It was me that Mr. Jones thought could do it.


Is that required between thought and could?

  • 1
    It was I that Mr. Jones thought could do it. – Kris Jun 5 '14 at 11:06
  • ...being a cleft structure built from 'Mr. Jones thought [that] I could do it'. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 5 '14 at 11:08
  • Isn't it either "It's me that" or "It's I who"? – jules Jun 5 '14 at 11:34
  • 3
    This is definitely not one for ELL; there's a Ross Constraint involved. Tensed complement clauses are normally not islands, unless they're marked with complementizer that. Since the relative clause extracts I from the verb phrase Mr. Jones thought (that) I could do it, where it's the subject of a complement clause, it's grammatical if that is omitted between thought and could, but not if that is present, because extracting a constituent out of an island produces extreme ungrammaticality. – John Lawler Jun 5 '14 at 14:43
  • ... Although the claim that global warming is producing more islands is even more contentious. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 5 '14 at 15:22

I always thought only the references to inanimate objects use that or which, otherwise who should be used.

"It was me who Mr. Jones thought could do it." - sounds perfectly fine to me. ("Mr. Jones thought I could do it.")

P.S. I intended the text as a comment to an answer above, but cannot comment yet due to the reputation level.

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With a few more changes I think this is even more natural:

I was the one who Mr. Jones thought could do it.

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In my experience, a sentence like "It was me thought he could do it" sounds unusual, but (contrary to @johnlawler's statement) not particularly ungrammatical - especially if the word "me" is stressed.

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  • Of course, one could also say, "'Twas I ..." ;-) – Matt Gutting Jun 5 '14 at 16:27

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