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1. I remember the day that we met.
2. We moved here the year (that) my mother died.
3. This is the only time that I have been on a plane.
What is the function of "that" in these sentences ?
Are these adverbs or relative pronouns ?
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Comments  
I think in these sentences "that" is acting as a conjunction and can be left out.
LouiseT is correct. In case you're interested in the grammar, it works like this: the function of 'that' in your examples is 'marker of subordination'. Although it seems to be a relative pronoun, it actually belongs to the word class (part of speech) 'subordinator'. You understandably asked if 'that' is an adverb because it could be seen as answering the question 'when', i.e. meaning something related to time, like 1. '(on) that day', 2. (in) 'that year' and 3. 'on just this one occasion' - all those expressions are traditionally called adverbials in main clause equivalents. In your examples, 'that' is introducing relative clauses where the relativised element 'when' is covert, i.e. not apparent.

BillJ
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BillJAlthough it seems to be a relative pronoun, it actually belongs to the word class (part of speech) 'subordinator'.
If you recognize relative pronouns at all, can you give me your list of them? Actually, a representative sample will do. Thanks.

CJ
BillJLouiseT is correct. ... it actually belongs to the word class (part of speech) 'subordinator'.
LouiseT said "that" was a conjunction. So you're saying that (all) subordinators are conjunctions?

CJ
I would never be so bold as to say that anything is alwaysanything in the English language. Emotion: smile
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LouiseTI would never be so bold as to say that anything is always anything in the English language.
Emotion: big smile Yes, but you're not BillJ! He's always got an interesting take on things. Emotion: smile

CJ
CalifJim
BillJLouiseT is correct. ... it actually belongs to the word class (part of speech) 'subordinator'.
LouiseT said "that" was a conjunction. So you're saying that (all) subordinators are conjunctions?

CJ

Yes. In modern linguistics, "subordinator" and "coordinator" are seen as distinct primary categories (parts of speech), rather than just subclasses of the larger class of 'conjunction'. In other words, they are conjunctions, but 'kinds of', so "subordinator" = "subordinating conjunction" and "coordinator" = "cordinating conjunction". That's all.

BillJ
BillJYes. In modern linguistics, "subordinator" and "coordinator" are seen as distinct primary categories (parts of speech), rather than just subclasses of the larger class of 'conjunction'. In other words, they are conjunctions, but 'kinds of', so "subordinator" = "subordinating conjunction" and "coordinator" = "cordinating conjunction". That's all.
Got it. Thanks for your input.

By the way, any thoughts about relative pronouns vs. subordinators?

I get the impression you are putting that (The coat that I bought ...) in one category and which (The coat which I bought ...) in another. Have I got that right?

CJ
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