5 Grammatical Functions of the word, “that”

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Here are five basic functions the word “that” may perform in a sentence.

1. Subordinating conjunction, introducing a relative/adjectival clause

Two examples:

  • Many bloggers that I know are wonderful people.
  • That’s the bird that flew into our office.

2. Subordinating conjunction, introducing a noun/nominal clause

Two examples:

  • I believe that everyone has something great to offer the world.
  • That she’s a good woman has never been in doubt.

3. Determiner/ Adjective, qualifying a noun within a noun phrase

Two examples:

  • That auto-mechanic nearly destroyed my car’s engine.
  • She says she cannot tolerate that behaviour.

4. Pronoun, functioning as subject or object in a sentence

Four examples:

  • That was all I said. (subject)
  • That means a lot. (subject)
  • How am I supposed to know that? (object)
  • Johnson brought that. (object)

5. Adverbial/Intensifier, modifying an adjective

Two examples:

  • Was it that serious?
  • How can you be that stupid?

Thank you!

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About Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph is a professional blogger, founder and CEO of RN Digital Media Ent. He spends his day working as an online entrepreneur, e-learning strategist and a test prep coach. If you can't locate him anywhere on the web, just doing what he knows how to do best, check him out on his farm or in the kitchen. He lives with four cats in the Central Region of his native country, Ghana.

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