Years ago, when I was writing magazine articles the editors would often send a style guide for their publications.
One of the guides suggested to “de-that” your article before submitting. It basically stated: Unless the sentence is rendered meaningless without “that” delete it.
For many years, I included that style point in my own copy editing checklist.
At some point I didn’t think I needed that prompt anymore, so I took it off my checklist. (What was I thinking?!)
I was reminded again of the tactic while listening to someone talk about copy editing. I decided to start checking my own work again for too many “thats.”
This is what I found on a recent tip:
After reading through the above, I eliminated two:
The second excerpt reads just a little cleaner.
Easy Web Tip #258: For smoother copy on your website, remove extraneous “thats.”