Omitting 'that'.

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I am totally confused as to when and where I can omit 'that' in a clause.
Can anyone help (preferably in the simplest of terms)?
 

Snowcake

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Hello,


All you have to do when it comes to decide "that" yes or no is to know the subject and the object of a sentence.

You must use that when it refers to the subject of a sentence.

Example:

Where are the eggs that were in the basket?

Eggs is the subject. You cannot say:

Where are the eggs were in the basket? ---> wrong

You can leave out that when it refers to the object of a sentence.

Example:

The car (that) I wanted to buy was red.

In this example you can use that but it is not necessary.

"I" is the subject and "car" is the object.


Hope that helps,
Snowcake
 

David L.

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Not quite.
Where are the eggs that were in the basket?
= Where are the eggs? The eggs were in the basket.
Here, 'that' is being used instead of 'eggs' and hence can't be omitted.

The car (that) I wanted to buy was red.
The car was red. I wanted to buy the car.
In this example, 'that' is a conjunction and can be omitted.
 

Snowcake

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Hi David,

I hope you can give me a clue since I am a bit confused now.

This is what I meant:

The eggs were in the basket. But they aren't there anymore. They are away and I'm looking for them.

This is the example my grammar book gives:

Where is the cheese that was in the fridge.

"that" means in this case: The chees was in the fridge. that (=the cheese) is subject.

So you cannot say:

Where is the cheese was in the fridge?

Regards
Snowcake
 
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banderas

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Not quite.
Where are the eggs that were in the basket?
= Where are the eggs? The eggs were in the basket.
Here, 'that' is being used instead of 'eggs' and hence can't be omitted.

The car (that) I wanted to buy was red.
The car was red. I wanted to buy the car.
In this example, 'that' is a conjunction and can be omitted.

David, Would you omit "that" in these sentences, then?

1."The boss said yesterday that production in this department was down fifty percent."
2."Our annual report revealed that some losses sustained by this department in the third quarter of last year were worse than previously thought."
If so, why? If not why?
 

Snowcake

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Hi David,

sorry, I'm a bit slow on the uptake today.

One can say:

Where are the eggs in the basket.

I think I got that.

However, provided that I don't want to split up the sentence and I want to make a relative clause, then:

Where are the eggs that were in the basket? you cannot say

Where are the eggs were in the basket?

You can say "Where are the eggs in the basket?

But then it is not a relative clause.

Are we talking at cross-purposes?

Sorry if I am completely on the wrong track. :-?

Could you shed light on the really confusing matter?
I would appreciate it.

Thanks
Snowcake
 

David L.

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The difference is, when is 'that' being used as a pronoun, and when as a conjunction.
The eggs that were in the basket. - 'that' is being used as a pronoun.
The boss said production is down/the boss said that production is down.
Here, 'that' is being used as a conjunction.
 

naomimalan

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Yes, I think you've been talking at cross purposes. Snowcake, your sentences show (that!) you are talking about relative pronouns, not conjunctions. So let’s just forget about sentences with conjunctions for the moment and concentrate on the example (that) Snowcake has given us from her grammar book:

Where is the cheese that was in the fridge?

As you say, Snowcake, the relative pronoun “that” in the above sentence is in subject position in the relative clause (that was in the fridge).

If the relative pronoun “that” is in subject position, you shoud notleave it out . So you should not say: *Where is the cheese was in the fridge? It would be ungrammatical in standard English.

However, if the relative pronoun (in this case “that) is in object position, then you can leave it out, for example, in the following sentence:

Where is the cheese (that) I put in the fridge?
 
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Karen D

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David, "that" is not a conjunction in your first example. To text for this, see if "which" could be substituted. If it can, you have a relative "that" not a conjunction.

The car (that/which) I wanted to buy...
 
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