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In indirect speech it is more common for the reporting clause to come first. When the reporting clause is first, we don’t put a comma between the reporting clause and the reported clause.

She told me they had left her without any money.

NOT: She told me, they had left her without any money.

If we use "that", the sentence becomes: She told me that they had left her without any money.

NOT: She told me, that they had left her without any money.

When the reporting clause comes after the reported clause, we use a comma to separate the two parts:

They had left her without any money, She told me.

My doubt: Shall we use "that" in the beginning of reported clause?

That they had left her without any money, She told me.

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  • There would never be a comma after that in these cases.
    – Lambie
    Nov 15, 2021 at 16:04

1 Answer 1

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"They had left her without any money, She told me." sounds a bit like something the character Yoda from Star Wars might say. So unless you're using it for comedic effect, you can't just put the reporting clause at the end like that without also changing from reported to direct speech, like:

"They left me without any money", she told me.

You generally don't start sentences with "that" when it's used as a conjunction, such as in your example. There are exceptions to this in formal speech when you want to put emphasis on something, for example:

That a nation requires a strict government to be prosperous is a myth dictators love.

This is the same as saying "dictators love the myth that a nation requires a strict government to be prosperous", but it places emphasis on the myth, rather than the dictators.

You could use this pattern to say:

That they had left her without any money was what she told me.

This is correct, but sounds unusual, because you're using formal language to describe presumably something personal that someone has shared, which is not exactly a formal context.

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  • Can we say like this: "Nobody had gone in or out during the previous hour, he informed us"?
    – Nandy
    May 1, 2020 at 3:52
  • @Nandy it sounds more natural to say "He informed us (that) nobody had gone in or out during the previous hour." If you really want to put "he informed us" at the end, you'd want to switch to direct speech - "Nobody has gone in or out in the last/past hour", he informed us. Note that you'd have to put the direct speech clause in quotes, like I did with the other example in my answer.
    – RuslanD
    May 1, 2020 at 4:14
  • If you don't mind could you please look at this link: google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/british-grammar/…
    – Nandy
    May 1, 2020 at 5:43
  • Could you tell me now?
    – Nandy
    May 1, 2020 at 10:12
  • I've looked at the link - do you have a specific question about it?
    – RuslanD
    May 1, 2020 at 18:02

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