You told me that the cup had been broken.

I want put 'the cup' before 'You', But it's in a that-clause.

The cup that you told me (that) had been broken is...

Why the 'that' before 'had' have to disappear? What is the correct process to pull out a noun from a that-clause and place it before the main sentence? (Not something like: 'You told me the cup that....')

1 Answer 1


In your original sentence, "that" introduces a nominal clause. In your second sentence, there is no more nominal clause, so "that" disappears. (Note that in the second sentence, "you told me" is a comment clause, not a nominal clause.) See this recent question, which is very similar: The omission of conjunction 'that' in relative pronoun sentence

There is no single "correct process to pull out a noun from a that-clause". Your idea to use a relative clause and a comment clause is fine:

The cup that you told me had been broken is . . .

If you don't want to use a relative clause, then you could simply put the comment clause at the end:

The cup had been broken, you told me.

  • Do you mean the nominal clause will be not a nominal clause after I pulled something out from it? Will all other sentences like this be without 'that'?
    – gmchang
    Aug 3, 2022 at 7:17
  • Another form: "What you told me had been broken is.....". Does the 'that' disappear for the same reason?
    – gmchang
    Aug 3, 2022 at 7:35
  • That sentence is different from the two in your question. It contains a nominal clause ("what had been broken") and a comment clause ("you told me"). The nominal clause is introduced by "what" instead of "that". (Note that others might use different terminology.) Aug 3, 2022 at 16:17
  • Thank you very much, I got it!
    – gmchang
    Aug 3, 2022 at 19:18

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