Friday, December 21, 2007

Overusing "That"

Yesterday I saw a very interesting post over at Dwight's Writing Manifesto called Drat That. It's a post about the perils of overusing/misusing the word "that," something I definitely tend to do. Thanks to his handy pointers, I'll definitely be looking out for that in my writing in the future. Thanks, Dwight!


Rachel V. Olivier said...

I never thought about "that" as a stumbling word before. I'll have to pay more attention.


Well - wanted to drop by and wish you a Merry Yule and Happy New Year!

Happy writing in the new year!

Christopher M. Park said...

Yes, that's been a subtle issue that caused me to mentally stumble before, but I never quite thought about it in depth.

And thanks for the holiday wishes -- same to you! I hope you have a great Christmas and New Years, and find them both relaxing and invigorating.

Stephen Parrish said...

Merry Christmas, Chris! Put your feet up for a day or two; computer techno nerd geeks need time off too, you know.

Christopher M. Park said...

Thanks, Stephen! Merry Christmas to you, too!

And I don't know about anyone else, but I'm off until January 2, so I'm planning on plenty of relaxation -- but also some writing, when I can sneak it in. Probably not in the next few days, though!

Hope you're having a great holiday season there in Germany. I bet you have a much better chance of a white Christmas than we do here in NC.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christopher. Just want to say "hi!" We've met, via Anne Mini's blog, and I checked yours out. I've got to quit adding to the list of websites and blogs I check on a regular basis. I seem to spend all my time doing that, rather than writing. (Oops, I used "that," but hopefully in a correct way. In trying to duplicate some of the British speech patterns in my stories, I sometimes switch "what" and "that." It can drive the grammer checker nuts. Which just might be the real reason I do it. (It also goes nuts with words that are normally verbs used as nouns!)
Merry Christmas! (We might have a "white one" here in Spokane.) Happy New Year as well.

Stephen Parrish said...

I forgot to tell you: your subtitle ("Now every shadow . . .") is very catchy. If it's a first line (from Alden Ridge, I assume), it works.

Christopher M. Park said...

Hi Dave (McChesney, I presume),
Thanks for stopping by on my blog! Sorry for the delayed response here, but it's been a very busy holiday season for me -- good, but not a lot of time spent at home.

I've certainly seen the inversions of "what" and "that," and it seems like a valid thing to do (though I don't personally do it). Of course, your use of "that" as a direct object was fine, so far as I know -- I believe it's mostly when it is used as a connector that it can be unnecessary (or an article of sorts, I suppose -- if I had written "I believe that it's" in the sentence above, that should have been trimmed). But I'm no real expert on this subject at all, so take my advice with a grain of salt!

Happy New Year!

Christopher M. Park said...

Thanks, Stephen! It's actually not a first line at all, though maybe it should be. It's just an evocative line from the second chapter of Alden Ridge, which I thought would make a fitting/interesting subtitle. Thanks for mentioning that!