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What are reporting verbs

what are reporting verbs

The most important basic aspects of reported speech that you have to remember are:

"I' m going home tomorrow "

He said he was going home the following day

changes in personal pronouns and possessive adjectives

"I' m going to my uncle's home tomorrow "

He said he was going to his uncle's home the following day

When you first learn reported speech these are the aspects you need to practise. The verbs you use, therefore, are basic ones like say. tell. reply and ask.

However, if you had to interview someone, for example, and then wrote about what the person said, it would be very boring and repetitive if you used only these verbs.

There are a lot of other verbs you can use to describe or summarise what people say without repeating the same

thing over and over again. These verbs give us the meaning of the original words without actually using them all.

The section below shows some of these 'reporting verbs' with their meanings and grammatical structures. You can often use verbs you wouldn't normally associate with reported speech, but if they describe the meaning of the original words then use them.

Some basic reporting verbs

The grammar structures I've shown with these verbs are not necessarily the only structures possible. I've tried to show the ones I think are the most usual. The meaning of some verbs changes according to the structure used, so I've only included structures that have the same meaning.


to accuse someone of doing something

"It was you who ate my chocolate, Elvira, wasn't it?"

He accused Elvira of eating his chocolate.

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