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Reporting verbs with 'that', 'wh-' and 'if' clauses

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Level: intermediate

Reporting verbs with that clauses

When we want to report what people say or think, we can use a reporting verb and a clause with that:

He said that I had to see a doctor.
I thought that he was being silly
.

We can leave out the word that:

He said I had to see a doctor.
I thought he was being silly.

These verbs have the pattern:

Noun + Verb + (that) + Clause

With some verbs, we can mention the hearer as the object of the verb:

She reminded him that it was time to go.
He told me he was a friend of yours.

These verbs have the pattern:

Noun + Verb + Noun + (that) + Clause

Reporting verbs with wh- and if clauses

Some reporting verbs introduce a wh- clause or an if clause:

She explained what we had to do.
I didn't know where to go.

He asked if I was ready.
I wonder if they're at home.

These verbs have the pattern:

Noun + Verb + wh- word + Clause

or

Noun + Verb + if + Clause

With some verbs, we can mention the hearer as the object of the verb:

He told me what I had to do.
He asked them if they were ready.

These verbs have the pattern:

Noun + Verb + Noun + wh- word + Clause

or

Noun + Verb + Noun + if + Clause

Reporting verbs 1

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Reporting verbs 2

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Comments

Hello. Is the following sentence correct using "if" or it must be "whether" instead.
- The teacher asked me if I visited France or not.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam

'if' and 'whether' are both correct here.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Could you help me? Which verb form is correct?
He asked me just now if I will watch the football match at the stadium.
He asked me just now if I would watch the football match at the stadium.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Both forms are possible. In reported speech (including reported questions) there is often a tense shift backwards, which would make 'Will you watch...' into '...if I would watch...'. However, the shift is not always necessary. If the event (the match) has not yet taken place then will is also possible. There is no difference in meaning in this case.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Are the two sentences correct?
- Jana has just told Hana that they are going to their friend's party tonight.
- Jana has just told Hana that they were going to their friend's party tonight.
I am confused when the reporting verb is: "has just told", "said a moment ago".
I think we must not backshift the tense with these statements.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam

The first sentence is correct, but the second one is not. If you changed 'has just told' to 'just told', then it would be correct, especially in American English, where it's very common to use the past simple with 'just' to refer to a very recent past.

Please note that you might hear a sentence like the second one in informal speaking from time to time, but it is not a standard form.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Could you please help me? To change the following sentence into reported speech, are the two following sentences correct?
"Before I went home, I had done the shopping."
- I told the manager that before I went home, I had done the shopping.
- I told the manager that before I had gone home, I had done the shopping.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Without any other context, the first sentence is the one I would choose. While the second sentence is not grammatically incorrect, it does not seem very natural to me.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,...
Could you help me with this clause.
'I know what makes you happy.'

Should we always use 'makes'?

Or can we use 'make' instead ?
And if we can, what is the difference.?

Thank u, sir.
Have a great day.

Hello Risa warysha

'makes' is what we say here. 'what' can include the idea of plural things too, but we just use a singular verb after it in this case.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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