that

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See also: That and þat

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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From Old English þæt (neuter relative pronoun, definite article), from Proto-Germanic *þat. Compare Dutch dat, German das.

Pronunciation[edit]

Conjunction[edit]

that

  1. Connecting noun clause (as involving reported speech etc.); introducing a subordinate noun clause. [from 9th c.]
    He told me that the book is a good read.
  2. (archaic or poetic) Introducing a premise or supposition for consideration: ‘given that’, ‘as would appear from the fact that’. [from 11th c.]
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors:
      What, are you mad, that you doe reason so?
    • 1849, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.:
      Are God and Nature then at strife,
      That Nature lends such evil dreams?
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities:
      in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
    • c. 1911, D.H. Lawrence, third draft of what became Sons and Lovers, in Helen Baron (editor), Paul Morel, Cambridge University Press (2003), ISBN 978-0-521-56009-2, page 234:
      “She must be wonderfully fascinating,” said Mrs Morel, with scathing satire. “She must be very wonderful, that you should trail eight miles, backward and forward, after eight o’clock at night.”
  3. With antecedent so or such: introducing the result of the main clause. [from 11th c.]
    • 2008, Zoe Williams, The Guardian, 23 May 2008:
      My dad apparently always said that no child of his would ever be harassed for its poor eating habits, and then I arrived, and I was so disgusting that he revised his opinion.
  4. (archaic or literary) Without any antecedent: so that. [from 12th c.]
    • 1714, Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, III.1:
      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, and wretches hang that jurymen may dine.
    • 1810, Thomas Williams, Sermons on Important Subjects (page 28)
      to enquire what was necessary to be done, that sinners might be saved
    • 1833, Parley's Magazine (volume 1, page 23)
      Ellen's mamma was going out to pay a visit, but she left the children a large piece of rich plumcake to divide between them, that they might play at making feasts.

Usage notes[edit]

  • That used to introduce a subordinate clause is often omitted—"He told me that it is a good read." could just as easily be "He told me it is a good read."
  • Historically, "that" usually followed a comma: "He told me, that it is a good read." As for example, Joseph Robertson, among most Middle Modern English grammarians, in On Punctuation, recommended comma usage with a conjunction. However, if the subordinate, conjunctional ellipse, null complementization, or syntactic pleonasm of "that" is punctuated with a comma, then, in the English grammar, stylistically speaking, it is a comma splice, especially in formal writing. Instead, a semicolon ought to be used to avoid ungrammaticality: He told me; it is a good read.
  • In grammar, the usage of "that" constitutes a that-clause while its absence constitutes a bare clause.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Determiner[edit]

that (plural those)

  1. The (thing) being indicated (at a distance from the speaker, or previously mentioned, or at another time).
    That book is a good read.
    That battle was in 1450.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, The Celebrity:
      The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; for, even after she had conquered her love for the Celebrity, the mortification of having been jilted by him remained.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      She was like a Beardsley Salome, he had said. And indeed she had the narrow eyes and the high cheekbone of that creature, and as nearly the sinuosity as is compatible with human symmetry.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, The China Governess:
      ‘No. I only opened the door a foot and put my head in. The street lamps shine into that room. I could see him. He was all right. Sleeping like a great grampus. Poor, poor chap.’

Translations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

that

  1. (demonstrative) That thing or person. [from 9th c.]
    • c. 1600, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 3, Scene 1:
      To be, or not to be: that is the question: / Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And by opposing end them? []
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game, Folio Society 2010, p. 310:
      However [] , the British were unable to do much about it short of going to war with St Petersburg, and that the government was unwilling to do.
    • 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8845: 
      Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field.
  2. (demonstrative) That aforementioned quality.
    The water is so cold! — That it is.
  3. (relative) Which, who. [from 9th c.]
    • 2011 November 10, Jeremy Wilson, “England Under 21 5 Iceland Under 21 0: match report”, Telegraph:
      His ability to run at defences is instantly striking, but it is his clever use of possession that has persuaded some shrewd judges that he is an even better prospect than Theo Walcott.
    • 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8845: 
      Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field.

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Many authors prescribe that, as a relative pronoun, that be used in restrictive contexts only (contexts in which the relative clause is part of the identification of the noun phrase) and that, in non-restrictive contexts (in which the relative clause serves only to provide additional information about an already-identified noun phrase, e.g., I like the last song on the album, which John wrote), which (in the example) or who/whom be used. In actual usage this prescription is not always followed.
  • In a restrictive relative clause, that is never used as the object of a preposition unless the preposition occurs at the end of the clause; otherwise which is used: "This is the car I spoke of" can be rendered as "This is the car that I spoke of" or as "This is the car of which I spoke" but is never rendered as "This is the car of that I spoke."
  • Although who/whom is prescriptively preferred over that, when one is making reference to a human (e.g., "He is the man who invented the telephone."), it is acceptable to use that.
  • When "that" (or the other relative pronouns "who" and "which") is used as the subject of a relative clause, the verb agrees with the antecedent of the pronoun. Thus "The thing that is...", "The things that are...", etc.

Derived terms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

that (not comparable)

  1. (degree) To a given extent or degree; particularly.
    I'm just not that sick.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Can be used as: (dialect in positive, standard in negative constructions) So, so much; very.

"Ooh, I was that happy I nearly kissed her.", "I did the run last year, and it wasn't that difficult."

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Noun[edit]

that (plural thats)

  1. (philosophy) Something being indicated that is there; one of those.
    • 1998, David L. Hall, Roger T. Ames, Thinking from the Han (page 247)
      As such, they do not have the ontological weight of "Being" and "Not-being," but serve simply as an explanatory vocabulary necessary to describe our world of thises and thats.

Statistics[edit]


Acehnese[edit]

that

  1. many
  2. a lot

Old Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *þat.

Pronoun[edit]

that n

  1. that, that one

Determiner[edit]

that n

  1. that

Descendants[edit]

  • Middle Dutch: dat

Old Saxon[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *þat.

Determiner[edit]

that

  1. Nominative and accusative singular neuter form of thē

Descendants[edit]

  • Low German: dat