: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


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Unit 22 reported speech 2


 Say or tell A


 We say something and we tell somebody.

Simon said he was confident about the success of the Beta project. Simon told me the project was going well.


 We never use to between tell and the object.

He told me what happened in the meeting. (NOT told to me)


We can use to after say, especially when the actual words are not reported.

What did he say to you?

I think the boss wanted to say something to Susan.


 Other reporting verbs B


 There are many verbs to report what people say. Each verb has one or more possible patterns. Common reporting verbs include:


Verb + -ing form (unit 19) Verb + to infinitive (unit 19)


Verb + object + to infinitive

(unit 19)

Verb + that clause


Verb + object + that clause


admit, deny, mention, propose, suggest agree, ask, demand, decide, offer, promise, refuse, threaten

advise, ask, convince, encourage, invite,

order, persuade, remind, tell, warn admit, agree, announce, answer, claim, complain, confirm, deny, explain, mention, promise, propose, reply, say. suggest advise, assure, convince, inform notify, persuade, promise, reassure, remind, tell


They denied doing anything wrong.

I suggested changing our export agency.


She promised to call me tomorrow. They refused to lower their price.

He advised us to wait until next year. They invited me to come for lunch.

They agreed (that) theyd wait.

She promised (that) shed call me tomorrow.

I reminded them (that) they had to pay a 25\% deposit.

I told him (that) I couldnt make the meeting next week.


 We can also report what people think or know. Verbs include: know, notice, think, realise, etc.

Sorry, I didnt realise you were busy. I thought you had finished.


 It + passive of a reporting verb C


 We use It + passive of a reporting verb + that to report what people in general feel or believe. This is a formal use, for example in a newspaper story, a scientific report or a written summery of a meeting.

It was announced at the conference that Argentina was losing Pesos $3,000 million per annum on grain prices compared with the average in the last ten years. It was pointed out that international prices had not improved in two

years, but this stability had allowed an increase in production.


Verbs that are often used in this way are:

be agreed, be announced, be believed, be claimed, be confirmed, be considered, be decided, be estimated, be expected, be feared, be felt, be found, be pointed out, be proposed be reported, be rumoured, be said, be shown, be suggested, be thought.


 Reporting questions D


 The word order in reported questions is like a normal statement.

Where is it? He asked me where it was. (NOT where was it)


 When we report question word questions (when, what, why, where, how, etc) we use the question word.

When will the goods arrive? They asked me when the goods

would arrive.

Why have your sales gone down? I was asked why our sales had gone down.

A year ago, I was asked how this wonderful merger between Daimler and Chrysler would work, and I said I was waiting for the interpersonal problems. They were bound to happen, as our experiences with Seat had shown. CEO of Volkswagen.


 When we report yes/no questions (Do you, Did you, Are you, etc) we use if

or whether.


Do you speak French? She asked me if I spoke French.



Children grow up very quickly these days.

(= become older)

Are you going to pay in cash? He asked me whether I was going to pay in cash.


 Notice in the examples that reported questions have no question mark in writing.


 Reporting commands and requests E


 Commands are reported with tell and the infinitive.

Take us to the airport. She told the driver to take us to the airport.

Dont worry. Ill deal with it. She told me not to worry.


 Requests are reported with ask and the infinitive.

Would you mind waiting for a moment? He asked me to wait.

Please dont wait for me, Ill come along later. He asked us not to wait.



I turned off the light when I went to bed.

(= make it stop working)



Exercise 1 (A)

Underline the correct words.


1 Sally told / told me that she had lost the catalogue.

2 This is confidential, please dont say / tell anything about it.

3 This is confidential, please dont say / tell anyone about it

4 Chris said / said me he must leave early.

5 I said / told them about the meal, and they said / told they would come.

6 You see, told / said Steve, I always told / said youd get a promotion,

7 You see, told / said Steve, I always told / said you youd get a promotion,

8 Look, I told to / said to her, why dont you tell / say me what you mean?


Exercise 2 (D unit 21)

Rewrite each sentence in reported speech.


1 Are you on holiday for the whole of August? she asked me.

She asked me ..

2 What do the letters URL mean? I asked him.

I asked him ..

3 Have you prepared the figures? my boss asked me.

My boss asked me ..

4 When is your birthday? I asked Francesca.

I asked Francesca ..

5 Did you remember to back up the file? she asked him.

She asked him ..

6 Why have you turned off the air conditioning? Ellen asked me.

Ellen asked me ..

7 Do you speak Italian? they asked me at the interview.

They asked me at the interview ..

8 How much did you pay for your car? I asked Pablo.

I asked Pablo ..



Can we leave out this question?

(= not include it in)

Exercise 3 (B)

Match the actual words in sentences 1-12 with the reported statements a) - l).


1 Well done! Youve done it!

a) He advised me to do it.


2 Who me? No, I never did it.



b) He apologised for not doing it.


3 Im really sorry I didnt do it - I just forgot.



c) He congratulated me on doing it.

4 If I were you, Id do it.

d) He invited me to do it.


5 Would you like to do it?



e) He denied doing it.


6 Dont forget to do it!



f) He mentioned that hed done it.


7 Oh, I see that youve done it.



g) He didnt realise Id done it.


8 Oh, by the way, Ive done it.



h) He promised that hed do it.


9 Oh! I thought you hadnt done it!



i) He noticed that Id done it.


10 I really wouldnt do it. It could be a disaster.



j) He refused to do it.

11 Ill do it, you can count on me.

k) He reminded me to do it.


12 No, I wont do it. Its out of the question.



l) He warned me not to do it.



Exercise 4 (C)

Read the extract from a meeting, chaired by Claudia. Then underline the most appropriate reporting verb in the written summary below.


CLAUDIA: Oh, hi. Take a seat ... Um, Id like to hear your views on the talks were having with BCP about the possible merger. Do you think we should go ahead with the discussions?

NIGEL: Well, no actually. I dont think we should. Our company cultures are totally different, and I cant see many opportunities to cut costs in a com-



The papers are full of the scandal, but in a few days it will all have

blown over. (= end without any serious consequences)

bined operation. Im sorry, but Im against it.

TONY: But, Nigel, cant you see that were too small to stand alone in the global economy. Theres going to be rationalisation in our market and now is the right time to act.

CLAUDIA: Um, right. How long do you think it would take to integrate the two companies?

TONY: Probably about six months, maybe more.

NIGEL: Thats six months of complete chaos and falling investor confidence. Its just too risky.

CLAUDIA: Well, I dont think we have enough information at the moment. Perhaps we could set up a task force to look into the whole issue in more detail?

TONY: Hmm.

CLAUDIA: Tony - would you be willing to chair it?

TONY: OK, Ill chair a task force, but Ill need representatives from the other departments as well.

CLAUDIA: That shouldnt be a problem. When do you think youll be able to get the report done?

TONY: Um, in about six weeks.

NIGEL: Six weeks! Thats ridiculous.

TONY: OK, well try to get all the information together in four weeks.

CLAUDIA: Right, thats settled. Well meet again a month from today, same time same place.


1 It was estimated/announced that it would take about six months to integrate the two companies in the event of a merger.

2 It was rumoured/suggested that we could set up a task force to produce a report on the implications of the merger.

3 It was proposed/claimed that the task force would be chaired by Tony, with

representatives from other departments.

4 It was shown/agreed that the task force should produce its report in four weeks.

5 It was claimed/decided that the next meeting would be on July 28th at 9 am in the main conference room.


Exercise 5 (A, B, D)

Nigel (from Exercise 4) is talking to a colleague about the same meeting later in the week. Underline correct words in his report.



The bus pulled in sharply at a red light and I lost my balance and fell over. (= stop)

Claudia asked us (1) that we give/to give our opinions about the merger talks. I (2) told them/told to them that I thought the whole thing was a bad idea, but they refused (3) to listen/listening. Of course Tony disagreed, as usual. He (4) told/said that we were too small for the global market. Then Claudia asked how long (5) would it/it would take to integrate the two companies, and Tony claimed it would (6) take/to take six months. Claudia suggested (7) setting up/to set up task force to look into the whole thing. I decided (8) not saying/not to say anything. Tony offered (9) to chair/that he would chair the task force. He proposed that the task force (10) reporting/should report back in six weeks, but I (11) reminded them that/reminded that wed need the report much sooner. Anyway, we decided (12) to meet/meeting again in a month.

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