When to use the word "THAT"?

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    Jun 01, 2011 8:16 PM GMT
    If there's one thing that stumps me, it's when to use the word that, and when it's unnecessary. Some sentences are obvious, but which one below works better?

    Times are so bad the Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.

    OR

    Times are so bad that the Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.


    EDIT: I think I know how to make the second sentence sound better.

    Time are so bad that Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.

    Removing the made it flow better.
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    Jun 01, 2011 8:21 PM GMT
    Seems to be one one of those transition words that doesn't necessarily belong in all cases.
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    Jun 01, 2011 8:23 PM GMT
    http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/when-to-leave-out-that.aspx
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    Jun 01, 2011 8:40 PM GMT
    Andreas73 saidhttp://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/when-to-leave-out-that.aspx

    Thanks, I've looked at some of those grammar links and this one was most helpful.

    So......I'm guessing I can keep THAT out above??

    Another similar sentence:

    The room is so dark I can't see my keys.

    The room is so dark that I can't see my keys.
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:34 PM GMT
    I'm no grammarian, but just to show [that] I can look stuff up:
    Look up complementizers, especially the section on "empty" ones, in wikipedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementizer
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:44 PM GMT
    "that" is known as a relative pronoun and your second example is gramatically correct.

    Who uses it correctly? College rhetoric professors.
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:52 PM GMT
    Without that "that," you have two separate sentences with some missing punctuation. The link between them is not clear. For example, "because" could fit in there as well, with the opposite meaning. You need something to establish the link between the two conditions.
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:53 PM GMT
    I've long known it's incorrect to use "that" in many cases in English. Interestingly, however, translating your second sample sentence about keys into 4 of the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) does require their equivalent of "that."

    I like to add "that" in my informal writing, especially online, because I find it adds clarity, even if technically not correct.
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:54 PM GMT
    wrestlervic said
    Andreas73 saidhttp://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/when-to-leave-out-that.aspx

    Thanks, I've looked at some of those grammar links and this one was most helpful.

    So......I'm guessing I can keep THAT out above??

    Another similar sentence:

    The room is so dark I can't see my keys.

    The room is so dark that I can't see my keys.


    This sentence needs the 'that' icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:56 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidWithout that "that," you have two separate sentences with some missing punctuation. The link between them is not clear. For example, "because" could fit in there as well, with the opposite meaning. You need something to establish the link between the two conditions.


    Except that no one would ever omit "because" - I think it's pretty clear that there's an omitted "that."
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    Jun 01, 2011 9:57 PM GMT
    "That" as used in the OP is not needed in all languages, e.g. Cantonese. I know that for a fact (note that the "that" in "I know that for a fact" is not the same "that" in the OP).

    Speaking of which, I hate the construction:
    "I know for a fact that that shit belongs to a dog"

    Adds no clarity in my book, could have been easily
    "I know for a fact that shit belongs to a dog"

    Just needs a little inflection in voice, that's all. However, when written, it's not clear at all (is it shit that belongs to a dog universally, or is it THAT shit only that belongs to a dog?). For that reason, I try to avoid "know for a fact that" in both speech and writing.
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    Jun 01, 2011 10:16 PM GMT
    But "this shit" (implying proximity) and "that shit" (implying farther, not right in front of you) aren't the same.icon_lol.gif
    Anyway, time to brush up on Wittgenstein...
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    Jun 01, 2011 10:39 PM GMT
    I didn't know that realjock offers grammar lessons for hotties.
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    Jun 01, 2011 11:36 PM GMT
    I'm so hard I can't stand up from the table.

    I'm so hard that I can't stand up from the table.

    I don't know, is it necessary?
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    Jun 01, 2011 11:39 PM GMT
    waimea saidI didn't know that realjock offers grammar lessons for hotties.

    That's what you mean, right?

    wrestlervic saidI'm so hard I can't stand up from the table.

    I'm so hard that I can't stand up from the table.

    I don't know, is it necessary?

    In that case they both work. I think.

    edit: actually I think the first sentence is a run-on now. They are separate clauses, "that" is used in a conjunctive sense in the second sentence.
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    Jun 01, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    cityaznguy said
    waimea saidI didn't know that realjock offers grammar lessons for hotties.

    That's what you mean, right?

    wrestlervic saidI'm so hard I can't stand up from the table.

    I'm so hard that I can't stand up from the table.

    I don't know, is it necessary?

    In that case they both work. I think.

    edit: actually I think the first sentence is a run-on now. They are separate clauses, "that" is used in a conjunctive sense in the second sentence.


    See, it isn't easy is it? I think our speech has removed that so often that when it comes to writing that it seems we should do away with it (as long as it doesn't confuse the reader).
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    Jun 01, 2011 11:55 PM GMT
    I think the use of a comma might make things a lot clearer and reflects the speech pattern without the "that":
    Times are so bad, the Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.

    But apparently that's an error in English:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_splice
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    Jun 01, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    wrestlervic said

    See, it isn't easy is it? I think our speech has removed that so often that when it comes to writing that it seems we should do away with it (as long as it doesn't confuse the reader).


    ROFLMAO! Oh Vic you crack me up.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jun 02, 2011 12:04 AM GMT
    wrestlervic saidIf there's one thing that stumps me, it's when to use the word that, and when it's unnecessary. Some sentences are obvious, but which one below works better?

    Times are so bad the Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.
    ***********This would be correct if you place a comma after the word "bad."

    OR

    Times are so bad that the Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.
    ***********This is the correct use of the word "that."


    EDIT: I think I know how to make the second sentence sound better.

    Time are so bad that Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.
    ****************I disagree. It should be, "holding only."

    Removing the made it flow better.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jun 02, 2011 12:06 AM GMT
    wrestlervic said
    Andreas73 saidhttp://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/when-to-leave-out-that.aspx

    Thanks, I've looked at some of those grammar links and this one was most helpful.

    So......I'm guessing I can keep THAT out above??

    Another similar sentence:

    The room is so dark I can't see my keys.

    The room is so dark that I can't see my keys.


    ***********You need to use the word "that," or use a comma.
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    Jun 02, 2011 12:11 AM GMT
    Webster666 said
    wrestlervic said
    Andreas73 saidhttp://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/when-to-leave-out-that.aspx

    Thanks, I've looked at some of those grammar links and this one was most helpful.

    So......I'm guessing I can keep THAT out above??

    Another similar sentence:

    The room is so dark I can't see my keys.

    The room is so dark that I can't see my keys.


    ***********You need to use the word "that," or use a comma.


    No no no. Not comma. Comma is used when you have a conjunctive word. In this case you should use semicolon.

    The room is so dark; I can't see my keys. or
    The room is so dark, (insert conjunction word like therefore) I can't see my keys.

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    Jun 02, 2011 12:40 AM GMT
    I can't see shit in this dark room! icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 02, 2011 5:40 AM GMT
    Sometimes that which sounds weird, is correct.
    English grammar is so totally fucked up sometimes.
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    Jun 02, 2011 5:55 AM GMT
    YouBetcha.jpg
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    Jun 02, 2011 5:56 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidI think the use of a comma might make things a lot clearer and reflects the speech pattern without the "that":
    Times are so bad, the Nigerian email spammers are only holding $500 for me.

    But apparently that's an error in English:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_splice


    The magnificent semicolon saves the day!! Such a misunderstood little squirt.


    Art_Deco said

    I like to add "that" in my informal writing, especially online, because I find it adds clarity, even if technically not correct.


    And this is part of the beauty of the English language!