+0
When is 'that' used as an adverb ?
1 2
Comments  
It's not that hard to explain.

CJ
CalifJimIt's not that hard to explain.
Emotion: smile

The word "that" can modify an adjective or another adverb (often in combination with the word "all"). It's also usually found in negative sentences. Here are some additional examples:

- Don't bother trying to get to know her. She's not (all) that friendly.
- He's been raving about her homemade soup for days, but I didn't think it tasted (all) that good.

- Why are you so late? We only got dusting of snow, so the roads couldn't have been (all) that bad.
- Why are you using crutches? Your toe can't possibly hurt (all) that badly!
- I think she looks pretty much the same, so I guess her nose job didn't change things (all) that radically.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I remember the day that he came.

We aren’t going for the simple reason that we can’t afford it.

Is 'that' used as an adverb in the above sentences ?
Debpriya DeI remember the day that he came.
We aren’t going for the simple reason that we can’t afford it.
Why do you think "that" might be an adverb in those two sentences, Debpriya De?

The word "that" is very often used as a relative pronoun, and that is what it is in your sentences. It refers back to a noun and introduces a relative clause.
The word "that" refers to "day" in your first sentence, and to the word "reason" in your second sentence.

Using "that" as an adverb is a very limited/specialized sort of usage. Look again at the examples I posted earlier. In my sentences, the word "that" modifies the adjective or adverb that comes after it and the meaning is similar to "very".
Debpriya DeI remember the day that he came.
We aren’t going for the simple reason that we can’t afford it.

Is 'that' used as an adverb in the above sentences ?

In the first sentence that is indeed adverbial in character, which is obvious if we replace it with when: I remember the day when he came. You can also argue that thatEmotion: smile is a relative pronoun. If it is, then a preposition could be used with it and it would be interchangeable withwhich since the relative clause is restrictive: I remember the day [that/which] he came on. I'll leave it to native speakers to pass judgement on the naturalness of this sentence. It is definitely grammatical, though.

In your second sentence that doesn't resemble an adverb so much even though it is causal in meaning. The reason, or cause, is, however, clearly indicated by the word reason before that and therefore I wouldn't say: We aren't going for the simple reason because we can''t afford it. I'm not saying that the reason because is (always) wrong. It just doesn't sound good to my ear in this sentence. Native speakers may think otherwise.

That is a conjunction in the second sentence, not a relative pronoun! If it were a relative, it could of course be replaced with which as the "relative clause" is restrictive:

We aren't going for the simple reason which we can't afford it. (WRONG!)

In this sentence there is a relative pronoun and the antecedent is "the simple reason": We aren't going for the simple reason that/which I mentioned to you.

CB
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hi CB

I see what you're saying. Still, I'd say the phrase "he came" is used to define which day is being referred to, and "we can't afford it" is "the simple reason".
Cool BreezeWe aren't going for the simple reason which we can't afford it. (WRONG!)
What do you think of this rewording:
- That we can't afford it is the simple reason we aren't going.
Cool BreezeThat is a conjunction in the second sentence, not a relative pronoun!
I agree. More specifically I'd call it a complementizer. It makes the clause we can't afford it subordinate. In any case, that has no antecedent in the preceding text even though reason certainly seems to be a good candidate. that we can't afford it is a "content clause" in apposition to reason.

Similarly, ... the fact that we can't afford it or ... the claim that we can't afford it.

Contrast the reason that we gave as an explanation.

CJ
YankeeWhat do you think of this rewording:
- That we can't afford it is the simple reason we aren't going.
It occurs in informal speech, as you know. In no way does it change the grammatical nature of that, of course. I cannot think of relative that occurring in initial position. Relative that is possible only in restrictive relative clauses:

This is the book that I bought.
He told me something that happened yesterday.
I read some of the books that he told me about.

Very few people would say:

That I bought this is the book.
That happened yesterday he told me. (Possible, but that is a demonstrative pronoun, at least in Helsinki!Emotion: smile)
That he told me about I read some of the books.

CB
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more