PDA

View Full Version : I'm using "that' too much.


Word Jedi
05-03-2010, 02:54 AM
Okay, I find myself using the word "that" too much.
What does this mean, if anything?
Below is a sample from one of my pre-write brainstorming sessions.
Am I just getting punchy from writing for 7 hours today?

Father Sullivan has told him countless times that the HFD responsible will never be found, that they arenít really human and that the essence of the beast that killed his father has moved on to another city, another country or even another plane of existence.

Paul
05-03-2010, 03:11 AM
You have deep breath syndrome.

Explanation: When you're verbally telling a story, if your breath holds you can fit in a lot of 'thats'. But in writing you can and should pause. (i.e, new sentence.)

There are more complex arguments about 'that' usage, but to me it usually boils down to the 'breath' analogy for new writers.

Jamesaritchie
05-03-2010, 04:16 AM
It just means you use "that" too often, and need to rewrite the sentences, if you want to eliminate a couple.

Cranky
05-03-2010, 04:20 AM
It means nothing, really, unless you're leaving them in on edit. The search function of your word processor should help you seek and destroy any extraneous "that"s, or any other repetitious words from your MS.

IOW, don't sweat it too much. :)

Smish
05-03-2010, 04:23 AM
Well, stop that. :D

wornoutmumoftwo
05-03-2010, 04:28 AM
I'm terrible for that and was. When I've finished writing I use word to highlight them all and take out any of them that aren't necessary (which is most of them).

Arkie
05-03-2010, 04:52 AM
In the sentence you demonstrated, you had only one "that" doing any work. Remember, too, you don't precede "that" with a comma. The comma normally indicates a natural break, so you might want to put in a full stop "period," drop the "that" and start a new sentence. As wornoutmumoftwo stated above, most "thats" are unnecessary.

bettielee
05-03-2010, 05:13 AM
**spanks hand**

Stop it! or - better - don't stop it, just write it and then edit it out later! :) That's what I do.

PeterL
05-03-2010, 05:13 PM
It isn't that you use "that" too much. You just think that you do.

ether
05-03-2010, 06:02 PM
Father Sullivan has told him countless times that the HFD responsible will never be found. that They arenít really human and that the essence of the beast that killed his father has moved on to another city, another country or even another plane of existence.

...Yepp. ;) I do this, too. It was one of the biggest things I had to fix in my initial editing and have to really watch for in my writing now.

Williebee
05-03-2010, 06:07 PM
Some good advice above. Thanks folks.

--Williebee, "that" assassin.

Word Jedi
05-07-2010, 04:42 AM
It means nothing, really, unless you're leaving them in on edit. The search function of your word processor should help you seek and destroy any extraneous "that"s, or any other repetitious words from your MS.

IOW, don't sweat it too much. :)

To date, your avatar is the funniest I've ever seen.

PGK
05-07-2010, 06:38 AM
I agree, don't worry about it until the edit. "That" is one of the most commonly overused words in writing.

Have you ever read Stephen King's "Insomnia?" I swear he was trying to make a statement about his popularity with that book because I can't imagine anyone else getting away with such a vulgar overuse of "that."

blacbird
05-07-2010, 11:11 AM
Stop doing that.

caw

nighttimer
05-07-2010, 01:08 PM
Aw, that sucks. I'm sure you're really concerned about that. But I'm sure that it's nothing to worry about. You need to stop thinking about that and that is how you will stop doing that. Do that as soon as you can and that will lead you to putting it behind you.

Got that? That's cool.

Okay, that's all. :ROFL:

Devil Ledbetter
05-07-2010, 06:25 PM
It's been three long years since we've had a good thread on the slaying of that (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63534).

(And the extension still hasn't run out on my iCrush.)

Jamesaritchie
05-07-2010, 07:42 PM
I agree, don't worry about it until the edit. "That" is one of the most commonly overused words in writing.

Have you ever read Stephen King's "Insomnia?" I swear he was trying to make a statement about his popularity with that book because I can't imagine anyone else getting away with such a vulgar overuse of "that."

King didn't get away with it, either. You should read the story of how he came to write Insomnia. The writing nearly did him in, he hates the book, and pretty much everyone else does, as well. Even King says the book is aptly named.

nighttimer
05-08-2010, 03:33 AM
Got a link to Stephen King dumping on his own book? Insomnia is a horrible bore of a book. I'd like to know what King thought of "shoveling shit from a sitting position" as he once called writing.

THAT would be cool (just trying to honor the OP).

skunkmelon
05-08-2010, 07:19 AM
Okay, as it applies to that, well, I do that too. I think it just shows you're ruminating and writing at the same time. Nothin' that won't come out in the wash.

In regards to Insomnia: I loved it. Haven't read it in a long while but now that you mention it, me thinks I'll go back and visit. The MC spoke to me and I loved him.

Ah well,



Jen

Devil Ledbetter
05-08-2010, 05:44 PM
Got a link to Stephen King dumping on his own book? Insomnia is a horrible bore of a book. I'd like to know what King thought of "shoveling shit from a sitting position" as he once called writing.

THAT would be cool (just trying to honor the OP).I don't know of a link, but in "On Writing" King talks extensively about his alcoholic period and how much his writing sucked.

PGK
05-08-2010, 10:34 PM
I'd love a link also. I briefly scanned his forums and found someone who complained about Insomnia and was quickly jumped on by members who told the OP that if he doesn't know why King wrote it (or what he was trying to do with it) he shouldn't be so accusatory.

I'm glad to know he didn't get away with it either. It was starting to look like a Paris Hilton type scenario where she gets away with anything (most of the time) by virtue of her fame and money.

Still though, a simple edit of the book could remove all those needless instances of "that" and at the very least improve the writing.