pron. pl. those,
a. Used to refer to the one designated, implied, mentioned, or understood: What kind of soup is that?
b. Used to refer to the one, thing, or type specified as follows: The relics found were those of an earlier time.
c. Used to refer to the event, action, or time just mentioned: After that, he became a recluse.
- Used to indicate the farther or less immediate one: That is for sale; this is not.
- Used to emphasize the idea of a previously expressed word or phrase: He was fed up, and that to a great degree.
- The one, kind, or thing; something: She followed the calling of that which she loved.
- those Used to indicate an unspecified number of people: those who refused to join.
- Used as a relative pronoun to introduce a clause, especially a restrictive clause: the car that has the flat tire.
a. In, on, by, or with which: each summer that the concerts are performed.
b. According to what; insofar as: He never knew her, that I know of.
adjective pl. those
- Being the one singled out, implied, or understood: that place; those mountains.
- Being the one further removed or less obvious: That route is shorter than this one.
- To such an extent or degree: Is your problem that complicated?
- To a high degree; very: didn't take what he said that seriously.
- Used to introduce a noun clause that is usually the subject or object of a verb or a predicate nominative: “That contemporary American English is exuberantly vigorous is undeniable” ( William Arrowsmith )
- Used to introduce a subordinate clause stating a result, wish, purpose, reason, or cause: She hoped that he would arrive on time. He was saddened that she felt so little for him.
a. Used to introduce an anticipated subordinate clause following the expletive it occurring as subject of the verb: It is true that dental work is expensive.
b. Used to introduce a subordinate clause modifying an adverb or adverbial expression: will go anywhere that they are welcome.
c. Used to introduce a subordinate clause that is joined to an adjective or noun as a complement: was sure that she was right; persists in the belief that rates will rise soon.
- Used to introduce an elliptical exclamation of desire: Oh, that I were rich!
Origin of that
Middle English from
Old English thæt
; see to-
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: The standard rule requires that that should be used only to introduce a restrictive (or defining) relative clause, which identifies the entity being talked about; in this use it should never be preceded by a comma. Thus, in the sentence The house that Jack built has been torn down, the clause that Jack built is a restrictive clause identifying the specific house that was torn down. Similarly, in I am looking for a book that is easy to read, the restrictive clause that is easy to read tells what kind of book is desired. A related rule stipulates that which should be used with nonrestrictive (or nondefining) clauses, which give additional information about an entity that has already been identified in the context; in this use, which is always preceded by a comma. Thus, we say The students in Chemistry 101 have been complaining about the textbook, which (not that ) is hard to follow. The clause which is hard to follow is nonrestrictive in that it does not indicate which text is being complained about; even if the clause were omitted, we would know that the phrase the textbook refers to the text in Chemistry 101. • Some people extend the rule and insist that, just as that should be used only in restrictive clauses, which should be used only in nonrestrictive clauses. By this thinking, which should be avoided in sentences such as I need a book which will tell me all about city gardening, where the restrictive clause which will tell me all about city gardening indicates which sort of book is needed. But this use of which with restrictive clauses is very common, even in edited prose. Moreover, in some situations which is preferable to that. Which can be especially useful where two or more relative clauses are joined by and or or : It is a philosophy in which ordinary people may find solace and which many have found reason to praise. Which may also be preferable when introducing a restrictive clause modifying a preceding phrase that contains that : We want to assign only that material which will be most helpful. • That can often be omitted in a relative clause when the subject of the clause is different from the word or phrase the clause refers to. Thus, one can say either the book that I was reading or the book I was reading. That can also be dropped when it introduces a subordinate clause: I think we should try again. That should be retained, however, when the subordinate clause begins with an adverbial phrase or anything other than the subject: She said that under no circumstances would she allow us to skip the meeting. The book argues that eventually the housing supply will increase. This last sentence would be ambiguous if that were omitted, since the adverb eventually could then be construed as modifying either argues or will increase. • There is a widespread belief, sometimes taught as correct usage, that only who and not that should be used to introduce a restrictive relative clause identifying a person. But that has been used in this way for centuries, going back to the Old English period, and has been used by the finest writers in English, as in “The man that once did sell the lion's skin / While the beast liv'd, was kill'd with hunting him” Shakespeare and “Scatter thou the people that delight in war” King James BibleIn contemporary usage, who predominates in such contexts, but that is used with sufficient frequency to be considered standard, as in “The atoms in a diamond … outnumber all the people that have ever lived or ever will” Richard Dawkins That also occurs idiomatically in reference to groups (where who would sound peculiar), as in “[She] had two sons, and settled into raising a family that soon included twin daughters” David Freeman See Usage Note at doubt. See Usage Note at this. See Usage Note at whatever. See Usage Note at which. See Usage Note at who.
- 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.
- (archaic) Introducing a hypothetical fact or supposition: "˜given that', "˜as would appear from the fact that'. [from 11th c.]
- With antecedent so or such: introducing the result of the main clause. [from 11th c.]
- (archaic) Without any antecedent: so that. [from 12th c.]
- 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 relative pronouns. 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.
- 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.
- (demonstrative) That thing or person. [from 9th c.]
- (demonstrative) That aforementioned quality.
- The water is so cold! "” That it is.
- (relative) Which, who. [from 9th c.]
- 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" (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.
- (degree) To a given extent or degree; particularly.
- I'm just not that sick.
- (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.
- (philosophy) Something being indicated that is there; one of those.
From Old English Ã¾Ã¦t (neuter relative pronoun, definite article), from Proto-Germanic *Ã¾at. Compare Dutch dat, German das.