Thread: Tip of the Day
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:32 PM
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Tip number three:

Using (or not using) that.

That is a very tricky word. It is often included in writing when it should be removed in order to create a stronger sentence. But how do we know when it should stay, and when it should go?

I ran across a website (the link is at the bottom) where I found a few helpful tips, so I will attempt to write them in my own words for you all.

Here are a few situations where that can be omitted:
  • She knew [that] her husband was angry with her.
  • Jim thought [that] he heard something in the other room.
  • I believe [that] all men are created equal.

Of course it is a matter of personal style - but sentences do seem to flow better with the that removed.

There are also three situations where that should NOT be omitted (outlined by Theodore Bernstein)

1. When there is a mention of time between the verb and the clause:
  • He told her yesterday that he loved her.
    (yesterday is.. of course.. the mention of time.)
2. When the verb does not come immediately in the clause:
  • Her boss told her that the bonus which she had worked all month for was only $10.
    (notice the verb is "was," and it does not come directly after "the bonus".)
3. When a second that makes the sentence clearer:
  • Her father told her that she needed a job and that her grades had dropped.
    (if we remove the "that", would it be her father telling her that her grades dropped? or that her grades dropped because her father told her to get a job? This is how the second that makes the sentence clearer.)

If there are any questions please let me know... and I'll do my best to answer

All of this information came from here with credit to user "yulysess."

Last edited by Perfect_Paradox; 02-22-2006 at 07:36 PM..
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