Common Reporting Verbs

Common reporting verbs and their correct use

We use certain verbs to report speech.

She said, ‘I am going.’

She said that she was going.

Here said is the reporting verb. There are several reporting verbs in English. The most common among them are discussed here.


The most common verb used to report orders is tell. Note that tell is followed by a personal object.

‘Go away,’ she said to me.

She told me to go away.

‘Take this file with you,’ I told him.

I told him to take that file with him.


Use a that-clause after reply.

‘Where are you going?’ she asked. ‘Home,’ I replied.

I replied that I was going home.

She replied that she wasn’t interested.

‘I am waiting for my mother,’ said the boy.

The boy replied that he was waiting for his mother.


Complain is followed by a that-clause.

She complained that her boss was always rude to her.

They complained that the weather was too hot.


Shout can be followed by a that-clause.

‘I am not coming,’ he said from his room.

He shouted from his room that he was not coming.


Use a that-clause after remark.

She remarked that he looked old.

She remarked that she might be home late.


Use a to-infinitive after order.

The cops ordered the people to vacate the place immediately.

The teacher ordered the students to stand in line.


Command is followed by a to-infinitive or a that-clause

The officer commanded his men to stand upright.

He commanded that his troops should march forward.


He commanded his men to march forward.


Instruct is followed by a to-infinitive.

The cop instructed the man to get out of the car.

The tourists were instructed not to swim in the sea.

The teacher instructed us to submit our work the following day.


Suggest is followed by a that-clause or an ing form. Note that we cannot use a to-infinitive after suggest.

‘Let’s search every passenger on the bus,’ said the conductor.

The conductor suggested that they search every passenger on the bus. / The conductor suggested that they should search every passenger on the bus.

Should can be omitted in the that-clause following suggest.

‘You should take a break,’ said mother.

Mother suggested that I should take a break. / Mother suggested taking a break.

Direct and indirect speech worksheets

Direct and indirect speech worksheet for class 9 CBSE

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