Dear Helpers,

I don’t know when I can omit the word “that.” I looked for the word “that” in the index of my grammar book. I found it in different chapters.

Case ( A ) : Object of a verb:
The man (that) I saw told me to come back today.
This is the best hotel (that) I know.

I read “If it is the object of a verb, the “that” can be removed.”

Case ( B ) :The conditional:
I hope (that) I will succeed.
I hoped (that) I would succeed.
He thinks (that) they will give him a visa.
He thought (that) they would give him a visa.

“that” are in parentheses in the book.

Case ( C ) :Reported speech
He explained that he never ate meat.
He said he was waiting for Ann.
He said he had found a flat.
He said that Ann would be in Paris on Monday.
Peter said that they ought to widen the road.
Bill said he would be 21 the following day.

Case ( D) :Noun clauses introduced by that:
It occurred to me that he might be lying.
It appears that we have come on the wrong way.
It is a pity that he didn’t come earlier.
He was relieved that no one had been hurt.
I’m delighted that you can come.

I understand that in the cases A and B, the word “that” can be omitted. I don’t know about the cases C and D. Can I omit the "that?"

Thanks in advance....


Yes, 'that' can be omitted at the head of a clause wherever it remains clear. The main situation in which the 'that' should be retained is when it functions as the subject:

'That I was very, very late the boss made no bones about bringing to everyone's notice.'
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Hi Spoonfedbaby,

Omitting That

The word that is used as a conjunction to connect a subordinate clause to a preceding verb. In this construction that is sometimes called the "expletive that." Indeed, the word is often omitted to good effect, but the very fact of easy omission causes some editors to take out the red pen and strike out the conjunction that wherever it appears. In the following sentences, we can happily omit the that (or keep it, depending on how the sentence sounds to us):

  • Isabel knew [that] she was about to be fired.
  • She definitely felt [that] her fellow employees hadn't supported her.
  • I hope [that] she doesn't blame me.

  • Sometimes omitting the that creates a break in the flow of a sentence, a break that can be adequately bridged with the use of a comma:

    • The problem is, that production in her department has dropped.
    • Remember, that we didn't have these problems before she started working here.

    • As a general rule, if the sentence feels just as good without the that, if no ambiguity results from its omission, if the sentence is more efficient or elegant without it, then we can safely omit the that.

      Theodore Bernstein lists three conditions in which we should maintain the conjunction that:

      • When a time element intervenes between the verb and the clause: "The boss said yesterday that production in this department was down fifty percent." (Notice the position of "yesterday.")
      • When the verb of the clause is long delayed: "Our annual report revealed that some losses sustained by this department in the third quarter of last year were worse than previously thought." (Notice the distance between the subject "losses" and its verb, "were.")
      • When a second that can clear up who said or did what: "The CEO said that Isabel's department was slacking off and that production dropped precipitously in the fourth quarter." (Did the CEO say that production dropped or was the drop a result of what he said about Isabel's department? The second that makes the sentence clear.)

      • hope this helps
Thank so much, yulysess,to have typed that long explanation. Emotion: smile