Read about different verbs we use to report speech below. Then, when you're ready, try these reporting verbs practice exercises.

Say or Tell?

We say something, but we tell someone something. The meaning is the same, and the word that is not necessary.

She said (that) she was tired.

She told him (that) she was tired.

There are lots of verbs we can use instead of "say" and "tell".

Similar to say ( + that)

mention, explain, point out, agree, promise, threaten, pretend, claim, recommend, suggest, admit, deny, boast, complain, insist, propose, reply, warn

Similar to tell (+ someone that):

promise, advise, warn, remind

Note that promise and warn can work like say or tell.


With some reporting verbs, you can use other structures. If someone says "I'll help you", normal reported speech is:

She promised that she would help me.

But you can also use the verb promise with to + infinitive.

She promised to help me.


Here are some common patterns for reporting verbs:  

I offered to do it.


Usually, if the person speaking will do the action, use verb + to + verb.

She offered / agreed / refused / promised / threatened to do the shopping.

I ordered him to do it.

Usually, if the listener will do the action, use verb + person + to + verb

She told / ordered / asked / begged / advised / reminded / persuaded / encouraged / invited him to do the shopping.

 Some reporting verbs use an -ing verb afterwards:

I admitted / denied / suggested / recommended eating all the cake.

 Finally, there are a lot of reporting verbs which use a preposition + verb-ing. Again, you have to remember these patterns.

I blamed him for doing it.

I accused him of doing it.

I congratulated him on doing

I confessed to doing it.

I apologised for doing it.

I insisted on doing it.

Now try these reporting verbs practice exercises.