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 a direct 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

Hello teachers, i have this clause: i think of her going away during the timeout, may i write it as it follows : i think that she goes away during the timeout, the meaning is different,isn't it?
Now i also wonder which of these is the correct one:
i think there is not a train which crosses the country in an hour or i think of there not being a train which crosses the country in an hour.

best wishes.

Hello rosario70,

You are right that the meaning is different. In your first sentence the meaning is something like 'I imagine her doing this' - you are talking about what you see in your mind. In the the second sentence you are expressing an opinion saying what you believe she does, not just imagining it in your mind.

The distinction is the same in the second pair of sentences. 'I think that...' expresses an opinion. 'I think of...' describes what you see in your imagination.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

As someone mentioned earlier, learners want to know which verbs use that and which do not. A common confusing is with "about." Here is my attempt at a list

1) Verbs that take both “about” and “that”

think about, write about, argue about, read about, explain (about), know about, forget about, guess about, reply about, agree about, answer about, complain about,

think that, write that, argue that, read that, explain that, know that, forget that, guess that, reply that, agree that, answer that, complain that,

2) Verbs that ONLY take “that”
say that, assert that, claim that, believe, expect that, hope that, imagine* that, feel that, remember that, suppose that, deny that, mention that, promise that, suggest that,

imagine takes "about" if it has a direct object, e.g. "What do you imagine about the future?"

3) Verbs that ONLY take “about” NOT “that”
talk about, discuss (about),

4) Verbs that do not use either discuss politics, explain yourself, consider Japan,

hi kirk

you have any lesson like talk about "LET'S". if you have pls suggest me.

thanks
hussain

Hi taj25,

I can't remember any but you can do a search using the magnifying glass icon in the top right of this page. Just type in let's and see what results are offered.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

good evening to everyone, i have a question for you one more time, i hope you will be able to help me.

i noticed this clauses:

1)she didn't really think that it would happen;
2) i knew that i had seen her somewhere before.

the question is the following.
if i wrote in the following way the clause 2( i knew that i saw her somewhere before), the meaning would change because see is not a model verb like would , is it? while i can't write (1)she didin't really think that it would have happened ), because would is a modal verb.

thank you in advance and happy new year!

Hello rosario70,

The use of tenses here is dependent on the particular context in which the sentences are used, but in general the reason you use 'would' in the second sentence is because the sentence describes an opinion in the past. You would say 'will' if you were predicting the future, and 'would' if you were describing a prediction in the past.

Prediction about the future: "I don't really think it will happen"

Describing the prediction: She didn't really think it would happen

I don't think we would use 'saw' in the other example. The correct form, I would say, is 'had seen' as there is a clear relationship between the two verbs (knowing and seeing).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Good morning to everyone: i have these clauses:

i'gutted about mother 's going away ,2) you are agnry me rejecting you,3 ) i'm worried about him staling my promotion.as well as. 4) i'm happy that you come to my party, 5) you are sad that i'm not feeling well today, 6) you are afraid i don't pay off my debt;
could i say as follows? 1) i'm gutted that mother goes away,2) you are angry that i reject you, 3) I'm worried that he steals my promotion, 4) I' m happy about you coming to my party, 5) you are sad about me not feeling well today, 6) you are afraid about about me not paying off my debt:

i'd like to know the rule to understand when i can use either or ones.

thanks in advance.

Hello rosario70,

I'm afraid there's no rule that will explain how these different words are used. Instead, I'd suggest that you think of there being patterns of words that often go together (called 'collocations') instead. For example, 'angry' often collocates with 'with' and 'for', e.g. 'you're angry with me for rejecting you'.

Sometimes you can find these patterns in the dictionary, but an even better tool for finding them is a concordancer. I'd suggest you try the British National Corpus. Write 'angry' (or you can also write phrases, e.g. 'angry that') in the search box, then press 'Find matching strings', then press the link 'ANGRY' and you'll see a list of many sentences with 'angry' in them. Notice which prepositions are used with it and when. You can find useful information about most any word this way.

My suggestions for your alternative sentences would be:

1. I'm gutted because mother's going away
2. You're angry with me for rejecting you
3. I'm worried about him getting my promotion
4. I'm happy about you coming (though this is a bit strange)
5. You're sad about me not feeling well
6. You're afraid about me not paying off my debt (though this is a bit strange)

Other forms are possible, but please see what you can find in the concordancer.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!

Thank you for this excellent website.

Could you answer a question for me? Are "that clauses" always noun clauses?

Thank you.

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