that (ðæt; unstressed ðət)
pron.andadj., pl. those;
adv. ; conj. pron.
1. (used to indicate a person or thing as pointed out or present, mentioned before, supposed to be understood, or by way of emphasis): That is her mother.
(used to indicate one of two or more persons or things already mentioned, referring to the one more remote in place, time, or thought; opposed to this
): This is my sister and that's my cousin.
(used to indicate one of two or more persons or things already mentioned, implying a contrast or contradistinction; opposed to this
): This suit fits better than that.
4. (used as the subject or object of a relative clause, esp. one defining or restricting the antecedent, sometimes replaceable by who, whom, or which): the horse that he bought.
5. (used as the object of a preposition, the preposition standing at the end of a relative clause): the farm that I spoke of.
6. (used in various special or elliptical constructions): fool that he is. adj.
7. (used to indicate a person, place, thing, or degree as indicated, mentioned before, present, or as well-known or characteristic): That woman is her mother.
(used to indicate the more remote in time, place, or thought of two persons or things already mentioned; opposed to this
): This room is his and that one is mine.
(used to imply mere contradistinction; opposed to this
): not this house, but that one.
10. (used with adjectives and adverbs of quantity or extent) to the extent or degree indicated: Don't take that much.
11. to a great extent or degree: It's not that important.
12. Dial. (used to modify an adjective or another adverb) to such an extent: He was that weak he could hardly stand. conj.
13. (used to introduce a subordinate clause as the subject or object of the principal verb or as the necessary complement to a statement made, or a clause expressing cause or reason, purpose or aim, result or consequence, etc.): I'm sure that you'll like it. That he will come is certain.
14. (used elliptically to introduce an exclamation expressing desire, indignation, or other strong feeling): Oh, that I had never been born! Idioms:
1. at that,
b. in addition; besides.
2. that is, to be more accurate: I read the book, that is, I read most of it.
3. that's that, Informal. there is no more to be said or done: I'm not going, and that's that!
4. with that, following that; thereupon.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English thæt (pronoun, adj., adv. and conjunction), orig., neuter of sē the, c. Old Frisian thet, Old Saxon, Old Norse that, Old High German daz, Greek tó, Skt tad]
introduces a relative clause, the clause is usu. restrictive, that is, essential to the complete meaning of the sentence. In The keys that I lost last month have been found
, the keys referred to are a particular set. Without the that
clause, the sentence The keys have been found
would be vague and probably puzzling. that
is used to refer to animate and inanimate nouns and thus can substitute in most uses for who(m)
and which: Many of the workers that
) built the pyramids died while working. The negotiator made an offer that
) was very attractive to the union.
―The relative pronoun that
is sometimes omitted. Its omission as a subject is usu. considered nonstandard, but the construction is heard occasionally even from educated speakers: A fellow
) 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 usage in the following examples is standard in all varieties of speech and writing: The mechanic (that) we take our car to is very reliable. The films (that) Chaplin made have become classics.
―The conjunction that
is sometimes omitted, often after verbs of thinking, saying, believing, etc.: She said (that) they would come in separate cars.
This omission almost always occurs when the dependent clause begins with a personal pronoun or a proper name and is most frequent in informal speech and writing. See also which.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
That and those are used in different ways when you are referring to people, things, events, or periods of time. They can both be determiners or pronouns. In this use, that is pronounced /ðæt/. Those is the plural form of that.
1. referring back
You can use that or those to refer to people, things, or events that have already been mentioned or that are already known about.
I knew that meeting would be difficult.
'Did you see him?' 'No.' 'That's a pity.'
Not all crimes are committed for those reasons.
There are still a few problems with the software, but we're working hard to remove those.
2. things you can see
You can also use that or those to refer to people or things that you can see but that are not close to you.
Look at that bird!
Don't be afraid of those people.
3. 'that', referring to a person
However, you don't usually use that as a pronoun to refer to a person. You only use it when you are identifying someone or asking about their identity.
'Who's the woman in the red dress?' 'That's my wife.'
4. saying when something happened
When you have been describing an event, you can use that with a word like day, morning, or afternoon to say that something else happened during the same day.
There were no classes that day.
Paula had been shopping that morning.
You can also use that with week, month, or year to show that something happened during the same week, month, or year.
There was a lot of extra work to do that week.
Later that month they attended another party at Maidenhead.
5. 'this' and 'these'
This and these are used in some similar ways to that and those.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012