Is this right or wrong and has the same meaning as the two sentences below?

I recommended that you kept silent.

These two are surely right, yes?

I recommended that you keep silent.
I recommended that you should keep silent.

Can I use something like 'say' in the examples above?

I said that you kept silent.
I said that you keep silent.
I said that you should keep silent.

How about using BE - Could you please give an example?
I insisted that   she/you/I    was/were ...............

  • 1
    "keep silent" is a request, recommendation, order, so you cannot use "said" without quoting what is said (e.g.: I said: "Keep silent!"), or use it with one of your suggestion "I said that you should keep silent", which doesn't work with recommended. Another possibility using "keep" is "I recommended/asked/... you to keep silent". As for your last part, you can also say "I insisted that she/you/... be silent", but it is slightly different in meaning. It means that you weren't necessarily silent before.
    – MorganFR
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 13:14
  • @MorganFR So I insisted she be silent is correct. and what about this: I said: you should keep silent OR I said: You keep silent OR I said: You kept silent! Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 13:40
  • 1
    If you wanna use I said: "quote", you can use any sentence that is a correct direct sentence. All those examples are therefore correct (except "you kept silent!", which has a different meaning), although they need to be in between quotation marks (""). Direct quotes are not really a good way to go in most cases (unless it's a written dialog with other quotes), so I'd advise against using them and instead, you should use other examples I gave you.
    – MorganFR
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


The three variations after "recommended" all have the same meaning.

The three variations with "said" have different meanings:

"I said that you kept silent." suggests that you stayed silent while (or during) some event.

"I said that you keep silent." suggests that you are normally a silent person. Perhaps you seldom speak. Perhaps you move quietly when you walk.

"I said that you should keep silent." suggests that you were instructed to be silent but that you disobeyed, that you spoke or made other noises. It could also be used in the sense that you were instructed and you obeyed that instruction, however I would expect some additional words in this case. Perhaps to a child you would say "I said that you should keep silent and you did, so well done."

For the last variation where an instruction is given the word "keep" can be replaced with "be". When I think about this change I believe that "be" is more usual with an instruction. The terse order to "be quiet" was often said to me as a child.

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