Reporting actions

Actions (e.g, promises, agreements, orders, offers, requests, advice and suggestions) are often reported with infinitives or object + infinitive. Be careful to use an appropriate reporting verb like promise, request, offer, agree, suggest and advise etc.

Study the following examples.

  • He said, ‘I will write.’ (Direct speech)
  • He promised to write. (Indirect speech)

‘He said that he would write’ is also technically correct.

  • I told him, ‘Be careful.’ (Direct speech)
  • I advised him to be careful. (Indirect speech)
  • ‘Please help me,’ the little girl told the police officer. (Direct speech)
  • The little girl requested the police officer to help her. (Indirect speech)
  • ‘Don’t park here,’ the watchman said.
  • The watchman told me not to park there.
  • Shyam said, ‘I will do the shopping.’
  • Shyam offered to do the shopping.


Infinitive structures are possible after reporting verbs like promise, agree, tell, ask, offer and advise. Infinitive structures cannot be used after verbs like suggest and say. After these verbs we use a that-clause.

  • The doctor suggested that I should quit smoking. (NOT The doctor suggested me to quit smoking.)
  • He said that I must not park there. (NOT He said me not to park there.)

After suggest, -ing forms are also possible.