Unit 8.1

Hearsay reporting


Hearsay reporting is defined as the provision and dissemination of unverified information heard or received from someone. 


Hearsay reporting describes what people say, report, believe, think, consider, know, etc. and is often used in news reporting.

The usual structure of hearsay reporting is the following:
Passive form of the report verb (in present or past simple form) + to-infinitive form

However, there are different versions of hearsay reporting:

Passive + present infinitive state/action in the present
Passive + past infinitive state/action in the past
Past simple passive + present infinitive state/action at the time the report was made
Past simple passive + past infinitive state/action at the time before the report was made

Continuous form

Passive infinitive
Passive participle


  • Dogs are said to be man’s best friends. 
  • The thief is thought to have escaped from prison.
  • She was known to be a very successful woman. 
  • They were believed to have committed several crimes. 
  • The child is showing to be behaving very well. 
  • His luggage was thought to have been lost.
  • He denied having been involved in the robbery.


Hearsay reporting is used to convey unverified information that you have heard or received from someone but whose reliability is doubtful.


Hearsay reports indicate what people say, report, believe, think, consider, know, etc. They convey unverified information that may or may not be true. 

They can refer to the present, the past, or a time before the time of reporting.

For example:

— “The suspect is said to be dangerous.” = passive + present infinitive, it’s a present reference.
— “The boy was believed to have stolen the money.” = past simple passive + past infinitive, it is a reference before the time of reporting.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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