Reporting promises, orders, requests, advice etc

Orders, promises and requests are often reported with infinitives, or object + infinitive.

Direct speech: Jane said, ‘I will write.’

Indirect speech: Jane promised to write.

Direct speech: She said to me, ‘Please wait here till I return.’

Indirect speech: She requested me to wait there till she returned.

Direct speech: ‘Call the first witness,’ said the judge.

Indirect speech: The judge ordered them to call the first witness.

Direct speech: He said, ‘Be quite and listen to my words.’

Indirect speech: He urged them to be quite and listen to his words.

Direct speech: I said to James, ‘Be careful.’

Indirect speech: I told James to be careful.

Direct speech: ‘Be quite after nine o’clock,’ the lady downstairs said to us.

Indirect speech: The lady downstairs asked us to be quite after nine o’clock.


Infinitive structures are not used after suggest and say. Instead we use that-clauses.

Direct speech: ‘Consult a doctor,’ he told me.

Indirect speech: He suggested that I should consult a doctor. OR He suggested that I consult a doctor.

Direct speech: ‘Don’t park there,’ the policeman said to me.

Indirect speech: The policeman said that I must not park there. (NOT The policeman said me not to park there.)