With "that"

We can use clauses with that:

• after verbs of thinking:

  • think
  • believe
  • expect
  • decide
  • hope
  • know
  • understand
  • suppose
  • guess
  • imagine
  • feel
  • remember
  • forget

I hope that you will enjoy your holiday.
She didn’t really think that it would happen.
I knew that I had seen her somewhere before.

• after verbs of saying:

  • say
  • admit
  • argue
  • reply
  • agree
  • claim
  • deny
  • mention
  • answer
  • complain
  • explain
  • promise
  • suggest

They admitted that they had made a mistake.
She argued that they should invest more in the business.
The children complained that they had nothing to do.

Note: tell and some other verbs of saying almost always have an indirect object (see clauses, sentences and phrases). There are also some fixed expressions with tell such as tell the truth, tell a lie, tell a story, tell it like it is.

  • tell
  • convince
  • persuade
  • inform
  • remind

We tried to tell them that they should stop what they were doing.
The police informed everybody that the danger was over.

• as postmodifiers after nouns to do with thinking or saying:

  • advice
  • belief
  • claim
  • feeling
  • argument
  • hope
  • promise
  • report
  • guess
  • opinion
  • idea

He made a promise that he would do all he could to help.
I had a funny feeling that something was wrong.

• after some nouns to say more about the noun:

  • fact
  • advantage
  • effect
  • possibility
  • chance
  • danger
  • evidence
  • problem
  • difficulty

She pointed out the danger that they might be left behind.
There was a chance that we would succeed

Note: We often use a that clause to define one of these nouns after the verb be :

  • danger
  • problem
  • chance
  • possibility
  • fact

The danger is that we will be left behind.
The fact is that it is getting very late.

• after some adjectives which describe feelings to give a reason for our feelings:

  • pleased
  • sorry
  • happy
  • unhappy
  • sad
  • excited
  • glad
  • disappointed
  • afraid

I am sorry that you can’t come.
Everybody was pleased that the danger was past.
It is lucky that you were able to drive us home.

No "that"

 NOTE: We can always use a clause without the word that:

They admitted [that] they had made a mistake.
The police informed everybody [that] the danger was over.
I am sorry [that] you can’t come.
There was chance [that] we would succeed.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

What is the function of the "that" clause in this sentence? I am sorry that you can’t come. If it is a noun clause, is it an object or a subject?

Hello Marcus1,

The best term to describe this in my view is 'content clause'. You can read more about these on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Sir. When I'm studying (a that-clause with should + bare infinitive) I have read these examples:
'They have proposed that Jim should move to their London office'.
'I suggested that Mr Clarke should begin to look for another job'.
'It has been agreed that the company should not raise its prices'
Could you tell me please is it correct to omit 'that' in those examples?
and also After should+be + past participle or be + adjective like these examples:
'The report recommends that the land should not be sold.'
'We urged that the students should be told immediately'
Is it correct also to omit 'that'?

Hello mohamedfathy,

For the most part, yes, you could omit 'that' in these sentences. To be more specific, in sentences 1, 2, 3 and 4 it would be completely normal. The last sentence, with the verb 'urge', which is a fairly formal word, would sound a bit odd without 'that', though I don't think anyone would have any trouble understanding it. In general, all of the sentences sound slightly more formal with 'that', though this doesn't mean that they are informal if you omit 'that'.

I hope this helps you!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Thank you, Kirk. But I have another Question please, I have read 'That' cannot be dropped after nouns and the last (Note: We can always use a clause without the word that) like in this example:
'There was a chance [that] we would succeed.' to be 'there was a chance we would succeed'
Could you please tell me why we can omit 'that' in that example?

Hello mohamedfathy,

I'm afraid we don't comment on what other sources say, but I'm not familiar with the rule you mention, i.e. that 'that' cannot be dropped after nouns. This might apply to a specific sort of sentence, but is definitely not true in, for example, the example sentences you refer to on this page.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Kirk. yes, that is right it were specific sentences, the sentences were:
'The Dean of the Humanities Faculty informed the students that the drama dept was going to close.'
'He left a message on my voice mail that he was leaving immediately for Vienna.'
please, could you tell me why in those sentences we can't omit 'that' and in this sentence: 'There was a chance [that] we would succeed'. we can omit 'that'

Hello mohamedfathy,

OK, thanks. I'm afraid that in the end, this comes down to being a question of usage. In other words, 'that' is usually used with the verb 'inform' (though I think you might be able to find examples where it isn't used). In general, 'that' is not omitted as much in formal contexts, and the verb 'inform' is fairly formal, so there's no surprise that 'that' is usually used with it.

The same is true for the second sentence, though the word 'message', unlike 'inform', is not particularly formal. 'chance' is fairly informal and so 'that' is sometimes used and sometimes not.

I wish there were some clear rule that I could give you to help you with this, but I'm afraid I'm not aware of any such clear rule! Nevertheless, I hope this helps you make sense of things.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Kirk. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your help

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