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How to report that imperative sentence indirectly: "He will come and see me tomorrow."? Should we use "would" or "should" in the reported statement: "X ordered that he would / should come and see them the following day."

Thank you very much for the answer. I am not a native speaker of English. I learnt that "will" constitutes a command when it is pronounced strongly and I thought the statement "He will come and see me" was an order. If it was an order then it would be or could be reported with the reporting verb "order." If the statement can't be taken as an order then there is a problem either with my apperception or the knowledge I obtained regarding the use of "will." I would be very grateful if somebody would explain what is wrong with my knowledge. I'll clarify my example. Tom to George: "Arthur will come and see me tomorrow!" Can't we use that statement as an order? If we can, can't we report it with the reporting verb "order"? Many thanks in advance.

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  • Imperative is: Come and see me. Your idea about will is not right. /He will come and see me/ becomes /He said he would come and see me tomorrow/ in indirect speech. Will is NOT a command. A command is just the verb: Go to bed, shut the window, keep quiet.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 23:06
  • @Lambie - “will” CAN be a command. “You will come see see me tomorrow (because if you don’t I’ll tell your mother.)”. ... when it is pronounced strongly. But it’s not easy to do that with third person subjects. It might be more of ab implied command. “He will come see me tomorrow”, said the queen to her magistrate, because if he doesn’t I’ll have your head.
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 3:44
  • @Jim You will come and see me tomorrow is not really a command. From the point of view of meaning, it is like must: You must come see me tomorrow or else.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 14:38
  • Tell that to your mother when she says that to you. :-) I see it as different than must. Must, to me, implies that your coming is a gating criteria for something else that is important. You must come see me (otherwise we won’t new able to do X) Emphatic will is used as a command- typically to assert (or reassert) the speaker’s dominance.
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 15:30

3 Answers 3

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As presented, there is nothing to report in any form so who actually said what, please?

‘X ordered that he should come and see them the following day’ is better than ‘…would …’ but only in the context of the given question.

‘He will come and see me tomorrow’ cannot be transposed into anyone ordering anything, whether the visitation is assured or not. It has nothing to with X or any order, nor indeed with anything said. It appears to be a statement not by ‘him’ but by ‘me’; a belief or conclusion based on something else that went before, not a report.

If originally ‘he’ had said ‘I’ll come and see you tomorrow’ then a direct report would simply state ‘He said “I’ll come and see you tomorrow.’

An indirect version might be ‘He said he would come and see you tomorrow.’

‘X ordered…’ seems to introduce a third person, presumably a superior of ’he’

If originally X had said to ‘him’: ‘You will go and see them tomorrow’ then a direct report would simply state ‘X told him “You will go and see them tomorrow.’

An indirect version might be ‘X told him to go and see them tomorrow’ or with some liberty ‘… the next day’.

‘X told him he must go…’ appears more obvious because it’s closer to the original but although clearly, X did the telling, who was to do the going?

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/He ordered me to come and see him tomorrow./ is not reported speech.

Reported speech is this /I want to leave tomorrow./ becoming /She said she wanted to leave tomorrow./

WILL becomes WOULD in indirect speech (There are also other tenses)

  • I will come by tomorrow.
  • We will show them the city

    become:

  • I said I would come tomorrow.
  • We said we would show them the city.

    Direct to indirect speech:

  • I am ordering you to come and see me tomorrow.

  • He ordered me to go [or come] and see him tomorrow.

Direct to indirect speech

  • You will come and see me tomorrow!
  • He said you would come and see me tomorrow [indirect speech]
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"Should" leaves it open for X to not show up at all, whereas, "would" definitely commits him. "X said that he would come and see them the following day."

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  • Thanks for the answer, but I was wondering if I should use "would" or "should" if I used "order" as a reporting verb: "X ordered that he ..." Can somebody comment on using the verb "order" as a reporting verb regarding the imparative statement: "He will come and see me tomorrow." Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 12:55
  • If you are asking only about a choice between "would" or "should" to fit the words given, not the grammar or semantics, then "will" requires "would" but it is far from that simple… Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 23:24

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