: stop that :

No, sorry, don’t stop what you’re doing. By that, I meant the word that. Please, go on about your business; don’t mind me.

scoldingWell, okay, since you’re here, I’ll tell you: I hate that. It’s overused and distracting, a totally irksome term. People stick a that in everything. Why? It’s a word, not a mantra. And, here’s the totally irksome part, it’s unnecessary blather. We believe if that can logically follow a verb, it should, by God. Yeah? Think again.

Here, I’ll show you: I said that I was buying a monkey. It’s correct, but hideous. Now try it without that: I said I was buying a monkey. Equally correct and so much smoother, practically music to our ea — stop rolling your eyes.

You think this is just another tirade about grammar, don’t you? Ha, think again, smarty-pants. This is strictly a personal bias. That is one plug-ugly word, clattering and dissonant wherever it’s used. The stupid thing refuses to blend in. That, tha-a-a-t, that-that, sounds like honking. I don’t want to honk; who wants to honk?

We could consult the rules regarding the proper use of that: in restrictive clauses and subordinate clauses; when it’s the subject rather than the object of a clause. When which is more appropriate than that; when who is called for, instead. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Grammarians make everything so complicated. I admire them for sticking to their guns in an ungracious world and all, but come on. Relative pronouns, subjunctive clauses? whoosh, right over my head. I go by instinct. If it sounds okay, that’s good enough for me. Oh, crap, there it is, the dreaded that. Pretty soon I’ll be tossing around gots instead of haves.

Anyway, the point is we can do without that most of the time. You don’t need to quit altogether, but try cutting back. Seriously, the world will be a better, more harmonious place.

That said, thank you for your cooperation.


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22 thoughts on “: stop that :

  1. Loved THAT tirade, now I’ll be writing all of my posts with 3% fewer useless words(ish). There’s also an epidemic of misused apostrophes (ex: I have several bagel’s) with no hope in sight of a cure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You won’t even miss them. Unless you have a really strict word count to meet or something.

      I agree about apostrophes, I’m pretty bad at them myself. No, more like really bad at them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it obnoxious?

      If you’re content with your wording, Len, don’t worry about overdoing the ‘t’ word. If you were, you’d have noticed. You have a nice style.


    1. Great minds, right? Sometimes I think I confuse things by deleting so many. Other times I worry I let too many slide. I can’t find a proper balance, Dave. Help.


      1. I edit and edit and eventually, i just hit the publish button. Then I spy the extra thats and awkward sentences. I never edit once i publish something, i just promise myself to better next time…and then i dont.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I try to do all my editing offline, then upload to WP and hit publish. But as soon as it’s in WordPress it sucks and I practically rewrite the whole thing. Even after it’s published I continue to hack away. Oh, brother, what I wouldn’t give to be normal.


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