The governor announced his new tax plan would be introduced soon.


The governor announced that his new tax plan would be introduced soon.

A explanation about why they are different.

Here “that” is needed after "announced. Without it, the reader's first impression is that the plan itself has been put forth. Remember that even momentary confusion provides readers with a handy place to stop — and that's not good. A reader should never have to pause to understand what the writer (or speaker) is trying to convey. If that happens too often (and once may be once too often), a reader stops reading.

the original http://web.ku.edu/~edit/that.html

but I still can not understand why that is needed here after reading it.


2 Answers 2


The first sentence leads the reader/listener to believe that the logical (semantical) grouping of words is like this:

The governor {announced his new tax plan} would be introduced soon.

because the verb "announce" is often used transitively (i.e. with a direct object). Without a clear pause between "announced" and "his", which is difficult to introduce in a written sentence, the phrase "his new tax plan" adheres to the verb "announced" instead of becoming clearly the subject of its own clause.

And when the reader encounters the [second] predicate "would be introduced", the confusion arises and the reader has to stop and re-evaluate the sentence from the start.

To indicate the presence of the subordinate clause a subordinating conjunction, in your case "that", is used. It serves as an indicator of an upcoming subordinate clause and the reader is ready to treat "his new tax plan" as a new subject (and not as the object).

It is possible for the reader to confuse the conjunction "that" as the object of the verb "announced", but it requires something to be mentioned in the previous sentence, which is unlikely.

  1. The governor announced [his new tax plan].
  2. The governor announced [his new tax plan worked].
  3. The governor announced that [his new tax plan worked].

In the first sentence his new tax plan is the Direct Object of the verb announce. When announce is used with a Direct Object in this way, the Direct Object does not give us any information. We don't know the content of what was said.

In the second example, the bit in brackets is a clause. It represents information and it tells us the content of what was said.

Content clauses like this often have an optional that when they are the complement of a verb:

  • He said [he was going to be late].
  • He said that [he was going to be late].

In the Original Poster's example, the style advice is to use the word that. This is because it tells the reader that the phrase his new tax plan is the beginning of a content clause and not a complete Direct Object of the verb. After the word that the listener is expecting a whole clause. The person giving the advice is arguing that this makes the writing clearer. It may be true in some cases. I'm not sure if it is true in this particular sentence. Using the word that will definitely not be wrong though.

There is a reason we don't know straight away whether his new tax plan is the Object of announce or the Subject of another verb, unless we use the word that. The reason is that English nouns don't usually have CASE. They are not nominative or accusative, so we do not know if they are Subjects or not. If the word after announce is a pronoun, then we will know immediately:

  • The governor announced they ....

In the sentence above we do not need that. Because it is they and not them we know that this is the Subject of a new clause.

Whether you should use that or not depends on the sentence and the context. If people will find it difficult to read easily without that, then use that in your sentence.

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