Using a range of verbs for reported speech at Level B2

Using a range of verbs for reported speech at Level B2. We have already looked at reported speech in Level B1, with lessons on the 4 rules for reported speech as well as some additional information you need to know. On this page, we will further develop your skills by looking at the different reporting verbs you can use and the different grammatical structures that you need.

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Let’s start with a simple example:

  • Direct speech: “I didn’t steal John’s wallet!”
  • Simple reported speech: He said he didn’t steal John’s wallet.

To show a better range of ability in your English, you could say this:

  • Advanced reported speech: He denied stealing John’s wallet.

Using the verb denied is more expressive and shows a higher level of ability than just using said. However, the grammar can change depending on which reporting verb you use. There are 6 common grammar constructions for using different reporting verbs.

Type 1: reporting verb + gerund
Example: “I didn’t steal John’s wallet!” > He denied stealing John’s wallet.

Type 2: reporting verb + infinitive
Example: “OK, I will work on Saturday” > He agreed to work on Saturday.

Type 3: reporting verb + preposition + gerund
Example: “Sorry we arrived late!” > They apologised for arriving late.

Type 4: reporting verb + [that] + subject + verb
Example: “They should buy that car.” > He recommended [that] they buy the car.

Type 5: reporting verb + object + preposition
Example: “Congratulations on the award!” > She congratulated me on the award.

Type 6: reporting verb + object + infinitive
Example: “You should come to our party” > They invited me to come to their party.

NOTE: Sometimes the same reporting verb can be expressed using more than one of these constructions with no difference in meaning. For example:

  • Type 1: He denied stealing John’s wallet.
  • Type 4: He denied that he stole Jon’s wallet.

Here’s a list of reporting verbs and the grammar type that they normally use:

Type 1: reporting verb + gerund

He denied stealing John’s wallet.

deny, suggest, recommend
Type 2: reporting verb + infinitive

He agreed to work on Saturday.

agree, ask, beg, decide, offer, promise, refuse, threaten
Type 3: reporting verb + preposition + gerund

They apologised for arriving late.

apologise, ask, boast, complain, insist
Type 4: reporting verb + [that] + subject + verb

He recommended [that] they buy the car.

admit, agree, allege, complained, decide, deny, explain, imply, insist, promise, recommend, say, suggest
Type 5: reporting verb + object + preposition

She congratulated me on the award.

accuse, begged, blame, congratulate
Type 6: reporting verb + object + infinitive

They invited me to come to their party.

advise, ask, encourage, invite, remind, warn

 

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