HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    6

    Unnecessary use of "that"

    Lately, I've been dealing with my bad habit of using "that" in a lot of my sentences where it isn't necessary. Example:

    He knew that she was going to be in a bad mood when she got home from work.
    vs.
    He knew she was going to be in a bad mood when she got home from work.

    Apparently I'm not alone in this. I found a link to a great web page so I thought I'd share:
    http://www.kriscramer.com/2009/the-unnecessary-that



  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    44
    You can just do a word search on your MS to highlight all the 'that.' I also keep a vigilant eye on like, before, have been, as, but, however, yet.

    A cheat I subscribe to is having a Mcrosoft Word version of a popular book similar to your genre, and doing a word search seeing how often the author/editor uses such words. JK Rowling is notorious for using 'but' too often, not that it detracts from her story.

  3. #3
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    "That" is usually a good word to eliminate, but I think it is not nearly so harmful to good writing as weak or empty verbs. For example, your sentence:

    He knew she was going to be in a bad mood when she got home from work.

    Three empty verbs in a row and a weak one ("got"). How about we inject a little metaphor:

    He knew she would roll in from work with her fuse hissing.

    or maybe:

    When she lumbered in from work, he knew the dinner menu would include him from the first growl.

    Good verbs and metaphor are the life blood of good writing.
    Last edited by John Oberon; 05-07-2012 at 09:45 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    "Got" is an empty verb as well. Sheesh, you'd think I'd know my own list by now, lol. So...four empty verbs, not one good verb in that initial sentence.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    10

    That

    Great link, thanks. I have always had a problem with those!

    Sophie

    Quote Originally Posted by Montana Chick View Post
    Lately, I've been dealing with my bad habit of using "that" in a lot of my sentences where it isn't necessary. Example:

    He knew that she was going to be in a bad mood when she got home from work.
    vs.
    He knew she was going to be in a bad mood when she got home from work.

    Apparently I'm not alone in this. I found a link to a great web page so I thought I'd share:
    http://www.kriscramer.com/2009/the-unnecessary-that

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    14
    That is a very large problem for me as well. (Did you get that?)

    That may not seem amusing to you, but that is certainly a puny one.

    Anyway, enough with that humor. Thank you for the link, it appears that my thats are escaping me! :P

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts