verbs followed by that clause

 

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 must always have a direct object (see clauses, sentences and phrases):

  • 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

Comments

Hi! I have a doubt about verb "to note". Can it be used without being followed by "that"?

For example: Note this site will be deleted. Would it be correct?

Thanks in advance.

Hi AliG,

If you look up note in the dictionary (see the search box on the right) - be sure to click on the verb entry - you'll see that when it's used the way you have used it, note is followed by that.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

The difficult thing is not 'verbs followed by a that-clause'… this is the normal case! Almost any verb can be followed by a that-clause (i.e. a clause with a verb that is conjugated). The special cases are when a verb cannot be followed by a that-clause, like 'want to do sth', 'want sb to do sth'. A list of those verbs would be very helpful! (In French, you say: 'Je veux que tu fasses quelque chose.'… the infinitive or gerund clause is not possible whereas in English, it is not only possible, as with 'before I did sth' or 'before doing sth', but it is compulsory.

Hello.
I've come across such a sentence: The teacher suggested that her students write a composition.
It's a kind of reported speech, isn't it? Why don't we move the tense back then? Can we use "wrote" instead of "write"?

Hello Anandymaya!
 
Actually, both sentences are OK. Older grammar books will tell you that you must move the tense back, but we don't always. Have a look at my answer to Anthonis below for a bit more information. Here, it's not clear that the whole situation is definitely in the past (perhaps the teacher suggested it yesterday, and the assignment is due next week) so either tense is OK for write.
 
Hope that helps
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team 

Hello,

I have a question about tenses:
In which case we use a base form of the verb after the that clause, because in the below sentences all verbs are in differents tenses.

Thinks

Please let me know if the below sentences are right.
1. "He told me that he will meet you on Monday."
2. "She said that she doesn't like Cricket."
Do we have to use past tense in the second part of the above sentences? I have confusion on tenses in such compound sentences.

Hello Anthonis -
 
These are perfectly OK. Older grammar books will often tell you that in reported speech you should move the tense back, but this doesn't reflect how we actually talk or write. In 1, if you are talking about a future Monday (say, next Monday) will is fine. Likewise, in 2, we are talking about a general preference, so again it is OK to use the present. The only reason you would definitely use the past is if you are talking about the past.

1. He told me that he would meet you on Monday. It is Tuesday now, and he didn't come. (therefore, past)
2. “She said that she didn't like cricket.” Now, this could mean exactly the same as your first example. It might mean, however, that she didn't like cricket before but she does like it now.
 
Hope that helps - I know you've asked about this issue on a couple of our pages, but rest assured that it is a little bit easier than you think. Just try to think about the sequence of events logically, and remember we usually use present tense for general statements.
 
Regards
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

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