Reporting Verbs: Ultimate List and Useful Examples

What are reporting verbs in English? Here you will find a list of reporting verbs used in indirect speech, important grammar rules, and useful examples.

Reporting Verbs

What is a Reporting Verb?

Direct speech is a form of speech where the speaker gives first-hand information, whereas indirect speech is reported on behalf of someone else. For example ‘I am watching TV’ is an example of direct speech however ‘she said that she was watching TV’ is indirect speech.

We use the reported speech when we want to tell someone what another person said without using his/her exact words, adapting them to the new circumstances in which they are repeated.

A reported speech sentence has two parts:

Introductory Clause + Indirect Clause.

Example: He said that they were classmates. (Introductory clause: He said that, Indirect clause: They were classmates.)

In the introductory clause, we need a reporting verb. There are about 248 verbs to introduce the reported speech in English.

List of Reporting Verbs (with Examples)

Tell, Say & Ask

The commonest verbs to introduce the reported speech are: Tell, Say and AskSome important aspects about these verbs are that:


  • Can be followed by THAT, but it can be omitted.
  • Need an indirect object.
Example: He told me that she was his wife.


  • Can be followed by THAT, but it can be omitted.
  • Can have an indirect object or not. If it has an indirect objects, this must be introduced by the particle “to”.
  • He said that Sarah was working. (no indirect object) 
  • He said to me that Sarah was working. (with indirect object)


  • Can have an indirect object or not.
  • Can be used to report questions.

Example: She asked (me) where I lived.

  • Can be used to report imperatives or requests

Example: She asked (me) to babysit for her on Friday.

In reported speech, we normally use a “that clause”, but depending on the reporting verbs used other structures are also possible. 

Verb + that + clause


Example: She complained that I was always late.


Example: She denied that she had flown in an aeroplane.


Example: He explained that it was an easy recipe to follow.


Example: She exclaimed/remarked that he was a beautiful baby.


Example: She promised that she would call me.


Example: He boasted that he was a brilliant dentist.

Inform somebody

Example: He informed me that I would be called for an interview.


Example: He claimed that he knew the answer.


Example: He agreed that it was a beautiful hat.


Example: He suggested that I (should) take the other road.

Verb + to + infinitive


Example: He agreed to cook for me.


Example: He offered to carry her baby.


Example: She refused to buy me a car.


Example: He demanded to be told the truth.


Example: He threatened to punish me if I didn’t behave myself.


Example: He promised to marry her when he returned.


Example: He claimed to have heard her say that.

Verb + Indirect Object + to + infinitive


Example: He advised me to take a coat.


Example: He allowed me to park over there.


Example: She begged me to call the police.


Example: He commanded them to drop their weapons.


Example: He encouraged me to phone her.


Example: My doctor forbade me to eat sweets.


Example: She invited me to go to his house.


Example: He wanted me to drink a cup of tea.


Example: He instructed me to insert coin.


Example: My parents permitted me to travel with my friends.


Example: He urged me to finish reading the book.


She ordered me to get out of bed.


Example: She reminded me to take out the garbage.


Example: She warned me not to go near the oven.

Verb + “ing” form

Admit (to)

Example: He admitted (to) stealing/having stolen her money.

Accuse somebody of

Example: She accused me of breaking the cup.

Apologize for

Example: He apologized for shouting/having shouted at me.

Boast about/ of

Example: He boasted of/about being the cleverest of all.

Complain to somebody of

Example: She complained to me of having a toothache.


Example: He denied murdering/having murdered his wife.

Insist on

Example: She insisted on me/my wearing warm clothes.


Example: She suggested going to the theatre.

Verb + how

Explain to somebody

Example: He explained to me how to make polite conversation.


Wonder where/what/why/how + clause

When the subject of the reporting verb is not the same as the subject in the reported question.


  • She wondered how he could reach the top.
  • He wondered where Joan was.
  • He wondered why she was crying.

‘Wonder + whether + to-inf or clause’ or ‘Wonder where/what/how + to-inf or clause’

When the subject of the infinitive is the same as the subject of the verb.


  • He wondered whether to buy that blender.
  • He wondered where he had gone wrong in his calculations.
  • He wondered what he should wear.
  • He wondered how to get to the post office.

Reporting Verbs | Images

Reporting Verbs: Ultimate List and Useful Examples
Reporting Verbs: Ultimate List and Useful Examples

Reporting Verbs

(Useful Reporting Verbs in Reported Speech)