Reported Speech Imperatives

Reported speech imperatives differ in structure to other reported speech sentences.

Imperatives are:

  • Commands: Keep quiet!
  • Requests: Please close the window
  • Advice: Go and lie down
  • Suggestions: Take the test next year instead

This is the structure that we use:

Reported Speech Imperatives

Structure: reporting verb (e.g. ask, tell)  + noun/pronounto infinitive 

Example: She asked me to come later

Reported Speech Imperatives

Here are some further examples using the imperative sentences above, showing them in direct speech and indirect speech.

Direct Speech:

  • She said, "Keep quiet!"
  • "Please close the window", the teacher said
  • He told her, "Go and lie down"
  • She said, "Take the test next year instead"

Reported Speech:

  • She instructed me to keep quiet
  • The teacher asked me to close the window
  • He told her to go and lie down
  • She advised them to take the test next year instead

Reporting Verbs for Imperatives

In normal reported speech, the common reporting verbs are said and told. For instance:

  • She said she was tired
  • He told me I should come tomorrow

There are many more, however, that are used with reported speech imperatives. Some are for orders while others are for polite requests.

Polite Request

  • advise
  • urge
  • ask
  • remind
  • request
  • beg
  • *suggest


  • tell
  • order
  • instruct
  • command
  • forbid
  • *demand
  • *insist

Here are some more examples of reported speech imperatives using these verbs:

Polite Requests

  • My doctor advised me to sleep more
  • The government urged the people to use less water
  • She asked me to join her on holiday
  • They reminded us to put our seat belts on
  • He requested the guests to vacate their rooms
  • He begs her to stay


  • John told his brother to change direction
  • My boss orders me to work harder
  • She instructed them to learn the alphabet
  • The general commanded his soldiers to obey
  • The sign forbade them to enter

Suggest / demand / insist as Reported Verbs

Suggest / demand / insist can be used as reported verb for imperatives; however, they do not follow the same pattern as above. That is because the structure for using them is as follows:

  • Suggest / demand / insist  + that + someone

So this is how reported speech with these verbs will look:

  • Direct Speech: She said, "Study harder to pass your test"
  • Reported Speech: She suggested that I study harder to pass my test

  • Direct Speech: He said, "Take a taxi home"
  • Reported Speech: He insisted that we take a taxi home

You can't say:

  • She suggested me to study harder X
  • He insisted us to take a taxi home X

Negative Imperatives in Reported Speech

When we want to make an imperative reported speech sentence negative, we simply add in not before the 'to infinitive': 

Negative Imperatives in Reported Speech

Structure: reporting verb + noun/pronoun + notto infinitive 

Example: She advised me not to come late

Here are some examples of direct speech changed into indirect speech using negative imperatives.

Direct Speech:

  • She said, "Don't keep talking!"
  • "Please don't study too hard", the teacher said
  • He told her, "Don't wait up for me"
  • The doctor said, "Don't over eat" 

Reported Speech:

  • She instructed us not to keep keep talking
  • The teacher asked them not to study to hard
  • He urged me not to wait up for him
  • The doctor advised me not to over eat

More on Reported Speech:

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