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Source: http://news.yahoo.com/separatists-seize-control-tv-hq-east-ukraine-city-140235399.html

Pro-Russian separatists, some of them armed, have seized about a dozen official buildings in eastern Ukraine. They say they are rising up against a Ukrainian government they say is illegitimate, but Kiev says they are proxies of the Russian government bent on destabilizing Ukraine.

Why is there no that connecting the two parts of the sentence: everything before against a Ukrainian government and after they say is illegitimate?

So, I would rather prefer to read it like this:

They say they are rising up against a Ukrainian government that they say is illegitimate...

marked as duplicate by tchrist, RyeɃreḁd, Mari-Lou A, FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth Apr 30 '14 at 14:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • The OP's question isn't a duplicate of the question in that other thread. That other thread's question involves the "that" marker of a declarative content clause. This OP's question deals with the "that" of a relative clause. An "answer" to this OP's question is buried in some of the posts in that other thread, but there's also a lot of misleading info other in that thread too. It would probably be easier and cleaner for someone to answer this OP's specific question, via an answer post in this thread. (imo) – F.E. Apr 28 '14 at 1:32
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    @F.E. We’ve quite a few questions about whiz-deletion, even if they don’t know to call it that. Any native speaker knows this automatically; it is only people who just starting to learn English that this confuses at all. If the existing answer are too confusing, perhaps this should have been asked on ELL instead. – tchrist Apr 28 '14 at 1:38
  • @tchrist Perhaps you could write a quick answer post for this OP that shows how the OP's example involves whiz-deletion? – F.E. Apr 28 '14 at 1:41
  • @tchrist The problem with the "whiz-deletion" tag is that most people asking grammar questions won't know what that means. Many people answering questions here on this site often confuse the "that" of relatives with "that" of content clauses. Since this is a question about a relative construction, perhaps it would be practical to also include a tag or two related to relatives? – F.E. Apr 28 '14 at 1:52
  • They say (that) they are rising up against a Ukrainian government(i) that they say __(i) is illegitimate . . .

Yes, your example involves a relative clause. The word "that" is often optional in sentences such as that one. In this case, it does seem that putting the "that" in there makes the sentence easier to parse and to read -- imo.

Notice that an optional "that" can be inserted after the first phrase "They say" (in "They say they are rising"). But supposedly that "that" is a different "that", as that one is a marker for a declarative content clause.

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