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fanatic
11-23-2006, 12:22 AM
I saw the boy rush toward oncoming traffic and became so ecstatic my hands began shaking.

Or,

I saw the boy rush toward oncoming traffic and became so ecstatic that my hands began shaking.

I *believe* the latter version is grammatically correct (but, who knows, it wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong). However, the former version sounds more natural to me.

Unfortunately, my handy-dandy grammar book isn't helping me out much with this dilemma. Your thoughts? Pretty please?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
11-23-2006, 12:36 AM
One of the best crits I ever got slapped me so hard for using 'that' all the time, (that) I learned to do a search and replace so I could leave all those 'thats' out that weren't needed. (You'd be surprised how many times you use 'that' when you just don't gotta.)

Shadow_Ferret
11-23-2006, 01:43 AM
Well, as much as I hate Word's grammar checker, in this instance it isn't flagging either, meaning, they're both acceptable.

There are times when Word flags me to tell me I actually DO need a that in the sentence. Which is a struggle because I too was a notorious thater when I first started writing and it took me years to get over that habit.

fanatic
11-23-2006, 01:52 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your input (and for the laughs).

Ol' Fashioned Girl
11-23-2006, 02:00 AM
When I did that 'search and replace' for 'that' in my MS... I think I had something like 1300 instances! It's like a... a... fungus.

MidnightMuse
11-23-2006, 02:49 AM
I'd like to know why you were so incredibly happy to see this boy run into oncoming traffic !

You owed him money?
:D

veronie
11-23-2006, 03:21 AM
If you are deleting every "that," then you are making a mistake. Many "thats," perhaps most, should be deleted. Some are needed for clarity's sake. I would keep the "that" in your sentence. (I'd also put an "I" before "became.")

Using a "that" sometimes helps maintain clarity. Consider this example from "Lapsing Into a Comma" by Bill Walsh:

"He declared his love for her had died."

-or-

"He declared that his love for her had died."

The second one is better. Why? So, you're reading along and you see "He declared his love for her." Awe, how sweet, you think. Then you read, "had died." What a let-down. Using a "that" here helps with clarity.

Also, consider this:

"President Clinton said Thursday he will sign the bill."

Did he say on Thursday "that" he will sign the bill? Or, did he say "that" on Thursday he will sign the bill? Putting a "that" in the appropriate place will help avoid ambiguity.

ErylRavenwell
11-23-2006, 04:16 AM
If you are deleting every "that," then you are making a mistake. Many "thats," perhaps most, should be deleted. Some are needed for clarity's sake. I would keep the "that" in your sentence. (I'd also put an "I" before "became.")

Using a "that" sometimes helps maintain clarity. Consider this example from "Lapsing Into a Comma" by Bill Walsh:

"He declared his love for her had died."

-or-

"He declared that his love for her had died."

The second one is better. Why? So, you're reading along and you see "He declared his love for her." Awe, how sweet you think. Then you read, "had died." What a letdown. Using a "that" here helps with clarity.

Also, consider this:

"President Clinton said Thursday he will sign the bill."

Did he say on Thursday "that" he will sign the bill? Or, did he say "that" on Thursday he will sign the bill? Putting a "that" in the appropriate place will help avoid ambiguity.

It's a mistake, but it sounds more natural and reads better. In dialogues "that" can be omitted when it is used as a conjunction between clauses. I wouldn't write either sentences like he did though.

There are instances where "that" is worth its weight.

"That" is a bloody joker, don't hate him. :) We all get lazy at time and indulge in "thats" :D

Carmy
11-23-2006, 07:37 AM
I'm well know as a thater.

Thanks Veronie, I think that cleared that up a bit.

Prawn
11-23-2006, 04:04 PM
I read really fast, and I appreciate writing that is clear so if I miss something, I am not completely lost. I appreciate clear dialogue attribution, and I I like 'that' if it makes things clearer.

KTC
11-23-2006, 04:12 PM
I'm a firm believer in slaying my thats. Take it out wherever you can. Do an instance check on the word 'that' in your manuscript and delete all extraneous thats.

Use the FIRST sentence.

C. L. Richardson
11-24-2006, 01:12 AM
Personally I think the second sentence sounds better. Of course you can overuse the word "that".. You can overuse "you" or "said" or any word. Go with whatever rolls off the tongue best.

veronie
11-26-2006, 06:56 AM
Today, I came across another instance where "that" is needed and adds clarity in a sentence:


During questioning, the 15-year-old and Simmons' 21-year-old son, Christopher, told authorities only that marijuana pipes were in the room.

That's how the sentence read. It actually should have read like this:


During questioning, the 15-year-old and Simmons' 21-year-old son, Christopher, told authorities that only marijuana pipes were in the room.

Moving the "that" to a different location drastically changes the meaning of the sentence. Leaving the "that" out would cause confusion.

WriterInChains
11-26-2006, 07:05 AM
During questioning, the 15-year-old and Simmons' 21-year-old son, Christopher, told authorities only that marijuana pipes were in the room.


During questioning, the 15-year-old and Simmons' 21-year-old son, Christopher, told authorities that only marijuana pipes were in the room.



Hi, my name is Caren, and I habitually overuse the word "that."

The first sentence above would be correct if the questionees' only statement was, "Marijuana pipes were in the room."

The second sentence would be correct if that's all they admitted to having.:D

ErylRavenwell
11-27-2006, 11:41 AM
Today, I came across another instance where "that" is needed and adds clarity in a sentence:


During questioning, the 15-year-old and Simmons' 21-year-old son, Christopher, told authorities only that marijuana pipes were in the room.
That's how the sentence read. It actually should have read like this:


Quote:
During questioning, the 15-year-old and Simmons' 21-year-old son, Christopher, told authorities that only marijuana pipes were in the room. :



Moving the "that" to a different location drastically changes the meaning of the sentence. Leaving the "that" out would cause confusion.

But that isn't fiction; sounds more like journalism. I'm not questioning the use of "that" but the tone, which isn't suitable for popular fiction. Just my two cents.

There are many instances where a sentence can do without a "that". Informal speech doesn't require a that. If a that is part of the object, its omission doesn't alter the sense of the sentence usually (I should clarify myself on this, but time is wanting). And finally, as a conjunction attached to a subject, "that' is a must (proper formal grammar), but still the rule can be bent if the omission of the "that" doesn't compromise the meaning of the sentence. Note the difference between "that" as conjunction and "that" as a pronoun (of so many types; I tell you "that" is as versatile as the f word in the English language.)

Learn the rule first, then bend the rule.

veronie
11-28-2006, 03:51 AM
Who says this board is only for fiction writers? But, you are right in that the type of writing you are doing may affect grammar choices you make.

Jamesaritchie
11-30-2006, 11:34 PM
I saw the boy rush toward oncoming traffic and became so ecstatic my hands began shaking.

Or,

I saw the boy rush toward oncoming traffic and became so ecstatic that my hands began shaking.

I *believe* the latter version is grammatically correct (but, who knows, it wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong). However, the former version sounds more natural to me.

Unfortunately, my handy-dandy grammar book isn't helping me out much with this dilemma. Your thoughts? Pretty please?

I'd eluiminate the "that." But why would you be deliriously happy to see a boy rushing toward oncoming traffic?

MidnightMuse
12-01-2006, 12:03 AM
. . . But why would you be deliriously happy to see a boy rushing toward oncoming traffic?

Exactly what I've been waiting to find out :D

fanatic
12-01-2006, 03:05 AM
Oh boy, I didn't realize a few of you were wondering about the sentence in question. So, why is the narrator so happy to see the boy rush into traffic? Honestly, I made up the sentence. My original sentence just didn't seem exciting enough for AW.

Perhaps I'll expand it into a short story. One that Stephen King would be proud of. ;)

Jamesaritchie
12-01-2006, 08:03 PM
Oh boy, I didn't realize a few of you were wondering about the sentence in question. So, why is the narrator so happy to see the boy rush into traffic? Honestly, I made up the sentence. My original sentence just didn't seem exciting enough for AW.

Perhaps I'll expand it into a short story. One that Stephen King would be proud of. ;)

That sentence does have the makings of a good Stephen King type story. A character who becomes ecstatic upon seeing a boy rushing toward oncoming traffic? Yes, I can see that making a good story.

MHanlon
12-11-2006, 10:08 PM
"That" is one of those words that is often implied, but not necessary to a sentence. Reader's will mentally put a "that" in without thinking about it. Try the sentence both ways. If the clarity remains without "that", take it out.