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Usage note[edit]

The usage note here contradicts the one at which. 19:38, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

that#Usage note makes a completely different point, I thought: that "that" can be omitted completely in some cases. which#Usage note discusses the preference by a number of early 20th century usage experts to carve out distinct realms for "that" and "which". DCDuring TALK 20:10, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

What about the definition for the usage like: "It's not 'that' hard"? 11:08, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

  • That is an adverb sense - we are missing it - wait a while and I'll add it. SemperBlotto 11:13, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

If "that" could be used to define something to an extent or a degree, then couldn't "this" also be used that way? An example would be, "Someone this stupid couldn't have done it. 03:36, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with three things in this page.[edit]

Here are three things that bother me about the page. I'm not saying I'm right. I'm not a native English speaker, although I have studied the English language academically. Opinions and discussion are welcome, and so are demonstrations of me being wrong if it turns out to be the case.

- the Usage Notes for the Conjunction are, I believe, misleading. Is "that" really _often_ omitted? I would rather say it _sometimes_ is. As for the example -- "He told me that it is a good read." could just as easily be "He told me it is a good read." -- I disagree as well. It could not "easily" be the same. One is much heavier yet much clearer.

  • We could argue about whether it should be "often" or "sometimes". You may be right. However, I disagree with your assessment of the example. The meanings are identical and I don't think the version with that is "much clearer" (in most contexts).
    • I am currently working on research papers, which often feature long/complex relatives. IMHO, it is often a bad thing for clarity when "that" is omitted. Then again, the "H" in "IMHO" is to be stressed, since I am not a native English speaker.
      • Long and complex relative clauses are a different case, but as I say, the example given is not one of those where clarity is lost by cutting "that".
        • Fair enough. Do we agree, however, that the example is then poorly chosen, since it is supposed to support the claim that "that" and "Ø" are pretty much the same, when, in fact, there is a non-negligible amount of situations where they are not?

- the meaning "very" for the adverb "that". When you say "It is not that hard", you are not saying "It is not very hard", you are saying "It is not [as] hard [as you imply/think it is]", which is covered by the first definition.

  • Nnno, it certainly started that way, but nowadays the meaning is similar to saying "it's not especially hard" or "it's not very hard".
    • I'm sorry if this is nitpicking. It's probably not important anyway, but... oh well, I might as well try to explain myself =) What I'm saying (and perhaps wrongly so), is that I believe the meaning "very" is nothing more than the implication I've mentioned, and that, in this regard, it is wrong to present it as a strong definition of "that". As a native English speaker, could you think of sentences where "that" is used as "very" while not being easily replaced by what I wrote? More precisely, doesn't "that" refer to someone's expectations, while "very", though relative, is more independent? Would you say "it's not that hard to do" if you didn't expect people to find it hard to do? "very" seems to be like a judgement from the speaker, and "that" seems to be a correction of someone else's judgement. Again, sorry if it's nitpicking. At the very least, it'll help me have a better grasp of the English language! Thank you very much for your answers and contribution =) Augustin 09:57, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
      • There is no problem with nitpicking. The problme here is that we are not talking about meaning per se but connotations of the word. Sometimes, as you say, "that" implies that a distinction is being made between a given situation and previous expectations. But not always. Very often it is just a vague intensive ("I wasn't all that happy about my sister's wedding", "I got it wrong, but I suppose it doesn't matter that much"). Ƿidsiþ 11:31, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
        • Ok, point taken. I still have a "gut feeling" that in those sentences, "(all) that", "very", and "Ø" would all have different meanings (see my previous comment for how i would interpret them). However, this feeling may simply be a mistake. I'm not gonna nitpick anymore; after all, you're the English guy =P Thank you for your answers. Augustin 11:40, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
          • I know this is an old conversation, but I think I agree with Augustin here. I'm a native English speaker (from Australia) and I would suggest that rather than "very hard", it probably means "as hard as [implied]". In the examples you gave Ƿidsiþ, I would say they actually mean: "I wasn't [as] happy about my sister's wedding [as I had thought/I would have liked].", "I got it wrong, but I suppose it doesn't matter [as] much [as I'd previously thought/as it might've mattered]". I think by way of use, this kind of misunderstanding is natural and understandable, but I don't think that means it is correct. Following etymology and usage of the word would probably lead to this conclusion as well. Davecw (talk) 03:36, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

- I don't think I have ever seen the comparative/superlative versions of the adverb "that". Anyone has got examples, or is it because they simply don't exist?

  • You are probably right. Ƿidsiþ 14:37, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Common mistake for "than"?[edit]

I sometimes see "that" used in places where "than" would be appropriate. This is incorrect, right? I didn't have an example at hand so I googled for "more that" as a likely candidate, and it yielded e.g. "The removal of more that 500 snares during this survey", "I do not understand this reaction at all, is more that 2 kids really that bad?", "More that meets the eye", etc. It's not just the interwebs, I've seen this in respectable printed books also. -- Coffee2theorems 16:16, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Those are typos. Duoduoduo 17:47, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

O that...[edit]

"O that I had her here, to tear her limbmeal!" "O that my God would grant me grace / To know and do his will." What is that doing in these vocative utterances? Is it a separate sense? Equinox 19:51, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Translations to be checked[edit]

Why does it keep moving to "Translations to be checked" in Conjunction section? I remember there were all checked and I checked personally a lot. Anatoli 01:05, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Do you mean, why do the translations keep getting moved to the ttbc section? If so, User:DCDuring does it. I have no idea why he does this. —Stephen 01:10, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I see. That's not the first time he moves translations to ttbc, if something small changes. Should we call all contributors to recheck their work!? Anatoli 01:18, 20 August 2009 (UTC)


Do the two different pronouns really need to be split up like that? Seems a bit pointless (not to mention confusing) to me. Tooironic 03:49, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Unstressed Pronunciation[edit]

The unstressed everyday pronunciation IPA: /ðət/ seems to be missing from this page. I'd add it myself but I think that it is mainly (only?) for the conjunction, and I wasn't sure whether that would entail splitting the section. Sabretoof 20:25, 19 September 2010 (UTC)


Does the Old English derive from the Sanskrit "tat" (तद्, meaning "that")? 01:34, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

"That" = "Indeed"?[edit]

The adverb section includes:

(dialect) indeed.
The water is so cold!
That it is.

I don't think (that) this is right. I think "that" has the antecedent "so cold", and that word order inversion has occurred for emphasis. Duoduoduo 17:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Are you suggesting that, instead, this example falls under the pronoun usage of the word 'that' (ie. The second sentence is actually saying: "So cold it is." )? I think you may be right here. Davecw (talk) 03:43, 23 June 2013 (UTC) -EDIT: It's already been shifted. My bad :\


Hi, please don't revert without giving a reason in the edit summary. The passage you restored is

In this sense, that is prescriptively used in restrictive contexts only. For non-restrictive contexts, e.g. I like the last song on the album, which John wrote (one out of many), which is preferred.

There are two things wrong with this. First, the non-restrictive clause "which John wrote" does not imply that John has written many. Second and more important, that is never used non-restrictively: no one would ever say I like the last song on the album, that John wrote (except possibly as a shortened version of I like the last song on the album, the one that John wrote, which is restrictive). Duoduoduo 18:23, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

You're just plain wrong. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:33, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
How do users actually use the word? As you must know from experience, many users don't respect the prescription. That is usually the principal reason for the existence of the prescription. Wiktionary attempts to be descriptive. Please do not insert purely prescriptive material as if it were a universal fact of usage.
Admittedly, it is difficult to find the right wording for usage notes that reflects prevailing grammatical and stylistic prescriptive opinion and reflects actual usage. Many distinctions that occur in careful, educated writing do not occur in speech, written dialog, less careful writing, and other contexts. DCDuring TALK 18:35, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm well aware that Wiktionary attempts to be descriptive, and I disagree that I have inserted purely prescriptive material as if it were a universal fact of usage.
The comment from DCDuring is slightly more subtle than that from Mglovesfun, but it amounts to the same thing -- an unsupported assertion that people sometimes use "that" non-restrictively. I do not know from experience (nor from the descriptive literature on the English language) that this ever happens. If you want the entry to make an assertion that "that" is sometimes used that way, you should back it up with some quotes. Duoduoduo 18:48, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Garner's Modern American Usage is contemporary and has a rating system for the degree of acceptance of various usages. I don't know what other modern sources there are that might be considered authoritative, especially reflecting UK practice, Burchfield's revision of Fowler? DCDuring TALK 21:59, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
These look like uses of that with a non-restrictive clause:
  • 2009, “NewsHour For October 14, 2009”, in PBS_NewsHour:
    Then, you need to construct the framework that responds to the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people, that are simultaneously the requirements of our international partners.
  • 2007, “Immigration Bill Provisions Reviewed by Ray Suarez and Guests”, in PBS_Newshour:
    RAY-SUAREZ: Laura Reiff, do the businesses, that are your members, find what they need in this temporary worker program?
It is tedious to look for them. Google is unlikely to help much, as it ignores punctuation, which can be a clue for non-restrictive clauses.
Garner's refers to this as a less common error than the oft-proscribed use of which where that is preferred. DCDuring TALK 23:22, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree that finding something like this, if it exists, will be hard. I've just never noticed anyone saying it before, despite the fact that I always listen to how people use English. And I'm sure I've seen it said in the literature, just in passing as if it were uncontroversial, that the use in the non-restrictive context never occurs. But that, too, would be hard to track down.

As for your proposed examples, neither one works -- they are both examples of restrictive clauses.

Then, you need to construct the framework that responds to the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people, that are simultaneously the requirements of our international partners.

Since not all the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people are simultaneously the requirements of our international partners, the last "that" clause serves to narrow down which needs and aspirations are being referred to. The comma before the last "that", or the speaker's possible pause that may have induced it, is either not called for or is simply induced by the substantial length of the sentence.

Laura Reiff, do the businesses, that are your members, find what they need in this temporary worker program?

Since not all businesses are her organization's members, the "that" clause serves to narrow down which businesses are being referred to.

Perhaps the other examples you and Mglovesfun believe you've noticed in the past have been like these.

I'll try to find a valid example (though of course I'm skeptical that any such example exists). It's an interesting issue. But in the meantime, in the absence of empirical evidence of this usage, I propose that the disputed passage "In actual usage this prescription is not always followed" be deleted. That would be a compromise, as the remainder of the paragraph would still be describing something as a prescription rather than as both a prescription and a description. Duoduoduo 15:35, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

You are probably right about the Laura Rieff instance. I think your reading of the other one is possible, but not the most likely reading. I could understand an objection based on both being transcriptions of speech, with the comma indicating a spoken pause. Whether such a pause is a reliable indication of a nonrestrictive clause would be debatable. I understand that you must object to every possible counterexample as you have taken the extreme position that counterexamples never occur. What would constitute sufficient evidence or do you reserve the right to object to any example on whatever grounds? I still wouldn't mind seeing some contemporary authorities to support your position. DCDuring TALK 17:56, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
  • 2007, LORI JOHNSTON, “Rx for a doctor: Here are some tips for finding the right physician”, in Atlanta Journal Constitution, page 6K:
    Faster walk-in options, that are open late and on weekends as well, are increasing
  • 2006, Zemer, Lior1,2, “THE MAKING OF A NEW COPYRIGHT LOCKEAN.”, in Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, volume 29, number 3, page 891:
    As Locke asserts, # The Dominion of the great World of visible things. however managed by Art and Skill, reaches no farther, than to compound and divide the Materials, that are made to his Hand;
    [comma appears only in some editions]
  • 2005, w:Joyce Carol Oates, “So Help Me God”, in The Virginia Quarterly Review, volume 81, number 1, page 195:
    This is a part of New York State where the sky draws your attention. Not the mountains, that are mostly covered in trees, but the sky forces your eyes to lift
  • 2002, Scott Peterson, “Islamists escalate fight in N. Iraq”, in Christian Science Monitor:
    The massacre of the Kurdish fighters in Oct. 2001 was the event that "made everything clear to me," says the defector. "Now I believe Ansar made many mistakes, that are not part of Islam."
  • 2002, A. L. Evans; V. Evans, A. M. Evans, “HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (HBCUS).”, in Education, volume 123, number 1, page 3:
    Since HWCUs have greater endowments, they receive greater matching dollars for their endowed chairs, that are held by outstanding leaders, to raise the academic bar on their campuses.

Why impugn my motives? Ad hominem attacks are not a good debating style -- they make it look like one can't think of any real arguments. I am here to make Wiktionary as good as it can possibly be, and if that means being convinced to change my perception of things, then fine.

I said in my previous post that "I'll try to find a valid example (though of course I'm skeptical that any such example exists)." I just spent two hours yesterday afternoon in the library doing nothing but that -- looking (unsuccessfully) for counterexamples to support your position. Did you spend any time trying to find statements from authorities backing up my position? No, it's not that I must object to every possible counterexample on whatever grounds -- I must object to things that are mistakenly labeled as counterexamples. What would constitute sufficient evidence? -- a counterexample that does not narrow down the meaning of the noun.

Faster walk-in options, that are open late and on weekends as well, are increasing

Restrictive. Not all faster walk-ins are open late; the ones that are are increasing. compound and divide the Materials, that are made to his Hand

Restrictive. Without the relative clause, the scope of "the Materials" is unclear.

This is a part of New York State where the sky draws your attention. Not the mountains, that are mostly covered in trees, but the sky forces your eyes to lift

Excellent example.

"Now I believe Ansar made many mistakes, that are not part of Islam."

A non-restrictive reading requires one to interpret it as meaning that no mistakes are part of Islam, which may possibly have been the intent, though it seems to me to be a more natural reading that Ansar made many non-Islamic mistakes, a restrictive reading.

...they receive greater matching dollars for their endowed chairs, that are held by outstanding leaders....

Another excellent example.

I think the Joyce Carol Oates example in particular should be inserted in the entry, rather than just leaving the assertion unsupported. I still think it's pretty rare, though.

Do you stand by your assertion that "I understand that you must object to every possible counterexample"? Maybe an alternative way to look at it is that my raising the issue led to an unsupported assertion in the entry being given some justification. Duoduoduo 15:46, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry that I gave you the impression that I was impugning your motives. I was simply noting that the logic of the position you had been taking puts the burden of proof on me to find counterexamples. As even a single counterexample defeats the strong form of your position (which is one way of reading the usage note), defending such a position (strong form) requires defeating any example. But, as you know, there are always counterexamples. The counterexamples can be challenged on various grounds, including that they are simply errors or are exempt from normal practice under literary license. What I think the examples show is that "that" sometimes introduced phrases that are not restrictive, but rather descriptive. The punctuation, isolation by commas, is an indication or non-restrictiveness. To dismiss the punctuation requires a kind of inconsistency in analysis.
Of course, it is true that "that" is only used for restrictive clauses in careful writing and speech and in most other writing and speech and that most authorities seem to argue for the practice of using "that" only for such clauses. I didn't think any of these points are in dispute. I am happy to stipulate them explicitly. DCDuring TALK 16:40, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
"Now I believe Ansar made many mistakes, that are not part of Islam."
A non-restrictive reading requires one to interpret it as meaning that no mistakes are part of Islam, which may possibly have been the intent, though it seems to me to be a more natural reading that Ansar made many non-Islamic mistakes, a restrictive reading.
I think your reading is idiolectic, premised on an assumed meaning of "that". Your reading mightseems to imply that "Ansar made other mistakes that are an inherent part of Islam," which seems an unlikely reading. I believe that a more conventional reading is simply to substitute "which" for "that". This same substitution seems more plausible than the restrictive-clause reading that you insist on in the other cases you object to, even the Locke case, though the editors of many editions seem to agree with the restrictive-clause reading. DCDuring TALK 16:49, 15 October 2011 (UTC) Editing changes: 17:32, 15 October 2011 (UTC)


Is that a coordinating or subordinating conjuction (in the case of w:If It's Lovin' that You Want)? Or is it a preposition? Or is it neither? Ian Streeter (talk) 00:15, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it's a relative pronoun. Equinox 00:18, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, you've opened up a can of worms with this question. Either conjunction or pronoun. There is no difference, in loose terms, between subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns. There is a technical distinction, argued by some, which states "that" cannot be considered a pronoun because it does no function as other pronouns do. However, it a very contentious issue among grammarians. Indeed, in the book "Relative That": A Centennial Dispute, by Johan Van Der Auwera and published by the Cambridge University Press, the arguments for and against are both laid out and tested.—GrecoBomb (talk) 21:26, 18 May 2012 (UTC)


Definition 4 of conjunction 'that' is marked as archaic:

(archaic) Without any antecedent: so that.

From experience as a native English speaker in Australia, I believe that archaic is too strong a term because I do see the word in this meaning still in use occasionally. I would suggest (dated). Due to the fact it _is_ dated and uncommon, I as of yet do not have a source, I'll keep my eye out though. Davecw (talk) 04:11, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

1903 Century dictionary entry[edit]

The following is how the 1903 Century dictionary defined that. - -sche (discuss) 01:01, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

that (THat), pron. or a.; pl. those (THōz). [Also dial. thet; ‹ ME. that, thet, ‹ AS. thæt, that, the, = OS. that = OFries. thet, dat = MD. D. dat = MLG. dat, that, = OHG. MHG. G. das, the, = Icel. that, the, = Dan. det, the, = Sw. det, this, = Goth. thata, the; neut. of the demonst. pron. which came to be used as the def. art., AS. masc. se, fem, seô, neut. thæt, ME. and mod. E. in all genders, the; see further under the1. Hence that, conj. and adv.]

A. demonst. pron. or a.
1. Used as a definitive adjective before a noun, in various senses,
(a) Pointing to a person or thing present or as before mentioned or supposed to be understood, or used to designate a specific thing or person emphatically, having more force than the definite article the, which may, however, in some cases be substituted for it.
  • It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that city.   Mat. x. 15.
  • Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine.
    Shak., Venus and Adonis, 1.115.
  • David indeed, by suffering without just cause, learnt that meekness and that wisdom by adversity which made him much the fitter man to reigne.
    Milton, Eikonoklastes, xxvii.
  • That House of Commons that he could not make do for him would do to send him to the Tower till he was sober.
    Walpole, Letters, II. 8.
(b) Frequently in opposition to this, in which case it refers to one of two objects already mentioned, and often to the one more distant in place or time: frequently, however, mere contradistinction is implied: as, I will take this book, and you can take that one.
  • Of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her.
    Ps. lxxxvii. 5.
(c) Pointing not so much to persons and things as to their qualities, almost equivalent to such, or of such a nature, and occasionally followed by as or that as a correlative.
  • There cannot be / That vulture in you, to devour so many.
    Shak., Macbeth, iv. 3. 74.
  • Whose love was of that dignity / That it went hand in hand even with the vow.
    Shak., Hamlet, i. 5. 49.
  • Majesty never was vested to that degree in the Person of the King as not to be more conspicuous and more august in Parliament, as I have often shown.
    Milton, Ans. to Salmasius.
2. Used absolutely or without a noun as a demonstrative pronoun.
(a) To indicate a person or thing already referred to or implied, or specially pointed at or otherwise indicated, and having generally the same force and significance as when used as an adjective: as, give me that; do you see that?
  • Foretell new storms to those already spent
    Shak., Lucrece, 1.1589
  • What springal is that? ha!   Shirley, Love Tricks, ii. 1.
  • From hence forward be that which thine own brutish silence hath made thee.
    Milton, Church-Government, Pref., II.
  • She has that in her aspect against which it is Impossible to offend.
    Steele, Spectator, No. 118.
(b) In opposition to this, or by way of distinction.
  • If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that.
    Jas. iv. 15.
  • This is not fair; nor profitable that.
    Dryden, tr. of Persius's Satires, iv. 19.
  • A hundred and fifty odd projects took possession of his brain by turns — he would do this, and that, and t'other — he would go to Rome — he would go to law — he would buy stock — . . . he would new fore-front his house, and add a new wing to make it even.
    Sterne, Tristram Shandy, iv. 31.
When this and that refer to foregoing words, this, like the Latin hie or the French ceci, refers to the last mentioned, the latter, and that, like the Latin ille or the French cela, to the first mentioned, the former.
  • Self-love and reason to one end aspire, / Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire; / But greedy that its object would devour, / This taste the honey and not wound the flower.
    Pope, Essay on Man, ii. 88.
In all the above cases, that, when referring to a plural noun, takes the plural form those: as, that man, those men; give me that, give me those; and so on.
(c) To represent a sentence or part of a sentence, or a series of sentences.
  • And when Moses heard that, he was content.   Lev. x. 20.
[That here stands for the whole of what Aaron had said, or the whole of the preceding verse.]
  • I'll know your business, Harry, that I will.
    Shak., 1 Hen. IV., ii. 3. 83.
  • Upon my conscience, / The man is truly honest, and that kills him.
    Fletcher, Valentinian, iv. 3.
  • If the Laymen will not come, whose fault is that?
    Selden, Table-Talk, p. 37.
  • Certain or uncertain, be that upon the credit of those whom I must follow.
    Milton, Hist. Eng., 1.
  • They say he's leam'd as well as discreet, but I'm no judge of that.
    Steele, Lying Lover, i. 1.
  • You are a foolish bribble-brabble woman, that you are.
    Sir R. Howard, The Committee, iii. 1.
  • Yet there still prevails, and that too amongst men who plume themselves on their liberality, no small amount of the feeling which Milton combated in his celebrated essay.
    H. Spencer, Social Statics, p. 167.
That sometimes in this use precedes the sentence or clause to which it refers.
  • That be far from thee, to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked.
    Gen. xviii. 25.
That here represents the clause in italics. It is used also as the substitute for an adjective: as, you allege that the man is innocent; that he is not. Similarly, it is often used to introduce an explanation of something going before: as, "religion consists in living up to those principles — that is, in acting in conformity to them."
(d) Emphatically, in phrases expressive of approbation, applause, or encouragement.
  • Why, thatʼs my dainty Ariel!   Shak., Tempest, v. 1. 95.
  • Thatʼs my good son!   Shak., R. and J., ii. 3. 47.
  • Hengo. I have out-brav'd Hunger. / Cor. Thatʼs my boy, my sweet boy!
    Fletcher, Bonduca, iv. 2.
(e) As the antecedent of a relative: as, that which was spoken.
  • And die, unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot / With your uncleanness that which is divine.
    Shak., Lucrece, l 193.
(f) By the omission of the relative, that formerly sometimes acquired the force of what or that which.
  • Thogh it happen me rehercen eft / That ye han in youre fresshe songes sayd.
    Chaucer, Good Women, 1. 79.
  • We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.
    John iii. 11.
  • The good of my Countrey is that I seeke.
    Capt. John Smith, Works, II. 179.
(g) With of, to avoid repetition of a preceding noun : as, his opinions and those of the others.
  • I would desire my female readers to consider that, as the term of life is short, that of beauty is much shorter.
    Addison, Spectator, No. 89.
(h) With and, to avoid repetition of a preceding statement.
  • God shall help her, and that right early.   Ps. xlvi. 5.
And all that. See all. — That present. See present1. — That time. See time1. — To put this and that together. See put1.
B. rel. pron. Used for who or which. That in this use is never used with a preposition preceding it, but may be so used when the preposition is transposed to the end of the clause: thus, the man of whom I spoke, the book from which I read, the spot near which he stood, the pay for which he works; but not the man of that I spoke, etc., though one may say, the man that I spoke of, the book that I read from, the place that' he stood near, the pay that he works for, and so on. When the relative clause conveys an additional idea or statement, or is parenthetical, who and which are in modern English rather to be used than that: thus, "James, whom I saw yesterday, told me," but not "James that, etc." That more often introduces a restrictive or definitive clause, but who and which are frequently used in the same way. See who.
  • Lord God, that lens ay lastand light, / This is a ferly fare to feele.   York Plays, p. 58.
  • Treuli, treuli, Y seye to you, the sone may not of hym silf do ony thing, but that thing that he seeth the fadir doynge.   Wyclif, John v. 19.
  • This holi child seynt Johun, / That baptisid oure lord in [] Jordon / With ful deuout & good deuocioun.
    Hymns to Virgin, etc. (E. E. T. S.), p. 56.
  • And Guthlake, that was King of Denmarke then, / Provided with a navie mee forlead.
    Mir. for Mags., 1.184.
  • If I have aught / That may content thee, take it, and begone.
    Beau. and Fl., Maid's Tragedy, v. 4.
  • He that was your conduct / From Milan.   Shirley, Grateful Servant, i. 2.
  • You shall come with me to Tower Hill, and see Mrs. Quilp that is, directly.
    Dickens, Old Curiosity Shop, vi.
In the following extract that, who, and which are used without any perceptible difference.
  • Sometime like apes, that mow and chatter at me
  • And after bite me, then like hedgehogs, which
  • Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount
  • Their pricks at my footfall, sometime am I
  • All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues
  • Do hiss me into maduess.   Shak., Tempest, ii. 2. 10.
With the use of that as a relative are to be classed those cases in which it is used as a correlative to so or such.
  • Who's so gross, / That seeth not this palpable device?
    Shak., Rich. III., III. 6. 11.
  • Who so firm that cannot he seduced?
    Shak., J. C., i. 2. 316.
  • Such allow'd infirmities that honesty / Is never free of.
    Shak., W. T., i 2. 263.
That as a demonstrative and that as a relative pronoun sometimes occur close together, but this use is now hardly approved.
  • That that is determined shall be done.   Dan. xi. 36.
  • That that is is. &nsp; Shak., T. N., iv. 2. 17.
  • But for the practical part, it is that that makes an angler: it is diligence, and observation, and patience, and an ambition to be the best in the art, that must do it.
    I. Walton, Complete Angler, p. 191.
Frequently used in Chaucer for the definite article, before one or other, usually when the two words are put in contrast.
  • That on me hette, that othir dede me colde.
    Chaucer, Parliament of Fowls, 1. 145.
That . . . he† = who; that ... his (or her)† = whose; that . . . him† = whom; that . . . they† = who; which that† = whom.
  • My hertes Ioie, all myn hole plesaunce,
  • Whiche that y same, and schall do faithfully
  • With treue Entente.
    Political Poems, etc. (ed. Furnivall), p. 40.
  • A Knight ther was, and that a worthy man.
  • That fro the tyme that he first bigan
  • To ryden out, he loved chivalrye.
    Chaucer, Gen. Prol. to C. T., l. 44.
  • Now fele I wel the goodnesse of this wyf,
  • That bothe after her deeth and in her lyf
  • Her grete bountee doubleth her renoun.
    Chaucer, Good Women, I. 521.
  • This man to you may falsly been accused,
  • That as by right 'him oghte been excused.
    Chaucer, Good Women, 1. 351.
(That came in during the twelfth century to supply the place of the indeclinable relative the, and in the fourteenth century it is the ordinary relative. In the sixteenth century, which often supplies its place; in the seventeenth century, who replaces it. About Addison's time, that had again come into fashion, and had almost driven which and who out of use.
Morris, Historical Outlines of Eng. Accidence, p. 132.)

that (THat), conj. [‹ ME. that, thet, ‹ AS. that = D. dat = OHG. MHG. daz, G. dass = Goth. thata, that; orig. the neut. pron. or adj. that used practically as a def. article qualifying the whole sentence: see that, pron.]

1. Introducing a reason: in that; because.
  • Thus I speak, not that I would have it so; but to your shame.
    Latimer, Sermon of the Plough.
  • Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.
    Shak., J. C, iii. 2. 23.
  • Streams of grief / That I have wrong'd thee, and as much of Joy / That I repent it, issue from mine eyes.
    Beau, and Fl., Philaster, v. 5.
  • It is not that I love you less / Than when before your feet I lay.
    Waller, The Self-Banished.
  • Weep not that the world changes.   Bryant, Mutation.
2. Introducing an object or final end or purpose: equivalent to the phrases in order that, for the purpose that, to the effect that.
  • Treat it kindly, that it may / Wish at least with us to stay.
    Cowley, The Epicure, 1. 9.
  • The life-blood of the slain / Poured out where thousands die that one may reign.
    Bryant, Christmas in 1875.
3. Introducing a result or consequence.
  • The buerne, with his bare sword, bere hym to dethe, / That he felle of his fole flat to the ground!
    Destruction of Troy (E. E. T. S.), 1. 6451.
  • I neuer heard the olde song of Percy and Duglas that I found not my heart mooued more then with a Trumpet.
    Sir P. Sidney, Apol. for Poetrie.
  • Learning hath that wonderfull power in it selfe that it can soften and temper the most Sterne and savage nature.
    Spenser, State of Ireland.
  • Is cheating grown so common among men, / And thrives so well here, that the gods endeavour / To practise it above?
    Beau. and Fl., Thierry and Theodoret, iv. 2.
  • What have I done / Dishonestly in my whole life, name it, / That you should put so base a business to me?
    Beau. and Fl., King and No King, III. 8.
  • I knew him to be so honest a man that I could not reject his proposal.
    Swift, Gulliver's Travels, iii. 1.
4. Introducing a clause as the subject or object of the principal verb, or as a necessary complement to a statement made.
  • 'Tis a causeless fantasy, / And childish error, that they are afraid.
    Shak., Venus and Adonis, 1. 898.
  • You gave consent that, to defeat my brother, I should take any course.
    Fletcher, Spanish Curate, iv. 1.
  • This is most certain, that the king was ever friendly to the Irish Papists.
    Milton, Eikonoklastes, xii.
  • The Naragansett men told us after that thirteen of the Pequods were killed, and forty wounded.
    Winthrop, Hist. New England, I. 233.
  • I have shewed before that a mere possibility to the contrary can by no means hinder a thing from being highly credible.
    Bp. Wilkins.
  • It is a very common expression that such a one is very good-natured, but very passionate.
    Steele, Spectator, No. 438.
  • The current opinion prevails that the study of Greek and Latin is loss of time.
    Swift, Modern Education.
5. Seeing; since; inasmuch as.
  • There is something in the wind, that we cannot get in.
    Shak., C. of E., iii. i. 69.
  • Where is my father, that you come without him?
    Beau. and Fl., Laws of Candy, ii. 1.
6. Formerly often used after a preposition, introducing a noun-clause as the object of the preposition: as, before that he came, after that they had gone, etc., where at present the that is omitted and the preposition has become a conjunction; also, by mistaken analogy with such cases, that was occasionally added after real conjunctions, as when that, where that.
  • Go, litil bill, and say thoue were with me / This same day at myne vp-Rysainge, / Where that y be-sought god of merci / Tho to haue my souerein in his kepeing.
    Political Poems, etc. (ed. Furnivall), p. 40.
  • After that things are set in order here, / We'll follow them.
    Shak., 1 Hen. VI., ii. 2. 32.
  • Take my soul . . . / Before that England give the French the foil.
    Shak., 1 Hen. VI., v. 3. 23.
  • What would you with her if that I be she?
    Shak., T. G. of V., iv. 4. 115.
  • Since that my case is past the help of law.
    Shak., Lucrece, 1. 1022.
  • When that mine eye is famish'd for a look.
    Shak., Sonnets, xlvii.
7. Sometimes used in place of another conjunction, in repetition. [A Gallicism.]
  • Albeit Nature doth now and then . . . commit some errors, and that sometimes the things shee formeth haue too much, and sometimes too little, yet deliuereth she nothing broken or disseuered.
    Verstegan, Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (ed. 1628), p. 98.
8. Used elliptically to introduce a sentence or clause expressive of surprise, indignation, or some kindred emotion.
  • That a brother should / Be so perfidious!
    Shak., Tempest, i. 2. 67.
  • O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!
    Shak., Othello, ii. 3. 291.
9. Used as an optative particle, or to introduce a phrase expressing a wish: would that: usually with O!
  • O, that you bore / The mind that I do!
    Shak., Tempest, II. 1. 207.
  • This was the very first suit at law that ever I had with any creature, and O that it might be the last!
    Evelyn, Diary, May 26, 1671.
For that1. See for. — In that. See in1. — Now that. See now. — So that. See so1. — Though that1. See though.

that (THat), adv. [‹ that, pron. or a.; abbr. of such phrases as to that extent, to that degree.]

To that extent; to that degree; to such a degree; so: as, I did not go that far; I did not care that much about it: the comparison being with something previously said or implied, as in the preceding examples: used colloquially to express emphasis. A similar Scotch uso of the word, following a negative, corresponds to the Latin ita (as in Cicero's non ita multi): as, no that bad; nae that far awa'.
  • Ye think my muse nae that ill-faurd.
    Skinner, Misc. Poetry, p. 109. (Jamieson.)
  • This was carried with that little noise that for a good space the vigilant Bishop was not awak'd with it.
    Bp. Hacket, Abp. Williams, ii. 67. (Davies.)
  • Death! To die! I owe that much / To what, at least, I was.
    Browning, Paracelsus, iv.
  • Women were there, . . . because Mr. Elsmere had been "that good" to them that anything they could do to oblige him "they would, and welcome."
    Mrs. Humphry Ward, Robert Elsmere, xlix.

Divergence between conjunction and all other roles?[edit]

Hello. In my dialect "that" as a conjunction is *always* pronounced as ðɛt even when unstressed, and "that" in all other usages is always pronounced as "ðæt" indicated on this page. I'm American, but I don't know what particular regions make this distinction persistently, which makes me hesitant to add the pronunciation and note.

My dialect is a mix of North-Western New England according to with Southwestern New England according to .

1) Should this page indicate anything like this?

2) If it does, should the distinction be noted as regional, or does it happen in other places as well?

Funny note, just for conversation's sake. This bothers me from time to time because it makes it difficult for me to write unambiguously to ESLs with incomplete intuitive grasps on English grammar, so I make the joke that "I wish it were spelled as 'thet' when I use it like this" to help them remember that it can use used to nest clauses. 18:00, 26 September 2015 (UTC)