Write On! 12-1-22

Write On! 12-1-22

Posted on December 1, 2022

That isn’t a bad word.

Let’s talk about ‘that.’ It is one of the words that is used the most in writing. We tend to use ‘that’ without thinking. It is such a common word that it gets overlooked and read without further thought. 

‘That’ is a word easily read, easily dismissed, and missed in our writing process.

But ‘that’ is not a bad word. In fact, when ‘that,’ is used to directly reference an event, or phrase, it is correct. 

For example:

“I don’t know why he was so angry that day.”

This use of ‘that’ is referencing a specific day the speaker is referring to. In this instance it can be all right to use.

Let’s look at another:

“I study the woman that is writing in the corner of the library.”

If you guessed ‘that’ should be ‘who,’ you are correct. In this instance, the woman is a person to what ‘that’ is referring.

When referring to animals without names, or an inanimate object, use that. When referring to humans or animals with names, use who.

I once used ‘that’ 639 times in a 71k word manuscript. When I went through my edits, I cut it down to 79.

Now that’s progress!

In Word, click on ‘find,’ and a side bar will load. Type in the word ‘that’ and it will tell you how many times you’ve used it in your document. From there, use the down and up arrow keys, or click on the text to bring you to the sentence, and re-read it. 

Can ‘that’ be substituted for another word? Could you re-write your whole sentence?

Thank you for reading and…

Write On!

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