We use the word that as a conjunction to introduce a subordinate clause to make a statement or provide more information. In many instances, the conjunction that may be left out without affecting the meaning of the sentence.

 

Some basic ideas of the conjunction 'that':

  1. That as a conjunction is commonly used.
  2. That introduces that-clauses.
  3. That-clauses can be the subject or object of a sentence.
  4. That can be left out but not if it begins a clause.

 

The following show how the conjunction that is used.

 

Examples:

  • He said that he was catching fish in the river.
  • It is possible that the murderer is her own husband.

  • She was so angry that she couldn’t sleep.

  • They are hoping that their missing dog will come home.

  • It is true that my grandfather wrote a book about my grandmother.

 

The conjunction that introduces that-clauses which are subordinate clauses. A subordinate clause cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence.
  • It is quite likely that we will be late for the firework display.

The part of the above sentence in bold is a that-clause. We cannot use it as a sentence.

  • Wrong: That we will be late for the firework display.

Wrong because it is a subordinate clause, also called a dependent clause. It must be joined to a main clause to make a complete sentence. The main clause in the above sentence is It is quite likely.

 

A that-clause can come at the beginning of a sentence as the subject or at the end of a sentence as the object.

Examples:

  • That he got up late does not mean he doesn't have to go to school.
  • He recalled that he had sent the letter sometime last week.
 
In the first example above, That he got up late is the subject of the sentence
In the second example, that he had sent the letter sometime last week is the object of the verb recalled.

 

We can leave out that wherever it may appear in a sentence but not if it is at the beginning.

Examples:

  • He said that he would help me with my homework. / He said he would help me with my homework.
  • It is true that her grandmother is one hundred years old. / It is true her grandmother is one hundred years old.
  • That he didn't know anything about it is no excuse. / Not: He didn't know anything about it is no excuse.
 
 

More conjunctions:

Each is a pair of words which together are used as a conjunction:

1. providing/provided that = on the condition that; if.

  • We will be there early providing that we can catch the first train.
  • We welcome her to come along provided that she can stay out late.

That in the above two sentences can be omitted.

2. Assuming that = accept as true without proof.

  • I think she will marry the wealthy boss's son even assuming that she doesn't love him.

3. Seeing that = because; accepting the fact that.

  • You may as well join them, seeing that they need another volunteer.