As we have already seen, the most common verb for reported speech is to say. We can use to say with or without an object:
✓He said that he had been to work.
✓He said to me that he had been to work.
say + (to sb) + (that) + clause
Another common verb is to tell. When use to tell we have to use an object:
✓He told me that he had been to work.
xHe told that he had been to work.
tell + sb + (that) + clause
When we report questions we usually use ask:
She asked me if I liked chocolate.
There are many other reporting verbs we can use that have different patterns.
Reporting verbs + -ing form
These verbs can have an -ing verb pattern:
|admit||“I stole the money,” he admitted.
He admitted stealing the money.
|apologise for||“I’m sorry I stole the money.”
He apologised for stealing the money.
|complain about||“It’s so hot inside,” he complained
He complained about it being so hot inside.
|deny||“I didn’t break the vase.”
He denied breaking the vase.
|insist on||“I’m going to pay for these coffees,” my friend insisted.
My friend insisted on paying for the coffees.
|suggest||“Let’s go for a walk,” she suggested.
She suggested going for a walk.