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Is there any reason for the “that” in the following sentence?

I thought that the day was warm. vs. I thought the day was warm.

  • September 26, 2005
  • Posted by mike
  • Filed in Grammar

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I can't give you a specific rule, but from the way it sounds, I think using that is a little redundant and unneeded. You're using "that" to show what you thought. But you've already told us you thought. So you don't need to include a word, which means what you've already written. Just say, "I thought the day was warm." When in doubt, use the shortest sentence that makes sense. I hope I helped.

Rhen September 26, 2005, 4:08pm

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when you say, "I thought that . . ." you're indicating a specific instance of thought that you have previously catagorized in your mind, whereas "I thought . . ." is indicating that you had a general idea or feeling of the day being warm.

barble September 26, 2005, 6:16pm

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when you say "i thought that the day was warm" vs. "thought the day was warm" , the senctence whit the that is seemingly more specific. like you had a clearer idea that is was warm, rather than just saying "i though the day was warm" , which is more vague nad like, oh was warm...heh yeah thats what i think, im jsut an 8th grader...:)

redemholcomb September 26, 2005, 6:56pm

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"That" is implying a previous thought.

You can't say "I thunk" or "I thoughted".

"Thought that" is past tense.

I'm not sure though.

(And I'm not the same Mike)

Mike 2 September 27, 2005, 3:29pm

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In your example without the "that", a "that" is understood. You are building a complex sentence with an adverbial clause, and "that" acts as the conjunction. Note the two separate clauses, each with a subject and predicate:

"I thought" + that + "the day was warm"

When you eliminate the "that" from the sentence, there is no conjunction, but the two clauses remain. As a result, the conjunction is understood, much like "you" is understood to be the subject of imperative sentences ("Go get the ball." => "You go get the ball.").

chris.sigler September 28, 2005, 3:25am

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It's superfluous in English but quite necessary in Latinate languages, from which many grammarians take their language cues.

Another common "rule of grammar" is to never end a sentence in a preposition. Why? Well, because in Latin, if one did this, the sentence wouldn't make any sense. However, since English is a lovely bastard language of Germanic origins with Latinate overtones, one CAN end a sentence in a preposition and be understood perfectly well.

If you want to be more germanic, leave out 'that'. If you want to be more latinate, keep it.

ladyjane September 28, 2005, 6:36am

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Thanks guys!

mike September 28, 2005, 6:23pm

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The use of "that" often makes the meaning of a sentence (especially a long sentence) clearer.

Chris February 17, 2006, 11:07pm

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Yes     No