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Can the following sentence be correct with and without quotation marks?

Did Mother say we are going to Disney World?

I would answer yes, but I have read in the past the word "that" should be inserted if no quotations are to be used.

Did Mother say that we are going to Disney World?

I have one more with the same question:

Nan explained the essay "Doughboys" is about World War I.

This one I would say needs "that" inserted in order to get rid of dialog quotation marks, but I'm probably wrong---just about the time I think I have some part of grammar figured out and is "absolute" I find it is not absolute at all!

Thank you for your assistance.

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When you say, "Did mother say we are going to Disney World?" it's grammatically correct. You don't need the quotations, but only if you aren't sure those were her exact words. If you were quoting her, however, you would say:

Did mother say "We are going to Disney World"?

It all depends on if you were repeating the mother's exact words. Otherwise, it's paraphrasing and no quotations are necessary. A "that" can also be used here.

Nan explained the essay "Doughboys" is about World War 1.

In this situation, you need the quotation marks, because you are giving the title of something. Feel free to add a "that" in there but the quotation marks must stay.

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    Be careful when using a quote within quotation marks; your examples are not correctly punctuated. – anongoodnurse Jan 30 '14 at 6:45

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