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USE OF "THAT":

· That as a Determiner


'That' is used as a determiner at the beginning of sentences to indicate one object which is far from the speaker. Note that the plural form of 'that' as a determiner is 'those'. 'That' and 'those' is generally used with 'there' to indicate that the object(s) is not close to the speaker.

Examples

That's my friend Tom over there.
That's a pencil you have in your hand.
Those paintings are by Cezanne.
That is my house on the corner of the street.


· That Clause as Subject of a Sentence


'That' clauses can introduce a phrase acting as the subject of a sentence. This use of 'that' clauses is somewhat formal and is not common in everyday speech.

Examples

That it is so difficult is hard to understand.
That Mary feels so sad is very upsetting.
That our teacher expects us to do two hours of homework every day is crazy!


· That as a Relative Pronoun


'That' can be used as a relative pronoun to connect two clauses. In this case, 'that' can also be substituted by 'who' or 'which'.

that = which
Tom bought the apples that the man was selling. = Tom bought the apples which the man was selling.
that = who
Peter invited the boy that was new in class. = Peter invited the boy who was new in class.


· That in a Clause as an Object

'That' can be used in clauses that act as the object of a verb.
Examples
Jennifer hinted that she would be late for class.
Doug knew that he needed to hurry up.
The teacher suggested that we finish our homework.


· That in a Clause as a Compliment to a Noun or an Adjective

'That' can be used in a clause following a noun or an adjective as a compliment. A compliment helps give additional information about the noun or adjective. It answers the question 'why'.
Examples
Peter is upset that his sister wants to drop out of high school.
Mr. Johnson appreciates our efforts that have brought in a lot of donations.
She is certain that her son will be accepted to Harvard.


· That Clause as Subject of a Sentence

'That' clauses can introduce a phrase acting as the subject of a sentence. This use of 'that' clauses is somewhat formal and is not common in everyday speech.
Examples
That it is so difficult is hard to understand.
That Mary feels so sad is very upsetting.
That our teacher expects us to do two hours of homework every day is crazy!

- The Fact That ...
Related to the use of 'that' clauses as subject is the more common phrase 'The fact that ...' to introduce a sentence. While both forms are correct, it is much more common to begin a sentence with the phrase 'The fact that ...'
Examples
The fact that he wants to see you should make you happy.
The fact that unemployment is still high proves what a difficult economy this is.
The fact that Tom passed the test shows how much he has improved.


· Compound Conjunctions with That

There are a number of compound conjunctions (words that connect) with 'that'. These expressions tend to be used in formal English and include:
in order that so that providing that in case that now that given that
Examples
He purchased the computer so that he might improve his typing.
Susan told him she would marry him providing that he found a job.
Alice feels happy now that she has moved into a new home.
Dropping That
'That' can be dropped from the sentence with no change in meaning in the following cases:


· After Reporting Verbs

'That' can be dropped after reporting verbs such as say (that), tell someone (that), regret (that), imply (that), etc.
Examples
Jennifer said (that) she was in a hurry.
Jack told me (that) he wanted to move to New York.
The boss implied (that) the company was doing very well.


· After Adjectives

Some adjectives can be followed by 'that' when answering the question 'why'. 'That' can be dropped after the adjective.
I'm happy (that) you found a new job.
She's sad (that) he's going to move to New York.
Jack is anxious (that) he didn't pass the test.


· As Object in Relative Clauses

It's common to drop 'that' when it is the object of the relative clause it introduces.
He invited the boy (that) he met on the train.
Shelly purchased the chair (that) she had seen at the auction.
Alfred wants to read the book (that) Jane recommended.



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Several listeners have asked when they should omit the subordinating conjunction "that" in their writing. For example, should they write “Squiggly said that it was Aardvark’s birthday,” or just “Squiggly said it was Aardvark’s birthday”? For this sentence, both ways are perfectly grammatical, but if you’re following a principle of omitting needless words, you’ll want to leave out the "that."
Watch out, though. Although "that" is optional in this example, you can’t assume it’s optional wherever you see it. Sometimes it’s mandatory. And even when it’s optional, it’s sometimes still a good idea to keep it.
- See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/omitting-%E2%80%9Cthat%E2%80%9D#sthash.EwSqEIQt.dpuf
Several listeners have asked when they should omit the subordinating conjunction "that" in their writing. For example, should they write “Squiggly said that it was Aardvark’s birthday,” or just “Squiggly said it was Aardvark’s birthday”? For this sentence, both ways are perfectly grammatical, but if you’re following a principle of omitting needless words, you’ll want to leave out the "that."
Watch out, though. Although "that" is optional in this example, you can’t assume it’s optional wherever you see it. Sometimes it’s mandatory. And even when it’s optional, it’s sometimes still a good idea to keep it.
- See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/omitting-%E2%80%9Cthat%E2%80%9D#sthash.EwSqEIQt.dpuf
If you are wondering when you should omit the subordinating conjunction "that" in your writing, keep on reading. For example, should you write “Tom said that it was Ann’s birthday,” or just “Tom said it was Ann’s birthday”? For this sentence, both ways are perfectly grammatical, but if you’re following a principle of omitting needless words, you’ll want to leave out the "that."
Watch out, though. Although "that" is optional in this example, you can’t assume it’s optional wherever you see it. Sometimes it’s mandatory. And even when it’s optional, it’s sometimes still a good idea to keep it.

· Bridge Verbs and “That”

Leaving "that" out sounds best with the most common verbs of speech or thought, such as "say," "think," "know," "claim," "hear," or "believe." It saves a word, and it’s how people talk, too. Linguists call these verbs “bridge verbs.”

Non-bridge verbs tend to be verbs that carry extra meaning beyond simply the idea of saying or thinking something, and they don’t sound as good when you omit the word "that." For example, "whisper" is a non-bridge verb and doesn’t mean just to say something; it means to say it in a particular way. It sounds odd to say, “He whispered he wanted another root beer” instead of “He whispered that he wanted another root beer.” Not crashingly bad, but just a little off.

Newspapers are often guilty of ignoring the difference between bridge verbs and non-bridge verbs and deleting a "that" after verbs where it would sound better to leave it in. Here are a couple of examples that I adapted from the newspaper section of the Corpus of Contemporary American (COCA for short):
  • The department confirmed there were some victims.
  • Mexican officials acknowledge they are hampered by a lack of information.

To my ear, both of these sentences are a bit off, and would have sounded better with "that" after the verbs "confirm" and "acknowledge."
Sometimes, omitting a "that" after a non-bridge verb goes beyond being slightly awkward and can actually be confusing. Here’s an example from Bryan Garner’s Modern American Usage:
  • Son acknowledges being a member of a minority ... may have helped him turn his eyes abroad early.

The trouble here is that "acknowledge" can be a transitive verb. So when a noun phrase comes after it, such as being a member of a minority, the reader might just take it as a direct object: “Son acknowledges being a member of a minority.” But whoops! The sentence keeps going, and the reader has to go back and reparse it. Garner calls this a miscue; sentences that produce miscues like this are called garden-path sentences. (We talked about garden-path sentences in the episode on Christmas carols.)

(Taken from: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/omitting)



María Ángeles A.
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