1. I believe that you are a good person.
  2. I believe you are a good person.
  3. I find that this article is very interesting.
  4. I find this article is interesting.
  5. I find this article interesting.

I know that sentence number 4 is incorrect but can you give a grammatical explanation why? Why can't we lose the "that" like in sentences 1 and 2. If any of the rest of the sentences is incorrect please point it out. Thanks.

  • 1
    I think the word that is ALWAYS optional in contexts like I believe [that] you are good, and the same NORMALLY applies to to be in the alternative (subjunctive) phrasing I believe you [to be] good. But note that there's no obvious or fixed rule regarding which verbs are idiomatic for that second phrasing. That's to say, I don't think there's any clearly-defined rule explaining why we don't normally say I suspect you [to be] good, but we can quite easily say I think him dishonest. Jun 9, 2021 at 16:57
  • I almost wholly agree with FumbleFingers, yet I think the example spoiled it. I don't think it's fair to compare "I suspect you [to be]…" with "I think him…" Wouldn't the fair comparison be "I suspect you [to be]…" with "I think him [to be]…" Most obviously, the difference between "I believe you are…" and "I believe that you are…" is one of emphasis, which pretty-much always depends on what follows… Jun 12, 2021 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


Sentence 4 is perfectly good, but less common than 5.

As you surmise, 4 is similar to 3, and equivalent to I find that this article is interesting, which has a different meaning from 5.

4 means "I discover that this article is interesting" whereas 5 means "I judge or experience this article as interesting". They might be said in the same circumstances, but they are expressing different mental processes.

  • +1 A nuanced answer. Expressing different mental states : I liked this bit. @Colin Fine.
    – user126190
    Jun 9, 2021 at 15:20

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