Reported commands and requests in English

1. Reported Commands

There is no backshift of tenses with commands/requests in Reported Speech.

You only have to change the person and shift expressions of time/place descibed on our page Reported Speech – Summary.

Form

  • affirmative commands → to + infinitive
  • negative commands → not + to + infinitive

1.1. Affirmative commands

  • Direct Speech → Dad: “Do your homework.”
  • Reported Speech → Dad told me to do my homework.

1.2. Negative commands

  • Direct Speech → Teacher: “Don't talk to your friend.”
  • Reported Speech → The teacher told me not to talk to my friend.

1.3. The introductory sentence in commands

The word tell in introductory sentences in Reported Commands can be substituted with other words, e.g.

  • advise
  • ask

There is no backshift of tenses, no matter which tense is used in the introductory sentence.

Direct Speech

  • Dad: “Do your homework.”

Reported Speech

  • Dad tells me to do my homework.
  • Dad told me to do my homework.

2. Suggestions

Direct Speech

  • Father: “Let's watch a film.”

Reported Speech

  • Father suggested watching a film.
  • Father suggested that they should watch a film

Do not use the infintive after suggest. Father suggested to watch a film.