Common mistake Possibly needless 'that'

Common Mistakes: The Overuse of 'That'

When it comes to writing, there are several common mistakes that people make, and one of them involves the overuse of the word 'that'.

Example: "I told him that I was going to the store."

In the above sentence, the word 'that' is not necessary. It does not add any meaning to the sentence and can be removed without changing the overall message. Therefore, it is an unnecessary use of the word.

This mistake often occurs when people are trying to make their writing sound more formal or sophisticated. However, using 'that' excessively can actually make the writing appear cluttered and wordy.

When to use 'that'

While it's important to avoid unnecessary use of 'that', there are certain situations where it is appropriate to include it in a sentence.

Example: "She said that she would be late."

In this sentence, the word 'that' is used to introduce a subordinate clause and clarify the speaker's reported statement. In such cases, 'that' serves a purpose and is necessary for the sentence structure.

Tips for avoiding overuse

  • Read your sentences aloud to determine if 'that' adds any value to the sentence. If not, consider removing it.
  • Try to vary your sentence structure to avoid repetitive use of 'that'.
  • Pay attention to other words that can be used as alternatives to 'that', such as 'which' or 'who'.
  • Proofread your writing carefully, specifically looking for instances where 'that' could be eliminated.

In conclusion, the overuse of the word 'that' is a common mistake in writing that can be easily corrected. By being mindful of its usage and opting for more concise and clearer sentences, you can improve the flow and readability of your writing.

Linguix grammar checker can help you identify instances where 'that' may be unnecessary in your writing, enabling you to create more polished and professional content.

Possibly needless 'that' mistake examples

  • Correct:
    I am pretty sure that this is right.
  • Correct:
    I am pretty sure this is right.
  • Correct:
    It has grown way beyond that.
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