Regret (Grammar)

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micaelo

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Sep 2, 2006
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Hello. I'm checking a book on the grammatical usage of "regret". There is the following sentence:
I regret (the fact) that she has left
The book says normally we can omit "that" after regret. But, in my opinion, "I regret she has left" sounds funny. So am I wrong or is the book wrong? Or is simply the example that doesn't work? Thank you
 

BobK

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I'm afraid you're wrong - 'I regret she's left' is fine. Your reason for wanting to include the "that" may be to do with a difference in meaning:

I regret she's left. You'll have to try again tomorrow before 10.00. [The speaker is sorry to have to give you some information that will displease you]

but

I regret that she's left. We had such lovely walks together. [The speaker is actually regretful. This one could also be expressed other ways: "I regret her going/leaving" or "... her having gone/left" or "... the fact that she's gone/left"]

b
 

BobK

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PS

The note I wrote yesterday was unclear and may have given the impression that the presence or absence of "that" invariably, grammatically, makes the difference between the regret referring to the fact of uttering the subordinate clause and the regret referring to the content of the subordinate clause. It's not that simple, and the "that" is often optional in either case. My examples gave instances where the inclusion of the "that" was significant, to my ear. Although 'I regret she's not here' seems to me more likely to occur without "that", in formal contexts the "that" is often used: 'UCI Cinemas regret that smoking is not allowed on the premises.'

b
 
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