1. I want you to prepare the report.
  2. I want that you prepare the report.

What is the difference between these sentences above? Which one is correct to use when I want to inform another person that they should prepare a report?

1 Answer 1


The first is grammatically correct English. The second is not.

The form:

I want that you {verb}

is not a usual construction in English. Indeed I can't think of a case where it would be correct.

  • It would be correct if a semicolon or period were used before you, making it clear that it was two independent clauses. Grammar pedants would claim that since punctuation has no bearing on grammar, it must therefore be grammatical even without the punctuation. Aug 23, 2019 at 5:32
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    @Jason, i don't see any way this is two independent clauses . "I want that. You prepare the report." "I want that" is not a valid sentence or an independent clause. It lacks an object, and "that" lacks a referent. Nor would i agree that "punctuation has no bearing on grammar". Often it does not, but sometimes it does, i think Aug 23, 2019 at 5:36
  • In what possible way is I want that not a valid sentence? It has a subject and a predicate. And the pronoun does what a pronoun is supposed to do—stand in for a noun. It's just as valid as She did it. or It worked. They are all completely grammatical sentences. Saying that you don't understand the referents of the pronouns doesn't make them ungrammatical; it just means you would like context in order to understand what is being discussed. But that has nothing to do with grammar. Aug 23, 2019 at 6:10
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    @jason All right, i can see using "I want that" to mean "I want the thing i am pointing at/indicating." But I do not see how "I want that. You prepare the report." can have a meaning even roughly similar to "I want you to prepare the report." as the question implies that it would. The two sentence version is so different in meaning as not to be the same utterance, in my view. In any case, no fluent speaker would express the originally intended meaning in that way. Aug 23, 2019 at 6:17

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