Idioms about that
- in spite of something; nevertheless: Although perhaps too elaborate, it seemed like a good plan at that.
- in addition; besides: It was a long wait, and an exasperating one at that.
Origin of that
grammar notes for that
The relative pronoun that is sometimes omitted. Its omission as a subject is usually considered nonstandard, but the construction is heard occasionally even from educated speakers: A fellow ( that ) lives near here takes people rafting. Most often it is as an object that the relative pronoun is omitted. The omission almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or a proper name: The mechanic ( that ) we take our car to is very competent. The films ( that ) Chaplin made have become classics. The omission of the relative pronoun as in the two preceding examples is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.
13. The conjunction that, which introduces a noun clause, is, like the relative pronoun that, sometimes omitted, often after verbs of thinking, saying, believing, etc.: She said ( that ) they would come in separate cars. He dismissed the idea ( that ) he was being followed. As with the omission of the relative pronoun, the omission of the conjunction almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or with a proper name. This omission of the conjunction that occurs most frequently in informal speech and writing, but it is a stylistic option often chosen in more formal speech and writing.
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH thatthat , which (see grammar note at the current entry)
Words nearby that
THAT VS. WHICH
What’s the difference between that and which?
That and which are used in very similar ways (especially to introduce clauses that refer back to an earlier part), but there is often a key difference.
Before we get into the grammar, let’s take a look at two similar sentences, one using that and one using which.
I wrote about my favorite movie that was released in 1994.
I wrote about my favorite movie, which was released in 1994.
Both sentences are about a movie. But there’s a difference in what’s being communicated.
In the first sentence (the one using that), the speaker is indicating that the movie they wrote about is their favorite movie released in 1994—not necessarily their favorite movie in general.
In the second sentence (the one using which), the speaker is saying that the movie is their favorite in general, while also mentioning that it was released in 1994. In this sentence, you could take away the part that starts with which and the sentence would retain the same basic meaning.
But that’s not true of the first sentence—taking away that was released in 1994 would alter the meaning of the sentence.
That’s because that was released in 1994 is what’s called a restrictive clause, which is a part of a sentence that provides essential information about the part before it. A restrictive clause can’t be removed without changing the essential meaning of the sentence.
The second sentence (the one using which), ends in a nonrestrictive clause, which provides nonessential information—information that can be removed without altering the main message of the sentence. Usually, nonrestrictive clauses are marked off by commas (or em dashes). Think of a nonrestrictive clause as an aside—additional information mentioned along the way.
This grammatical distinction between that and which is largely used in formal American English. In informal speech, it is very common to use that and which interchangeably. And sometimes the difference in what they convey is very subtle or practically nonexistent.
Still, when used in clauses like the ones in our examples, which is usually preceded by a comma, but that is not.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between that and which.
Quiz yourself on that vs. which!
Should that or which be used in the following sentence?
The cat ____ I saw yesterday has come back.
How to use that in a sentence
I am tickled to see that pundittracker.com has named me one of three finalists for best political prediction of 2012.The Tiresias of Punditry|Michael Tomasky|December 6, 2012|DAILY BEAST
True, it can be fun to know that this-or-that athlete is Jewish.Redeeming 'Jewish Jocks'|Spencer Ackerman|October 31, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Should you suggest something inspired or adventurous, many chefs will demur and revert to their been-there, drank-that pairing.The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine: Perfect Pairings|David Lincoln Ross|January 6, 2012|DAILY BEAST
From Moscow to deepest Siberia, subversive artists are provoking the powers-that-be.Russian Artists Mock Putin|Anna Nemtsova|August 4, 2011|DAILY BEAST
Is this year's Sundance sales frenzy a direct result of last year's little-movie-that-could?The 'Winter's Bone' Effect|Nicole LaPorte|January 29, 2011|DAILY BEAST
"Buy something for your wife that-is-to-be," he said to his grand-nephew, as he handed him the folded paper.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
And whilst I was stretched out that-a-way, Mace come clost and give me her hand.Alec Lloyd, Cowpuncher|Eleanor Gates
"T-that's why," stuttered Cordelia, smiling through tear-wet eyes.The Sunbridge Girls at Six Star Ranch|Eleanor H. (Eleanor Hodgman) Porter
"You oughtn't to slip up an' s-startle a lady that-a-way," she said with grave rebuke, and Hale looked humbled.The Trail of the Lonesome Pine|John Fox, Jr.
For marriage is like life in this-that it is a field of battle, and not a bed of roses.The Pocket R.L.S.|Robert Louis Stevenson
British Dictionary definitions for that
- used preceding a noun that has been mentioned at some time or is understoodthat idea of yours
- (as pronoun)don't eat that; that's what I mean
- used preceding a noun that denotes something more remote or removedthat dress is cheaper than this one; that building over there is for sale
- (as pronoun)that is John and this is his wife; give me that Compare this
- with ease; effortlesslyhe gave me the answer just like that
- of such a nature, character, etche paid for all our tickets — he's like that
- to be precise
- in other words
- for example
Word Origin for that
usage for that
Other Idioms and Phrases with that
In addition to the idioms beginning with that
- that ain't hay
- that does it
- that is
- that makes two of us
- that will do
- all's well that ends well
- all that
- all that glitters is not gold
- and all (that)
- as far as that goes
- at that point
- at this (that) rate
- at this (that) stage
- be that as it may
- bite the hand that feeds you
- cross a (that) bridge
- for that matter
- game that two can play
- how about that
- how does that grab you
- how's that
- in order (that)
- in that
- is that a fact
- it (that) figures
- just like that
- just the (that's the) ticket
- last straw (that breaks)
- like that
- look like the cat that ate the canary
- not all that
- not built that way
- now that
- on condition that
- on the chance (that)
- powers that be
- put that in your pipe
- seeing that
- ships that pass in the night
- so that
- suffice it to say that
- tear (that tears) it
- this and that
- to that effect
- when it comes to (that)
- would that
- you can say that again