Indirect speech and the imperative

Reminder: indirect speech is used to quote what someone else has said, and it is formed by using an introductory verb, like dire (to say), pensare (to think), or credere (to think, to believe), etc.

Marta: «Ho trascorso delle belle vacanze» → Marta dice che ha trascorso delle belle vacanze.

Marta: “I had a wonderful vacation” → Marta says that she had a wonderful vacation.

When the verb in the direct speech is in the imperative (directed at anyone), the indirect speech uses the following structure: introductory verb (in any tense) + di + the infinitive of the verb which was in the imperative.

Ciro: «Carlotta, cucina le scarpe!» cucinare, imperativo presente → Ciro dice a Carlotta di cucinare le scarpe dire, presente.

Ciro: “Carlotta, cook the shoes!” → Ciro tells Carlotta to cook the shoes.

The same rule applies to the negative imperative in indirect speech – we just add non before the infinitive.

Magda: «Anna, non prendere appuntamenti!» prendere, imperativo negativo → Magda ha detto ad Anna di non prendere appuntamenti dire, passato prossimo.

Magda: “Anna, don't make any appointments!” → Magda told Anna not to make any appointments.

Ruggero: «Betty e Ciro, non date da mangiare alle anatre!» dare, imperativo negativo → Ruggero disse a Betty e Ciro di non dare da mangiare alle anatre dire, passato remoto.

Ruggero: “Betty and Ciro, don't give the ducks food!” → Ruggero told Betty and Ciro not to give the ducks food.

Note: for verbs used with pronouns, the pronouns are also quoted in the indirect speech along with the infinitive verb.

Mario: «Sediamoci a tavola!» → Mario ci ha detto di sederci a tavola.

Mario: “Let's sit at the table!” → Mario told us to sit at the table.

Carlo: «Siediti a tavola!» → Carlo mi ha detto di sedermi a tavola.

Carlo: “Sit at the table!” → Carlo told me to sit at the table.

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