

My friend apologized for being late.

admit (to)*

I am quite stubborn sometimes.

She admitted (to) being stubborn.

boast about/of*

I have the highest score for the test.

She boasted about having the highest score.

complain to smb of*

I don’t have time at all!

He complained me of not having time.


I didn’t take your camera.

He denied taking my camera.

insist on* 

You should go to the theater. 

They insisted on visiting the theater.


Let’s order this pizza.

They suggested ordering that pizza.

explain to smb how

That is how you need to do the task

The teacher explained us how we needed to do the task.

+ that -clause (and all necessary grammatical changes



I just don’t like horror films.

She explained that she didn’t like horror films.

inform smb

We are having a test tomorrow.

They informed us that we were having the text the next day.


What a beautiful dress!

She remarked that is was a beautiful dress.

Pay attention that the verbs marked with an asterisk * can also be used in accordance with the general rules for the formation of indirect speech.
She claimed that she knew them.
The student promised that they would do the homework.
She threatened that she would tell my parents if I didn’t stop smoking.
He reminded me that I needed to call my mom.
She admitted that she was stubborn.
She boasted that she had the highest score.
He complained that he had no time.
He denied that he took  my camera.
They insisted that I had to go to the theater.
They suggested that we could order that pizza.

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