"that" ~ zero

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sat Jan 3 19:01:30 UTC 2009

On Jan 3, 2009, at 9:50 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
> Subject:      "that" ~ zero
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> 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?).

what i said was that some handbooks list certain verbs as not allowing
"omission of "that"".  i quoted Fowler's list.  (in fact, i don't
agree with all of Fowler's advice on some of these verbs.  but all the
literature on "that" vs. zero in complements notes that some verbs
don't allow zero.)

the lists in question are not of quotative verbs (some of the verbs
are mental-action verbs), and not all quotative verbs appear on these
lists (the most common quotative verb, "say", freely allows zero).

> If so, is direct quotation not a complement construction?

that's a terminological issue.  but this discussion has been entirely
about verbs for which "that" is a possibility for marking the argument
in question, and that's just not possible in direct quotation.  (in
fact, some handbooks specifically caution against using "that" with
direct quotations.)


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