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.



Hi Peter,

Thanks for answering my queries and also, glad to help anytime. I see then that "them" and "everybody" are the respective indirect objects of the verbs "tell" and "informed", and that their that clauses are the direct objects. However, this seems abit "odd" to me, as it appears that "them" and "everbody" seems to be the main recipients of the verbs "tell" and "informed", as such, it seems to me that "them" and "everbody" are the direct objects instead, and that the that clauses simply follow to provide more information, in a sense. Any advice/comments on this issue?



Hi Tim,

Indirect objects give us information about to whom or for whom the action is performed. If you need to identify the direct and indirect objects in a sentence then you can ask yourself the following (using 'tell' as an example):

What was told? [the information - the direct object]

Who was it told to? [the received - the indirect object]

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

Isn't the following sentence an indirect speech sentence ( The doctors say that he has a week to live ) ? And in case it is, why did not you say (the doctors said that he had ...etc)?
Thank you in advance.

Hello khuder,

Yes, that sentence is an example of indirect speech, and it is correct. A lot of reported speech is in some kind of past tense, but the present tense is also possible, as in this case. Here the present simple is reporting an action occurring at about that time.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

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,


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.


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,


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!