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 zenger62,

Yes, that is correct. Often the words in brackets are left out, but it's also correct to use them.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, Mr. Kirk.

Hello again,Team!
I'm sorry if I put my question in the wrong place,but I don't know how my problem may be classified. I have some confusion with regard to these two sentences (taken from grammar of "BBC World Service") :

1.Everybody recommended that she continued with her education for 3 more years.
2.Everybody recommended that she continue with her education for 3 more years.

What does this difference (continued/continue) mean here? Is it possible to understasnd it without context? Or perhaps it makes sense in terms of past and present,and creates or depends on perspective of the viewer/speaker,or maybe there are some rules which I don't know of , etc... In short I'm at loss! Help me solve the problem,please!

Hello Slava B,

The context is important here but I would say that the first sentence tells us that (1) the recommendation was in the past and (2) she should continue with her education then. It does not tell us about the present. The second sentence tells us that (1) the recommendation was in the past and (2) she should continue with her education now. In other words, in the second sentence the recommendation is relevant to the present.


You can compare it with these examples of reported speech:

She said she loved me.

She said she loves me.

In the first example she loved me when she spoke; we do not know about how she feels now.

In the second example, she loved me when she spoke and she still loves me now.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot,Peter.
Sometimes I get stuck with seemingly evident things and begin to overcomplicate a problem, though my intuition may tell me something good, but... nevertheles without your
professional help it becomes an obsession sometimes!
I really appreciate your assistance


As you said "We can always use a clause without the word that". Could I know which one is a high level of English "with that" or "without that" or sometime uses a comma instead of that -

He made a promise that he would do all he could to help.
He made a promise, he would do all he could to help.

Thanks in advance for your suggestion.


Mostafa Sarwar

Hello Mostafa Sarwar

Both are equally correct, but it's more common to include 'that' in formal situations and more common to omit it in informal situations. Please note that the comma in the second sentence is not correct in standard British English (or American, for that matter). If you remove the comma, though, the sentence is correct. There is no written mark that replaces 'that'.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Thank you for the reply and an useful clarification of comma.

Best regards,

Md Mostafa Sarwar