1

I have no idea what I want to have in dinner. (About not necessary)

But why,

I am really confused about what I want to have in dinner.

Somebody said to me that when one is talking about just one or two facts rather than the general information of the thing, about is generally not used.

But, here ignoring "about" in the second sentence makes the sentence sound incomplete, why?

0

Somebody said to me that when one is talking about just one or two facts rather than the general information of the thing, about is generally not used.

That sentence is funny, because the first "about" already breaks the rule specified by the sentence :)

There is no such rule. You can use "about" with one thing, with two, or with more, depending on what you want to say.


In your examples you should use "at dinner" or "for dinner" instead of "in dinner".


According to the Free Dictionary, to be confused about is an idiom, and that is why about is needed in sentence 2, but not in sentence 1.

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I would like to get technically closer to your question. First of all, your first sentence is also incomplete.

In order to attach "a clause" to "a noun", we need some words. However, in your sentence, there is no bridge between "idea" and "what I want.."

I am not interested in spoken English here, but, you should use something there.

I have no idea [?] what I want to have for dinner(I'd say "for").

You can't use "that, which" there because they are used to attach "a noun" to its relative clause, however, "what I want.." is not a relative clause there.

It is a wh-clause and the only way to attach them to each other is to add a preposition between them.

I have no idea about what I want to have for dinner.

Perfectly correct English. Which idea/Which kind of idea don't you have?

idea about what I want to have for dinner.

So I disagree with the person who said to you:"About not necessary."

  • 1
    I have no idea why you think this sentence is "technically" incorrect. It's just English, and there's no reason to suggest the validity of the construction varies according to whether it's spoken or written, formal or informal, etc. – FumbleFingers Jun 14 '18 at 14:50
  • In spoken English, many English grammar rules are ignored, however, it doesn't mean that we can say they are grammatically correct. If that sentence is grammatically correct, the following sentence must be grammatically correct as well. My idea what I want to have for dinner is really amazing. Can you think that the subject is grammatically OK? :) – Jawel Jun 14 '18 at 14:56
  • You need to seriously rethink what you understand by "grammatically correct". Your example My idea what I want to have for dinner is really amazing isn't at all idiomatic without a preposition such as of or for after idea, but this in no way implies that He has no idea what he wants is in any way "defective". – FumbleFingers Jun 14 '18 at 15:08
  • No way :) They have the same structure.. Both of them are grammatically wrong. You can't attach "a noun" to "a wh-clause" without any preposition.. They are just acceptable in spoken English, but not in linguistics. – Jawel Jun 14 '18 at 15:14
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    Wow! I suppose you really believe what you're saying, but you're completely mistaken. Especially about the "not in linguistics" bit - you should know that although there are still plenty of prescriptive / pedagogic grammarians screwing up people's ideas of how language works, linguists aren't interested in telling people what they should say (according to half-baked rules). They note what people do say / write, then figure out ways to describe the general principles we observe when generating utterances. – FumbleFingers Jun 14 '18 at 15:26

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