Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I told Jim not to shout.

I told Jim don't shout.

Could anyone possibly tell me what is the difference between these? And which one would you rather use?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

The first is indirect discourse: it reports the content of what you said, not your actual words.

The second is direct discourse, reporting your actual words, and should be pointed with quotation marks:

I told Jim, "Don’t shout!"

share|improve this answer
    
If your actual words to Jim were "Don't shout.", you can quote them as @StoneyB said (you can use either form). Otherwise, you must use the first form ("I told Jim not to shout."), as you don't want to misquote yourself. –  Phil Perry Mar 10 at 14:49

To answer your second question: if I thought I had said something especially clever, I would quote it directly as in your second example. If I simply wanted someone to understand what I told him, I'd use the indirect example. Therefore, since I am a humble and self-effacing soul, I would prefer the usage in your first example. :)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.