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

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.

Hello Sibtid Pocachang,

Generally, I would say yes, but it does depend on what you mean by 'that clause'. For example, some relative clauses can be introduced by 'that' and these have an adjective rather than noun function. However, in the traditional understanding of 'that clause' they are a form of noun clause.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi again!

I got it. Thank you very much. I try to be clear, but sometimes that quest fails.

Hi
I went through your answer about using gerund given to 'rosairo 70'
I have understood it but I have a question. That is when one uses a verb
after a preposition we should add 'ing' to the verb. It is a gerund then.
Am I correct? Or am I wrong? So there are some more places where we use gerund for eg. Building a house is hard today. Is building a gerund or not?
Please let me know.
Regards
Srilal

Hi Srilal,

Prepositions require objects and the object can be a gerund, which is a noun formed from a verb. Gerunds can also be used as subjects, and this is what is shown in your section example. The subject of the sentence is 'Building a house' and you are correct that 'Building' here is a gerund.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
I want to make sure in what situations we use 'that' as a relative pronoun?
Would you be kind enough to help me.
Thank you.
Best regards
Srilal

Hello Srilal,

'That' is only used as a relative pronoun in defining (restricting) relative clauses and is used as an alternative to 'who' or 'which'. You can find more information on this page, this page and this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Please help me about "... that that ...".

I encountered this sentence "the questions that that investigate process". At the first place, I thought it is grammatically wrong, but I have seen this kind of sentence for sometimes in textbooks so that I have been being confused sine then. What is it axactly? Thank you.

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