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.
- 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.
There is no backshift of tenses, no matter which tense is used in the introductory sentence.
- Dad: “Do your homework.”
- Dad tells me to do my homework.
- Dad told me to do my homework.
- Father: “Let's watch a film.”
- 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.