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Questions in Reported speech

(Do you know where..? She asked me where...)

A. When we ask for information, we often say Do you know...? /Could you tell me...? etc. If you begin a question like this, the word order is different from a simple question.


Where has Tom gone? (simple question), but Do you know where Tom has gone? (not ‘Do you know where has Tom gone? ’)

When the question (Where has Tom gone? ) is part of a longer sentence (Do you know...? /I don't know.../Can you tell me...? etc.), it loses the normal question word order.


What time is it? but Do you know what time it is?

Who is that woman? but I don't know who that woman is.

Where can I find Linda? but Can you tell me where I can find Linda?

How much will it cost? but Have you any idea how much it will cost?

Be careful with do/does/did questions:

What time the film begins? but Do you know what time the film begins? (not ‘Do you know what time does...’)

What do you mean? but Please explain what you mean.

Why did Ann leave early? but I wonder why Ann left early.

Use if or whether where there is no other question word (what, why etc.):

Did anybody see you? but Do you know if (or whether) anybody saw you?


B. The same changes in word order happen in reported questions:

direct: The police officer said to us, “Where are you going? ”

reported: The police officer asked us where we were going.

direct: Clare said, “What time do the bank close? ”

reported: Clare wanted to know what time the banks closed.

In reported questions, the verb usually changes to the past (were, closed).

Study these examples. You had an interview for a job and these were some of the questions the interviewer asked you:


How old are you?

What do you do in your spare time?

How long have you been working in your present job?

Why did you apply for the job?

Can you speak any foreign languages?

Have you got a driving license?

Later you tell a friend what the interviewer asked you. You use reported speech:

She asked (me) how old I was.

She wanted to know what I did in my spare time.

She asked (me) how long I had been working in my present job.

She asked (me) why I had applied for the job. (or... why I applied)

She wanted to know whether (or if) I could speak any foreign languages.

She asked whether (or if) I had a driving license. (or... I had got... )


Reported Requests

A request is when somebody asks you to do something – usually politely. Reported requests are one form of reported speech.


Direct request   Reported request
She said: “Could you open the window, please? ” She asked me to open the window.
He said: “Please don't smoke.” He asked them not to smoke.


We usually introduce reported requests with the verb “ask”. The structure is very simple:

ask + noun + to (infinitive)
  • We asked the man to help us.
  • They asked us to wait.

Because we use the infinitive there is no need to worry about tense. But as with reported statements and reported questions, we may need to change pronouns as well as time and place in reported requests.

Here are some examples:


Direct request   Reported request
I said politely, “Please make less noise.” I asked them politely to make less noise.
She has often said to me, “Could you stay the night? ” She has often asked me to stay the night.
They said to the architect: “We’d like you to meet us here tomorrow.” They asked the architect to meet them there the next day.
She will certainly say to John, “Please stay for lunch.” She will certainly ask John to stay for lunch.
She always says, “Please don't forget me” She always asks me not to forget her.

Relative clauses

Relative clauses are clauses starting with the relative pronouns who*, that, which, whose, where, when. They are most often used to define or identify the noun that precedes them. Here are some examples:

e.g. Do you know the girl who started in grade 7 last week?

Can I have the pencil that you I gave you this morning?

A notebook is a computer which can be carried around.

I won’t eat in a restaurant whose cooks smoke

I want to in a place where there is lots to do.

Yesterday was a day when everything went wrong!

There is a relative pronoun whom, which can be used as the object of the relative clause.

e.g. My science teacher is a person whom I like very much.

To many people the word whom now sounds old-fashioned, and it is rarely used in spoken English.

Relative pronouns are associated as follows with their preceding noun:

Preceding noun Relative pronoun Examples
a person who(m)/that, whose - Do you know the girl who.. - He was a man that.. - An orphan is a child whose parents..
a thing which†/that, whose - Do you have a computer which.. - The oak a tree that.. - This is a book whose author..

Note 1: The relative pronoun whose is used in place of the possessive pronoun. It must be followed by a noun.

e.g. There’s a boy in grade 8 whose father is a professional tennis player. (There’s a boy in grade 8. His father is a professional tennis player.)

Note 2: The relative pronouns where and when are used with place and time nouns.

e.g. FIS is a school where children from more than 50 countries are educated. 2001 was the year when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in New York.

Some relative clauses are not used to define or identify the preceding noun but to give extra information about it.

e.g. My ESL teacher, who came to Germany in 1986, likes to ride his mountain bike.

The heavy rain, which was unusual for the time of year, destroyed most of the plants in my garden.

Einstein, who was born in Germany, is famous for his theory of relativity.

The boy, whose parents both work as teachers at the school, started a fire in the classroom.

My mother’s company, which makes mobile phones, is moving soon from Frankfurt to London.

In the summer I’m going to visit Italy, where my brother lives.

Note 1: Relative clauses which give extra information, as in the example sentences above, must be separated off by commas.

Note 2: The relative pronoun that cannot be used to introduce an extra-information (non-defining) clause about a person. Wrong: Neil Armstrong, that was born in 1930, was the first man to stand on the moon. Correct: Neil Armstrong, who was born in 1930, was the first man to stand on the moon.

There are two common occasions, particularly in spoken English, when the relative pronoun is omitted:

1. When the pronoun is the object of the relative clause. In the following sentences the pronoun that can be left out is enclosed in (brackets):

e.g. Do you know the girl (who/m) he’s talking to?

Where’s the pencil (which) I gave you yesterday?

I haven’t read any of the books (that) I got for Christmas.

I didn’t like that girl (that) you brought to the party.

Did you find the money (which) you lost?

Note: You cannot omit the relative pronoun a.) if it starts a non-defining relative clause, or, b.) if it is the subject of a defining relative clause.

e.g. who is necessary in the following sentence: What's the name of the girl who won the tennis tournament?

2. When the relative clause contains a present or past participle and the auxiliary verb to be. In such cases both relative pronoun and auxiliary can be left out:

e.g. Who’s that man (who is) standing at the gate?

The family (that is) living in the next house comes from Slovenia.

She was wearing a dress (which was) covered in blue flowers.

Most of the parents (who were) invited to the conference did not come.

Anyone (that is) caught writing on the walls will be expelled from school.

Sentences: Simple, Compound, and Complex

A common weakness in writing is the lack of varied sentences. Becoming aware of three general types of sentences - simple, compound, and complex - can help you vary the sentences in your writing.

The most effective writing uses a variety of the sentence types explained below.

Simple sentences

A simple sentence has the most basic elements that make it a sentence: a subject, a verb, and a completed thought.

Examples of simple sentences include the following:

1. Joe waited for the train.

“Joe” = subject, “waited” = verb

2. The train was late.

“The train” = subject, “was” = verb

3. Mary and Samantha took the bus.

“Mary and Samantha” = compound subject, “took” = verb

4. I looked for Mary and Samantha at the bus station.

“I” = subject, “looked” = verb

5. Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station early but waited until noon for the bus.

“Mary and Samantha” = compound subject, “arrived” and “waited” = compound verb

The use of compound subjects, compound verbs, prepositional phrases (such as “at the bus station”), and other elements help lengthen simple sentences, but simple sentences often are short. The use of too many simple sentences can make writing “choppy" and can prevent the writing from flowing smoothly.

A simple sentence can also be referred to as an independent clause. It is referred to as " independent" because, while it might be part of a compound or complex sentence, it can also stand by itself as a complete sentence.

Compound sentences

A compound sentence refers to a sentence made up of two independent clauses (or complete sentences) connected to one another with a coordinating conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions are easy to remember if you think of the words “FAN BOYS”:

§ F or

§ A nd

§ N or

§ B ut

§ O r

§ Y et

§ S o

Examples of compound sentences include the following:

1. Joe waited for the train, but the train was late.

2. I looked for Mary and Samantha at the bus station, but they arrived at the station before noon and left on the bus before I arrived.

3. Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, and they left on the bus before I arrived.

4. Mary and Samantha left on the bus before I arrived, so I did not see them at the bus station.

Coordinating conjunctions are useful for connecting sentences, but compound sentences often are overused. While coordinating conjunctions can indicate some type of relationship between the two independent clauses in the sentence, they sometimes do not indicate much of a relationship. The word “and, ” for example, only adds one independent clause to another, without indicating how the two parts of a sentence are logically related. Too many compound sentences that use “and” can weaken writing.

Clearer and more specific relationships can be established through the use of complex sentences.


Complex sentences

A complex sentence is made up of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses connected to it. A dependent clause is similar to an independent clause, or complete sentence, but it lacks one of the elements that would make it a complete sentence.

Examples of dependent clauses include the following:

§ because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon

§ while he waited at the train station

§ after they left on the bus

Dependent clauses such as those above cannot stand alone as a sentence, but they can be added to an independent clause to form a complex sentence.

Dependent clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions. Below are some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:

§ after

§ although

§ as

§ because

§ before

§ even though

§ if

§ since

§ though

§ unless

§ until

§ when

§ whenever

§ whereas

§ wherever

§ while

A complex sentence joins an independent clause with one or more dependent clauses.

The dependent clauses can go first in the sentence, followed by the independent clause, as in the following:

e.g. Because Mary and Samantha arrived at the bus station before noon, I did not see them at the station.

While he waited at the train station, Joe realized that the train was late.

After they left on the bus, Mary and Samantha realized that Joe was waiting at the train station.

Conversely, the independent clauses can go first in the sentence, followed by the dependent clause, as in the following:

e.g. I did not see them at the station because Mary and Samantha arrived at

the bus station before noon.

Joe realized that the train was late while he waited at the train station.

Mary and Samantha realized that Joe was waiting at the train station

after they left on the bus.

Complex sentences are often more effective than compound sentences because a complex sentence indicates clearer and more specific relationships between the main parts of the sentence. The word “before, ” for instance, tells readers that one thing occurs before another. A word such as “although” conveys a more complex relationship than a word such as “and” conveys.


Gerund or Infinitive

This material is a collection of examples illustrating the use of infinitives and gerunds after certain verbs, with notes on usage and Russian translation.

This collection is intended as a reference list for those cases in which you have difficulty choosing between infinitives and gerunds after certain verbs. It does not mean that you always have to use either an infinitive or a gerund after these verbs. In a number of cases a noun, a pronoun, or a subordinate clause introduced by the conjunction “that” may be preferable after some of these verbs.

e.g. He deserves to get a prize. He deserves a prize. He deserves it.

I miss seeing my friends. I miss my friends. I miss them.

He denied stealing the money. He denied that he had stolen the money. He denied it.

Verb + infinitive

afford: I can't afford to buy this car. It's too expensive.

agree: He agreed to help her.

appear: He appears to be sleeping.

arrange: He arranged to meet us at the airport.

ask: She asked to go with him.

attempt: They attempted to stop him, but it was too late.

beg: She begged to go with him.

begin: It began to snow again. It was beginning to snow. It is beginning to rain.

can’t bear: I can’t bear to see her cry.

can’t stand: He can’t stand to be alone.

care: I don't care to see them again.

cease: Superstitions haven't ceased to exist. Such things ceased to interest him.

choose: He chose to remain silent.

claim: He claims to be the child's father.

consent: She consented to marry him.

continue: He continued to read.

decide: He decided to wait.

demand: I demand to see the report.

deserve: He deserves to be punished.

expect: We expect to come back tomorrow.

fail: He failed to understand their problems.

forget: I forgot to lock the door. I completely forgot to ask her about it.

happen: One of the neighbors happened to be near and heard his shouts.

hate: He hates to be treated like a child.

help: She helped to cook dinner.

hesitate: Don’t hesitate to write to me.

hope: I hope to see you soon.

intend: What do you intend to do? I intend to write an article about it.

learn: He learned to swim when he was 12.

like: He likes to sing.

love: She loves to dance.

manage: He managed to get out of the burning car.

mean: I meant to ask you about it. I didn’t mean to offend you.

need: I need to buy bread and milk. I need to talk to you.

neglect: He neglected to inform them of his arrival.

offer: He offered to help us.

plan: I’m planning to see him tomorrow.

prefer: He prefers to read books rather than watch films. I would prefer to go there by car tomorrow.

prepare: They prepared to meet him.

pretend: She pretended to be reading.

promise: He promised to do it. He promised not to do it. He didn’t promise to do it.

propose: We propose to leave tomorrow.

refuse: He refused to sign the petition.

regret: We regret to inform you that you are fired.

remember: He remembered to call her.

request: He requested to be excused from the meeting.

seem: He seems to have gained weight.

start: He started to write stories.

stop: He stopped to buy a newspaper.

struggle: She struggled to say something and could not.

swear: He swore to take revenge on them.

tend: She tends to forget her promises.

threaten: He threatened to kill them.

try: She tried to run after them, but she couldn't open the door.

volunteer: They volunteered to help her.

wait: They waited to see what would happen after that.

want: I want to buy this book.

wish: He wished to see her.

would like: I would like to go to Paris.

Note: The verb “promise”

The verb “promise” is usually followed by the infinitive directly: She promised to wait for them. Other common constructions: She promised that she would wait for them. She promised him that she would not tell anyone.

The verb “promise” is sometimes used in the construction Verb + noun / pronoun + infinitive, usually in negative constructions: I promised him not to tell you.

Verb + gerund

admit: He admitted taking the money.

advise: He advised buying a new car.

allow: They don't allow smoking here.

anticipate: I anticipate spending a lot of time on this report.

appreciate: I’d appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible.

avoid: She avoided answering my question.

begin: It began raining again. It began snowing.

can't bear: I can’t bear seeing them again.

can't help: I can’t help thinking about it.

can't stand: He can’t stand being alone.

cease: He ceased working two years ago.

complete: He completed writing the report.

consider: They considered selling their collection of coins.

continue: He continued reading.

delay: He delayed filing a complaint.

deny: He denied hitting her.

deserve: His plan deserves considering.

despise: He despises cheating.

detest: She detests working.

discuss: We discussed buying a new car.

dislike: I dislike playing cards.

dread: He dreads going to the dentist.

endure: She cannot endure waiting.

enjoy: I enjoyed talking to you.

escape: It was pure luck that she escaped being hurt in the car accident.

face: He couldn’t face going there alone.

fancy: Fancy winning an automobile.

finish: She finished cleaning at about six.

forbid: She forbids smoking in this room.

forget: I’ll never forget visiting the dungeon in an old Spanish castle. I completely forgot asking her / having asked her about it.

forgive: She won’t forgive cheating.

give up: He gave up trying to find them.

go: go dancing; go fishing; go skating; go skiing; go shopping; go camping; go sightseeing, etc.

go on: Go on reading. She went on speaking for a long time.

hate: She hates being treated like a child.

imagine: Imagine winning a valuable prize.

intend: He intends calling her today. What do you intend doing?

involve: His job involves travelling.

keep (on): He keeps asking me about it. Keep trying. Keep (on) working.

like: He likes singing.

love: She loves dancing.

mean: Going to this college means studying very hard.

mention: He mentioned seeing her there.

mind: Would you mind waiting for me?

miss: He just missed being hit by a truck. I miss talking with him.

need: The house needs repairing. Your clothes need washing.

permit: He doesn’t permit using his computer.

postpone: He postponed writing the report.

practice: Practice repeating these phrases.

prefer: I prefer reading books to watching films. I would prefer going there by train tomorrow.

propose: He proposed leaving at dawn.

put off: Don’t put off talking to him.

quit: He must quit smoking once and for all.

recall: I don’t recall seeing him before.

recollect: I recollect seeing her before.

recommend: He recommends staying at the Redwood Hotel.

regret: I regret telling you about my plan.

remember: I remember calling them several times last week.

resent: I resent having to do it again.

resist: I couldn't resist asking her about it.

resume: After that he resumed reading.

risk: He risks losing everything.

start: He started writing novels.

stop: He stopped buying newspapers.

suggest: She suggested staying at the Redwood Hotel.

tolerate: I won’t tolerate being shouted at.

try: She tried running in the morning, but she didn't like it.

Notes: Verb + infinitive or Verb + gerund

(a) There is little or no difference in meaning between infinitives and gerunds after “begin, start, continue, like, love, hate, prefer, can’t bear, can’t stand”.

e.g. She started to cry. She started crying.

He likes to swim. He likes swimming.

He hates to wash the dishes. He hates washing the dishes.

He prefers to watch TV rather than go to the movies.

He prefers to live alone.

She preferred not to do it.

I’d prefer to go there with you.

I prefer eating at home to eating at a restaurant.

He prefers living alone. I'd prefer going there with you.

(b) There is noticeable difference in meaning between infinitives and gerunds after “forget, remember, regret, stop, try”.

e.g. I will not forget to call him. – I will never forget talking with him on that day.

I remembered to switch off the heater before leaving. – I can remember visiting them when I was a child.

I regret to tell you that you have failed your examination. – I regret telling them about my plans.

Try to find my book; I need it urgently. – Try looking in the desk drawers; maybe you'll find my book there.

She stopped in order to say hello to them. / She stopped to say hello to them. – She stopped saying hello to them.

(c) Note the use of the verbs “cease” and “quit”, synonyms of the verb “stop”: “cease” usually takes an infinitive but sometimes may take a gerund with little change in meaning; “quit” takes a gerund.

(d) Sometimes a gerund is used after “attempt, neglect, plan” with the same meaning as that of the infinitive:

e.g. Have you ever attempted climbing this mountain?

Don’t neglect writing to her once in a while. I planned visiting Rome.

(e) Sometimes an infinitive is used after “dread’, with the same meaning as that of the gerund:

e.g. She dreads to think that they may come back.

(f) The verb “intend” is usually followed by an infinitive but sometimes may be followed by a gerund with no change in meaning:

e.g. We intend to visit them tomorrow. We intend visiting them tomorrow.

(g) The verbs “mean, propose” in the meaning “intend” are followed by an infinitive; the verb “mean” in the meaning “denote, imply” is followed by a gerund; the verb “propose” in the meaning “suggest” is followed by a gerund.

e.g. I didn’t mean to hurt you. She means to go there. –

If I asked him for help, it would mean telling him everything.

I propose to stay there for about a week. – I propose staying here.

(h) The verb “need” is usually followed by an infinitive:

e.g. We need to talk. He needs to buy a new car.

The verb “need” is followed by a gerund in the phrase “to need doing”, usually about cleaning, repairing, improving something: Your jacket needs cleaning. These doors need painting.

Passive infinitives can also be used in such situations: Your jacket needs to be cleaned. These doors need to be painted.

Verb + noun / pronoun + infinitive

advise: He advised us to buy a new car.

allow: They don’t allow him to smoke here.

ask: She asked me to help her.

beg: She begged him to stay with her.

cause: He caused them to leave.

challenge: He challenged them to prove that they could do it better than he did.

command: He commanded them to open fire.

consider: I consider him to be a good man.

convince: He convinced her to accept their offer.

count on: I count on you to do everything correctly.

enable: This discovery enabled him to conduct his own research.

encourage: We encouraged her to go on with her research.

expect: We expect him to come back tomorrow.

feel: I felt him shiver.

find: I found him to be an interesting man.

forbid: I forbid you to go there.

force: He forced them to sign it.

get: Get him to write the report.

have: Have him write the report.

hear: I heard him sing.

help: He helped me (to) do it.

hire: We hired him to repair the roof.

induce: He induced them to do it.

instruct: He instructed them to find her.

invite: They invited her to visit them.

let: Let me help you.

make: Make him pay his debt.

need: I needed him to do several things for me yesterday.

notice: I noticed him nod to someone.

oblige: The law obliges us to pay taxes.

observe: I observed them enter the house.

order: He ordered them to stop immediately.

permit: He permitted her to go there.

persuade: She persuaded him to buy a new car.

rely on: I rely on you to do everything correctly.

remind: He reminded me to call her.

request: He requested them to provide more information about it.

require: The law requires you to pay taxes.

see: I saw him jump over the fence.

teach: She taught him to read.

tell: He told me to wait here.

tempt: Nothing would tempt me to do it.

urge: He urged her to accept their offer.

want: She wanted me to become a doctor.

warn: She warned him not to do it.

watch: I watched him do it.

would like: I would like you to stay here.

Note: Particle “to”

Infinitive is used without the particle “to” after “let, make, have, hear, see, watch, observe, notice, feel”:

e.g. Let him (make him; have him) do it.

I heard (saw, watched, observed, noticed, felt) him do it.

Infinitive is used with “to” if the verb is in the passive: He was made to do it. He was heard to shout at them. He was seen to enter the house. He was noticed to hesitate.

The infinitive is used without “to” in set expressions “let go; make believe; make do”:

e.g. Let go of my hand. They made believe that it was true.

We made do with what we had.

Note: Participle

In constructions like “I heard (saw, watched, observed, noticed, felt) him doing something”, the ing-form is a present participle showing the action in progress.

Note: Gerund

Gerund is used after “advise, allow, forbid, permit” in the following constructions:

advise: He advised buying a new TV set.

allow: They don't allow parking here.

forbid: She forbids entering this room.

permit: He doesn't permit using his car.

Verb in the passive voice + infinitive

advise: He was advised to sell his stocks.

allege: He is alleged to have committed several crimes.

allow: She was allowed to go there.

ask: He was asked to speak at the meeting.

believe: He is believed to be in Africa now.

consider: He is considered to be very rich.

encourage: She was encouraged to proceed with her research.

expect: She is expected to agree.

force: He was forced to leave the company.

hire: He was hired to repair the roof.

instruct: They were instructed to find him.

invite: She was invited to visit them.

know: He is known to be a strict teacher.

oblige: I am obliged to remind you about it.

order: He was ordered to stop.

permit: She is not permitted to drive yet.

report: Four people are reported to have been injured in the explosion.

require: You are required to take this test.

say: He is said to be about 60.

suppose: He was supposed to arrive at five.

tell: He was told to wait.

think: He is thought to have left the city.

warn: He was warned not to do it.

Introduction to sentence connectors in English:

Connectors are the words which combine two words, phrases and sentences together. They have the same meaning of a conjunction but differ in their function. Difference between conjunction and connectors: Conjunctions are used to connect a noun with another noun; two independent clauses; different sentences; a group of words. Connectors are used to connect a large groups of words; phrases; sentences.

e.g. Lisa and Ria are friends.

Here “and” connects two nouns. It is a conjunction.

I broke my leg. However, I still feel great.

Here “however” connects two groups of words, which relate to each other.




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