Reporting verbs with that clauses:

Some verbs introduce a report, an idea or a summary. These verbs have the pattern:

N + V + (that) + clause

When we want to say what someone says or thinks we can use a clause with that;

He said that I had to see a doctor.
I thought that he was being silly.

We can leave out the word that:

He said I had to see a doctor.
I thought he was being silly.

With some verbs we can mention the hearer as the object of the verb:

She reminded him that it was time to go.
He told me he was a friend of yours.

These verbs have the pattern;

N + V + N + (that) + clause.

Reporting verbs with wh- and if clauses

Some verbs introduce summaries, reports, questions or problems:

She explained what we had to do.
He asked if I was ready
I didn’t know what to do.

These verbs have the pattern:

N + V + wh- + clause:
She wondered where she was.


N + V + if + clause:
Ken asked if we wanted to go.

With some verbs we can mention the hearer as the object of the verb:

She asked me if I was ready.
He told me what I had to do.

These verbs have the pattern:

N + V + N + wh- + clause:
I told them what he was doing.


N + V + N + if + clause:
Ken asked us if we wanted to go.




Hello Ricardo,

Yes, you can use the word 'that' here or you can omit it -- both are correct. People tend to leave it out when speaking, and often in writing as well, but there is nothing wrong with using it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there, I've found the following sentence in a book I'm reading: She had suggested that we leave the train--- is it correct? Wouldn't be better "She had suggested that we left the train--- ?
In an English grammar book I see that the sentence "The minister proposed regular meeting for the committee" can be changed in "The minister proposed that the committee should meet regularly", using the word "meet'. Would it also be right if I used "meet" as it follows: "The minister proposed the committee to meet regularly"? Thank you very much for yr help.

Hello mariaidabertocchi,

After 'suggest' we generally use the subjunctive form, which is the base form of the verb (without -ed, without the third-person 's' etc.). For example:

I suggested that he leave.

I'll suggest that we go there next week.

There are other verbs which work in the same way, such as 'insist' and 'request'.

The subjunctive is a lot less common than it was in the past in English and is slowly disappearing, so you can now find examples of the present simple or past simple replacing it. It would not be wrong to use 'left' in your example for this reason. It is an example of the language changing.

I think you may have made a mistake in copying the sentence from your grammar book, as an article or a plural form is necessary:


The minister proposed a regular meeting for the committee.


The minister proposed regular meetings for the committee.


The minister proposed that the committee should meet regularly.

is fine as an alternative. However, your version is not correct. You could say:

The minister proposed that the committee meet regularly.

which uses a subjunctive form.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Yes, you are right: I realised I didn't put an "s" as soon as I sent the message... Sorry!
Thank u very much Peter. Yr explanation has been most useful!

In the sentence "He said that I had to see a doctor". "I" mean him or mean the reporter?
I concern about direct and indirect report.
Like I understood that he had to see a doctor or I myself had to see a doctor?
Thank you for your help!

Hello Nam Phan,

In this sentence the pronoun 'I' refers to the person who is reporting the words. To make it clearer, compare these two alternatives:

Paul said that I had to see a doctor. [The person telling us this is sick]

Paul said that he had to see a doctor. [Paul is sick]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


in youtube, I've seen a video about reported speech that the teacher said: "Reported speech usually only used for writing. So we don’t really have to worry about all these crazy rules when we speak "

is it right? it's not necessary to use it when we speak? and how about international test exam such as IETL in speaking part?

Thank in advance

Hi ihsan_qwerty,

There is no reason reported speech cannot be used in conversation. It depends entirely on what you are talking about and what you want to say.

YouTube is not an accredited school by any means. Remember that anyone can create a video and put it on the site, and make any claims they wish.



The LearnEnglish Team

“Why don’t we have a picnic?” I said. (Direct speech)
I suggested that we (had - have) a picnic. (Reported)
I know that " have" is the correct subjunctive but some say that "had" is also correct.
Please, tell me the difference in detail.
Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Suggest has more than one meaning. In my examples below I will change 'we' to 'they' for clarity, since certain meanings (speculation and uncertainty past events, for example) are hard to express about yourself.


When we want to make a proposal, we usually use the present subjunctive:

I suggested that they have a picnic.

[Why don't you have a picnic?]


It is possible to use the past form. However, there is some ambiguity as to the the meaning of 'suggest'. It may have the same meaning as in the first example, but it can also meanssomething like 'offer an explanation':

I suggested that we had a picnic.

[Why don't you have a picnic?]


[My explanation was that they must have had a picnic]


I hope that helps to clarify it for you.



The LearnEnglish Team