We use reported speech when we want to express what someone said. For example, "My mother said that she loved me." This communicates what your mother said at some point in the past. But if someone gives you an order in the imperative, like "Do your homework", how can you report this? Or what if someone asks you, "Are you from around here?" How would you report that? In this essential lesson, I will teach you three grammar rules on how to report speech when you receive an order, instructions, or are asked a yes/no question.


Hey, everyone. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on "Reported Speech". Now, in this lesson, I'm going to look at two very specific cases of reported speech, and I will expect that you already have the basic knowledge of how reported speech works. If you don't, we have a lot of videos on engVid to get you prepared. Benjamin has done a lesson on reported speech, Ronnie has done one, I've done one on "say" and "tell", so make sure you have the basics of this before you jump to this lesson, or watch this lesson first and then go back and look at those lessons for the basics.

So, today, I'm going to tell you how to report imperatives and instructions, and how to report yes and no questions. So, imperatives. What's an imperative? It's a command: "Stop", "Don't do that", "Don't go there", "Study a lot of English if you want to improve", whatever it is. And instructions, you know, instructions, commands, these are very similar things. But an instruction could be something you read on the back of a box of cookies, and how to bake them, for example.

So, first, let's look at an affirmative imperative, an affirmative instruction or a command. So if your teacher says: "Turn to page 209 in your textbook", how do you report this? Well, when you're reporting something that is a command, that is an imperative, that starts with a base verb like "go", "do", "play", "make", "turn", what you need to do after your reporting verb: "He said", you actually need to use "to" plus the base verb. Okay? So, here: "Turn to page 209." If I'm saying this and later you go to your friend, or your friend says: "What did he say?" You said: "Oh, he said to turn to page 209." So, we have: "Turn to page 209." When you're reporting, make sure you have "to" plus the base verb. Okay? "He said to turn to page 209.", "He told us to turn to page 209." So, here we have: "He told us to turn to page 209." And again, I'm going to assume that you already have the basics of reporting structure, but here specifically, this is an instruction, an imperative that you are reporting. So you have the base verb in the instruction, and then you have "to" plus the base verb when you're reporting it.

Now, if you are reporting a negative command, for example: "Do not cross the street." Maybe you are reading a sign that says: "Do not cross when red." You know, when the light is red, for example. Well, how do you report a negative one? Very, very simple: "The sign said not to cross the street." Okay? So, here we have "to turn", here we have "not to cross". So, an imperative will always be in the present. You will always hear: "Stop", "Go", "Do", "Don't", okay? And because of that, when you are reporting a negative imperative, all you have to do is add "not" before "to" plus the base verb. So: "The teacher said not to do this.", "The sign said not to do this." Okay? So, again, if you are reading, let's say, an instruction manual for your new digital camera or your new phone and it says, okay: "Charge your phone before first use." So, before you use your phone, charge it for six hours, for example. So, say: -"Hey, what does the instruction manual say? My phone is not turning on." -"Ah, the instruction manual says to charge it", "to charge", the instructions say to charge for six hours before you use it for the first time.

Now, let's move on to yes/no questions. So, we have three yes/no questions. "Do you need help?", "Is she here?", "Can you play guitar?" So, first: "Do you need help?" Yes or no? Present simple question. "He asked", and again, I'm going to give you a lot of different reporting verbs, here, like: "He asked", "He wanted to know", "He was wondering", and I'm going to assume that you already have this knowledge. "He asked me" or "He asked if I needed help." And again, you can probably already see this formula, here, "if", "if", "if". So, when you are reporting a yes/no question, in the reporting, you need to add an "if". Very simple.