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:
- That as a conjunction is commonly used.
- That introduces the that-clause.
- That-clause can be the subject or object of a sentence.
- That can be left out but not if it begins a clause.
The following show how the conjunction that is used.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Each is a pair of words (conjunction + that) which together is used as a conjunction.
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.