Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Apr 7 2010   10:34AM GMT

Omitting “that”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Linus Torvalds _______ choosing to be an open source software engineer is a calling, rather than a career choice.
a. said that
b. said

Answer: b.

In this sentence, that isn’t required, so it should be omitted.

From the New York Times, ‘A bit about that.’

Here’s the relevant entry in The Times’s stylebook:

that (conj.). After a verb like said, disclosed or announced, it is often possible to omit that for conciseness: He said he felt peaked. But if the words after said or any other verb can be mistaken for its direct object, the reader may be momentarily led down a false trail, and that must be retained: The mayor disclosed that her plan for the rhubarb festival would cost $3 million.

When a time element follows the verb, that is always needed to make quickly clear whether the time element applies to the material before or after it: The governor announced yesterday that he would organize a knackwurst fiesta.

Often a sentence with two parallel clauses requires the expression and that in the second part; in such a case, keep that in the first part also, for balance: The mayor said that she might run again and that if she did, her brother would be her campaign manager.

Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

 Comment on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: