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FCE practice ▼ Grammar ▼ Word formation ▼ Phrasal verbs ▼ Expressions ▼ Collocations

FCE (First Certificate):
Reported Speech and Reporting Verbs

You will need to know the rules for reporting speech (statements and questions) as well as the patterns following reporting verbs (e.g. "apologise for doing something"). If you need more information about these rules, look at my lessons for reported speech, and reporting verbs.



Note the difference between "say" and "tell". We say something, but we tell someone something.


Similar to 'say'Similar to 'tell'
mention, explain, point out, agree, promise, threaten, pretend, claim, recommend, suggest, admit, deny, boast, complain, insist, propose, reply promise, advise, warn, remind

Here are some common reporting verbs with the patterns which follow them. You should learn and remember these. (good luck - there are a lot!!!)

SubjectVerbto doThis pattern is common with verbs which mean "I'll do it!"
Here, the person who is speaking does the action.
I offered
agreed
refused
promised
threatened
pretended
claimed
to make a cup of tea.

SubjectVerbObjectto doThis pattern is common with verbs which mean "You do it!".
Here, the person who is listening does the action.
Note that "warn" is usually used with a negative. ("I warned him not to go.")
I told
ordered
asked
begged
advised
reminded
persuaded
encouraged
warned
invited
him to make me a cup of tea.

SubjectVerbdoingA lot of students make mistakes with "suggest" and "recommend" so make sure you learn these.
I admitted
denied
suggested
recommended
eating all the cake

Finally, there are a lot of reporting verbs which use prepositions. Again, you have to remember all these patterns.

I blamed him for doing it.I confessed to doing it.
I accused him of doing it.I apologised for doing it.
I congratulated him on doing it.I insisted on doing it.

Practice: Rewrite each of these sentences so they have the same meaning as the first. Use between 2 and 5 words, and do not change the word in brackets.


    "Can you open the window?" asked Sarah.
  • Sarah open the window. (I)
    "If you remind me, I'll help," said Sam.
  • Sam said that he him. (reminded)
    "I'm sorry I broke your computer," said Frank.
  • Frank my computer. (for)
    "Don't forget to do your homework tonight," said the teacher.
  • The teacher homework. (us)
    "It was Andy who stole the money," said Mary.
  • Mary the money. (of)


This grammar might also appear in part 1 of Use of English (multiple choice cloze).

I ___ him for everything.
accused apologised blamed confessed

I congratulated him ___ winning the competition.
on of in for

I ___ him that we should go on holiday.
suggested told explained invited

I ___ that I would never do it again.
told promised refused wondered

I ___ that I would help him if he needed it.
offered persuaded refused agreed



There is more practice of these reporting verbs here

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