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    #1

    Beginning a sentence with "that"

    I took a college English class, and the instructor taught that it is incorrect to begin a sentence with the word "that"; i.e., That is a pretty car." She explained why this is incorrect, but I never could understand the reason.

    I try to be very conscious of my grammar so, if you could explain this rule to me very remedially, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Beginning a sentence with "that"

    Welcome to the forum, ImaKingskid.

    I'd be interested in her reasoning, too.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Beginning a sentence with "that"

    That's advice you could safely ignore. That you couldn't understand the reason is probably evidence that it was nonsense.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Beginning a sentence with "that"

    Ima, is this instructor a native English speaker?

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    #5

    Re: Beginning a sentence with "that"

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Ima:

    1. I found something on the Web that might interest you. "RW" wrote:

    "When I first became a newspaper reporter, my editor struck out any sentence I wrote that began with That is/ was, There is/was, or It is/was. She couldn't rationalize [explain] her objection."

    Then he added: "I eventually realized that you will tend to write the really bad stuff if you start a sentence on the wrong foot -- i.e. with that, there and it."

    2. That Web article actually was mostly concerned with sentences such as:

    "That Ima is an excellent student is very obvious." (Using a noun clause as the subject.)

    Is that the kind of sentence that your teacher was warning you against?

    Some people feel (that) that kind of sentence is "pretentious" or "awkward."

    They would prefer something more "natural" such as: "It's obvious that Ima is an excellent student."


    Source: "RW" 's comments were just one of many contributions to the Google article entitled: Can I get a ruling: Beginning a sentence with "that" | Nathan
    Last edited by TheParser; 08-May-2015 at 12:46.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Beginning a sentence with "that"

    Quote Originally Posted by ImaKingskid View Post
    I took a college English class, and the instructor taught that it is incorrect to begin a sentence with the word "that"; i.e., That is a pretty car." She explained why this is incorrect, but I never could understand the reason.

    I try to be very conscious of my grammar so, if you could explain this rule to me very remedially, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.
    THAT is the silliest advice I've heard today. And it's already lunchtime!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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