He told me not to do it (negative request)

The English Grammar Profile B2 point 14 in REPORTED SPEECH is defined as:

‘ask’ or ‘tell’ + direct object + ‘not’ + ‘to-‘infinitive.


This point can be extended with Pearson’s GSE 60 B2

report orders, requests and advice with infinitive clauses.
She told me not to do it.
He warned us not to be late.

*Pearson also includes an affirmative example: ‘She encouraged him to study’, which we can’t be sure to carry B2 listing without negation.  There are also many other common ‘reporting verbs’ in this structure that are not listed in the EGP such as: ‘urge’, ‘caution’, ‘encourage’,  and ‘advise’.  They are also not always in the past simple.


An iWeb search for told|asked _p not to _v:

1 TOLD ME NOT TO WORRY 940


2 TOLD HER NOT TO WORRY 282

PELIC STUDENT EXAMPLES:

My mom gave her employee some money to support her,

and told her not to worry about her job and that she could come back to work when her son’s situation is stable.

Taiwanese, Female, Level 4, writing class

*Note the above point also contains B2 point 138 = modality with could in reported speech.

 

I quickly checked my schedule, and just had one class, then told her not to worry.

Chinese, Female, Level 4, grammar class


3 TOLD HIM NOT TO WORRY 276
4 TOLD ME NOT TO DO 269
5 TOLD ME NOT TO USE 190
6 TOLD ME NOT TO BE 183
7 TOLD ME NOT TO GO 173
8 TOLD ME NOT TO TAKE 155
9 TOLD ME NOT TO TELL 151
10 TOLD HIM NOT TO DO 147
11 TOLD HER NOT TO TELL 131
12 TOLD ME NOT TO COME 127
13 TOLD YOU NOT TO DO 123
14 TOLD US NOT TO WORRY 120
15 TOLD ME NOT TO GET 119
16 TOLD ME NOT TO BOTHER 105
17 TOLD HIM NOT TO COME 88
18 TOLD THEM NOT TO DO 86
19 TOLD THEM NOT TO WORRY 86
20 TOLD HIM NOT TO BE 83
21 TOLD HIM NOT TO GO 81
22 TOLD THEM NOT TO CALL 67
23 TOLD HER NOT TO DO 65
24 TOLD THEM NOT TO BE 65
25 TOLD HER NOT TO BE 64
26 TOLD ME NOT TO LET 64
27 TOLD HIM NOT TO TELL 61
28 TOLD HIM NOT TO BOTHER 59
29 TOLD ME NOT TO TALK 59
30 TOLD ME NOT TO SAY 57
31 TOLD US NOT TO DO 57
32 TOLD HER NOT TO GO 56
33 TOLD HIM NOT TO REACH 55
34 TOLD ME NOT TO GIVE 55
35 TOLD THEM NOT TO GO 55
36 TOLD YOU NOT TO GO 54
37 ASKED ME NOT TO TELL 53


38 TOLD HIM NOT TO CALL 53

Finally, it turned out to be a telemarketing call, so I told him not to call again and I ha[u]ng up the phone.

Arabic, Male, Level 4, grammar class

 

When I figured out he [wa]is just wasting my time, I told him not to call me back, but he seemed he never cares[d].

Arabic, Male, Level 4, grammar class


39 TOLD ME NOT TO BUY 52
40 TOLD ME NOT TO EAT 46
41 ASKED US NOT TO USE 45
42 TOLD ME NOT TO CALL 44
43 TOLD ME NOT TO LOOK 44
44 TOLD HIM NOT TO TAKE 43
45 ASKED HIM NOT TO DO 42
46 TOLD THEM NOT TO COME 42
47 TOLD US NOT TO GO 41
48 TOLD HIM NOT TO GET 40
49 TOLD ME NOT TO PUT 40
50 ASKED THEM NOT TO DO 39
51 TOLD HER NOT TO COME 39
52 TOLD HIM NOT TO TOUCH 39
53 TOLD YOU NOT TO WORRY 39
54 TOLD ME NOT TO MAKE 38
55 TOLD THEM NOT TO EAT 37
56 TOLD YOU NOT TO GET 37
57 ASKED ME NOT TO USE 36
58 TOLD HER NOT TO BOTHER 36
59 TOLD US NOT TO BE 36
60 ASKED THEM NOT TO CALL 34
61 TOLD ME NOT TO EXPECT 33
62 TOLD THEM NOT TO BOTHER 33
63 TOLD HIM NOT TO USE 32
64 TOLD ME NOT TO HAVE 32
65 TOLD ME NOT TO TOUCH 32
66 TOLD YOU NOT TO COME 32
67 TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH 32
68 TOLD ME NOT TO CRY 31
69 TOLD YOU NOT TO USE 31
70 ASKED HIM NOT TO GO 30
71 TOLD HER NOT TO SAY 30
72 TOLD HIM NOT TO TALK 30
73 TOLD THEM NOT TO TAKE 30
74 TOLD THEM NOT TO TELL 30
75 TOLD YOU NOT TO TELL 30
76 TOLD HIM NOT TO MOVE 29
77 TOLD HIM NOT TO SAY 29
78 TOLD US NOT TO USE 29
79 TOLD HER NOT TO CALL 28
80 TOLD HER NOT TO TALK 28
81 TOLD ME NOT TO PLAY 28
82 TOLD ME NOT TO WASTE 28
83 TOLD HIM NOT TO GIVE 27
84 TOLD THEM NOT TO TOUCH 26
85 TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL 26
86 TOLD HER NOT TO TAKE 25
87 TOLD ME NOT TO DRINK 25
88 TOLD ME NOT TO LEAVE 25
89 TOLD ME NOT TO MOVE 25
90 TOLD ME NOT TO CONTACT 24
91 TOLD ME NOT TO RUN 24
92 TOLD YOU NOT TO PLAY 24
93 ASKED HER NOT TO TELL 23
94 TOLD HER NOT TO GET 23
95 TOLD ME NOT TO TRY 23
96 TOLD YOU NOT TO EAT 23
97 ASKED ME NOT TO LEAVE 22
98 ASKED ME NOT TO MENTION 22
99 ASKED US NOT TO DO 22
100 TOLD HER NOT TO TOUCH 22


I just told him not to think too much, because I thought the situation was very common in lovers.

Chinese, Male, Level 4, grammar class

 

However, I always told myself not to avoid going outside and I need to overcome the problem.

Chinese, Male, Level 4, grammar class

 

My teammate must have thought, “I should have told him not to drink so much.”

Japanese, Male, Level 4, grammar class

At first there was something [that] told me not to receive this assignment, yet I thought if I did it well, my boss would promote me easily.

Thai, Male, level 5, grammar class

 

Then, my grandparents encouraged us to make an extra effort in our lives, and they told us not to give up anything easily.

Chinese, level 2, grammar class

 

  • *I’m not sure if they used ‘give up’ with the correct meaning here.  Possibly: ‘give up on
  • Also note only one example of ‘asked’ below, and this reflects the iWeb proportional frequency which is also mostly ‘told’.

The rich man laughed and asked Afandi not to joke, and bring out his cauldron, he asked Afandi not to fool him and told him that it was impossible for a cauldron to die.

Male, level 5, grammar class

 

An inner voice told me not to follow them in their adventure, but I couldn’t resist.

Arabic, Female, Level 5, grammar class

MY wife told me not to pick the phone up.

Arabic, Male, Level 4, grammar class


There are no other points in the EGP without the ‘ask’ or ‘tell’.  We have also extended this grammar point with the base structure:  lexical verb + noun phrase + NOT TO + infinitive which probably is in the C levels.

A search in the NOW corpus for:

_VV _N not to _VVI

1 CAUTIONS READERS NOT TO PLACE 509
2 CAUTION READERS NOT TO PLACE 321
3 URGED PEOPLE NOT TO PANIC 206
4 CAUTIONS INVESTORS NOT TO PLACE 201
5 CAUTION INVESTORS NOT TO PLACE 154
6 ASKING PEOPLE NOT TO TRAVEL 102
7 URGING PEOPLE NOT TO TRAVEL 95
8 ASKED PEOPLE NOT TO PANIC 85
9 ADVISING CONSUMERS NOT TO PURCHASE 75
10 PAYING PEOPLE NOT TO WORK 75
11 URGING AMERICANS NOT TO TRAVEL 73
12 TOLD ALLIES NOT TO USE 67
13 URGED PEOPLE NOT TO DELAY 62
14 ADVISING PEOPLE NOT TO TRAVEL 62
15 ADVISED FISHERMEN NOT TO VENTURE 60
16 URGING PEOPLE NOT TO USE 58
17 URGING PEOPLE NOT TO PANIC 56
18 URGING PEOPLE NOT TO VOTE 55
19 ASKING PEOPLE NOT TO GO 52
20 URGED BRITAIN NOT TO DISCRIMINATE 48
21 TELLING PEOPLE NOT TO GO 43
22 ADVISE WOMEN NOT TO BREASTFEED 43

B2 Vocabulary:

consumers, fishermen, investors, panic, purchase

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