She had a feeling (that) this would be the last time

Back in my school, I learnt not to omit "that' when it's leading an appositive clause as in the example, but I've just heard that with or without "that" , the sentence sounds natural.

So, I want to know when to able to grammatically omit "that" or not in this case.

  • I think you have a different understanding of appositive from the one I've picked up. It might be worth explaining what you understand by that term in your question. – user96060 May 28 '19 at 8:40
  • @Minty I understand "appositive" as referring to its antecedent. So, in this case, "that ~ last time" is referring to "a feeling". – Glittering river May 28 '19 at 8:46
  • But doesn't a relative clause refer to its antecedent? In your previous post you were contrasting appositive and relative clauses, I thought. – user96060 May 28 '19 at 8:49
  • @Minty Yeah right, I was. But I'm thinking my assumption on the previous question is definitely wrong now. – Glittering river May 28 '19 at 8:51
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    It is neither an appositive nor a relative clause. It's a declarative content clause functioning as complement of the noun "feeling", in which case the subordinator "that" is optional. – user178049 May 28 '19 at 9:32

As user178049 says in a comment, "that this would be the last time" is functioning as the complement of "feeling" (just as it could function as the object of the verb "feel") and "that" is optional in this construction.

It is a different construction from

She had a feeling [that] she recognised.

where the "that" clause is a modifier (adjunct, appositive if you will) to "feeling". "That" could also be omitted in this case, because the head of the relative clause ("feeling") is not its subject.

(My example is ambiguous until you get to the end, and find no object for "recognised", and realise it must be a relative clause. It's a "garden path sentence").

"She had a feeling that surprised her" is another with a relative clause, but here the "that" cannot be omitted in standard English, because the head of the relative clause (the feeling) is its subject.

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