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We use the word that as a conjunction to introduce a subordinate clause to make a statement or provide more information. In many instances, the conjunction that may be left out without affecting the meaning of the sentence.

 

Some basic ideas of the conjunction that:

  1. That as a conjunction is commonly used.
  2. That introduces the that-clause.
  3. That-clause can be the subject or object of a sentence.
  4. That can be left out but not if it begins a clause.

 

The following show how the conjunction that is used.

 

Examples:

  • He said that he was catching fish in the river.
  • It is possible that the murderer is her own husband.

  • She was so angry that she couldn’t sleep.

  • They are hoping that their missing dog will come home.

  • It is true that my grandfather wrote a book about my grandmother.

 

The conjunction that introduces a that-clause which is a subordinate clause. A subordinate clause cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence. 

 

Examples:

  • It is quite likely that we will be late for the firework display.
    (That part of the above sentence in bold is a that-clause. We cannot use it as a sentence.)
  • Wrong: That we will be late for the firework display.
    (Wrong because it is a subordinate clause, also called a dependent clause. It must be joined to a main clause to make a complete sentence. The main clause is It is quite likely.)

 

A that-clause can come at the beginning of a sentence as the subject or at the end of a sentence as the object.

Examples:

  • That he got up late does not mean he doesn't have to go to school. (Subject)
  • He recalled that he had sent the letter sometime last week. (Object)
 
 

We can leave out that wherever it may appear in a sentence but not if it is at the beginning.

Examples:

  • Correct: He said that he would help me with my homework.
  • Correct: He said he would help me with my homework.
  • Correct: It is true that her grandmother is one hundred years old.
  • Correct: It is true her grandmother is one hundred years old.
  • Correct: That he didn't know anything about it is no excuse.
  • Incorrect: He didn't know anything about it is no excuse.

  

More conjunctions:

Each is a pair of words (conjunction + that) which together is used as a conjunction.

Examples:

1. providing/providing that = on the condition that; if. That in these two sentences can be omitted.

  • We will be there early providing that we can catch the first train.
  • We welcome her to come along provided that she can stay out late.

2. assuming that = accept as true without proof

  • I think she will marry the wealthy boss's son even assuming that she doesn't love him.

3. seeing that = because; accepting the fact that

  • You may as well join them, seeing that they need another volunteer.