"that" ~ zero

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sat Jan 3 17:50:54 UTC 2009

I ask again: is it really true that quotative verbs MUST be followed by 
"that" (as it seemed to me Arnold maintained in an earlier posting?). If so, is 
direct quotation not a complement construction?

Tom added that onions made Charles sick.
Tom added, "Onions made Charles sick."

I realize that there may be semantic and deictic differences between the two 
constructions [Tom added that onions make him sick. ≠ Tom added, "Onions make 
him sick."], but I wouldn't say (that) they are different in syntax.

Or are they?

And, of course, if "added" is used in a cleft-sentence   (where it surely is 
a complementizer), deletion of "that" seems more or less OK (at least to me):

What Tom didn't added was (that) onions made Charles sick.

In a message dated 1/3/09 11:42:08 AM, zwicky at STANFORD.EDU writes:

> this time in complements rather than relatives.
> Jan Freeman's latest "The Word" column is "The language dustbin: Some
> advice doesn't age well"
> http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/12/28/the_language_dustbin/
> on usage complaints from the 19th and early 20th century that are now
> outdated (though several of the cases she cites are still deplored by
> some people these days).  now, when you write about usage advice,
> readers almost always take it as an invitation to unload their pet
> peeves in public.  so it was in this case.
> commenter "HughMann" had among his gripes:
>    I know he is a good man ... No, I know that he is a good man ....
> as i noted in an earlier posting on ""that" omission" in relatives,
> the advice literature also treats "that" omission in complements -- as
> far as i can tell, only to caution against omission where a temporary
> ambiguity could result (because the subject of the complement clause
> might be interpreted as the object of complement-taking verb).  (in
> actual practice, "that" is very often omitted even in the face of such
> a temporary potential ambiguity; the intended reading is clear from
> context, real-world plausibility, discourse structure, etc.)
> but the example above is a case where no such temporary ambiguity is
> possible.  it looks like the commenter believes that "that" omission
> is *never* acceptable -- a preposterous proscription i've never
> encountered before.  maybe it's one of those invented usage edicts
> that Jan Freeman talked about in her previous column:
>    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/12/21/rule_by_whim/
> arnold
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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