While studying english, a sudden question appeared in my head.

ex) He is a man who I think is honest.

this sentence can be divided in two: 1) He is a man 2) I think that he is honest.

He is a man + I think that he is honest.

here, the subject in subordinate clause of sentence 2 becomes WH- (who) and it moves forward. (WH-movement)

then, the result is

He is a man who I think that is honest.

but I have never seen anyone saying like this.

I learned that 'He is a man who I think is honest.' is correct expression.

Can I write or say like 'He is a man who I think that is honest.'? If I can't, where is "THAT"?

  • English begins with a capital letter!
    – BillJ
    Jul 13, 2022 at 7:03
  • No, an embedded content clause in a relative clause is always of the 'bare' kind, i.e. without the subordinator "that".
    – BillJ
    Jul 13, 2022 at 7:10
  • May I ask why? @BillJ
    – gourmet
    Jul 13, 2022 at 7:17
  • @gourmet Because English is a proper name. We capitalize all names of languages in English - Bill speaks English/French/Japanese/Swahili/Navajo/etc.. - because they are proper names.
    – stangdon
    Jul 13, 2022 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


Your supposition is wrong for two reasons.

  1. The subordinating conjunction "that" typically precedes the clause that it introduces. Therefore, if we included it here, then it should precede the relative clause "who . . . is honest":

He is a man that who I think is honest.

However, the relative clause already contains an indicator of subordination (in this case, the relative pronoun "who"), so another indicator would be redundant.

  1. As BillJ noted in a comment, a comment clause (in this case "I think") normally does not take the subordinating conjunction "that". This is true for:
  • adverbial clauses: This sentence is correct, as I think you can see.

  • nominal clauses: I will accept whichever sentence I think is best.

  • relative clauses: Here is a third sentence, which I think is also correct.

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