Monday, January 23, 2012

That Word

I know I've lamented here before about "that" word.  You know...the four letter word T-H-A-T.

It's insidious.

It's elusive.

It weakens your prose -- oh no!


So, once again, I spent the day going through my current WIP under the "find" option and removing 90% of the "that"'s.

She worried that he wouldn't come  becomes She worried he wouldn't come

She knew that he would be late becomes She knew he would be late

See? Tighter...cleaner...better.

I don't even realize I'm using it like I do until I go back and spend an afternoon cleaning up the mess

Tell Me:  Do you have an issue with THAT word too?

18 comments:

Victoria Snelling said...

Now you say it, I realise (that) I do. In all my communication and not just fiction writing. Thanks for the tip!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Yes!!!! That and just - I've pretty much learned to fix "that" as I go, but I still have to run a check.

I was bummed you didn't get a Newberry nod yesterday. Your book was on several speculation lists I saw. I was rooting for you!

Anne Gallagher said...

That, not so much anymore, but just is a real killer.

Martin Willoughby said...

After you wrote that...after you wrote about it last time it rang a huge bell in my mind. Since then, I've discovered (that) I don't need to use it. I've also discovered (that) editors prefer stories without 'that' in it, as it looks more professional.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yep, that one and I throw just around a lot, too.
~ Wendy

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

I don't know. I'll have to pay attention to that.

Tess said...

you guys crack me up...all clever.

and, thanks for saying so Jaye..honestly, it's just nice to be invited to the party (theoretically speaking of course) :D

DL Hammons said...

OMG!!!! You have no idea! THAT is the bane of my writing existence. :)

Paul Greci said...

That's the ticket. Ooops. I mean, the ticket is that which that is. Wait, that's worse. :-)

Tess said...

DL; me too!

Paul: I think it should be:

The ticket is it. Yes, much better ;)

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Not as much as I used to! Once I learned how little "that" was needed, I tried to drop it. But yeah, Find and Replace is an essential tool when editing. :)

Marcia said...

Actually, I've banished "that" pretty much. Now if I could cut down on "this," "actually," and "really."

J.A. Palermo said...

Oh, that that. Um, yeah.

storyqueen said...

I have several "that" words, but my worst one is "bit". I use it way too much.

Shelley

Crystal said...

Thanks for this alert, Tess. Now "that" I think of it, I may have used it many times in my ms, too! I'm going to re-check it asap . . . Thanks, again! :)

Kittie Howard said...

Yep, guilty as charged. And it's a hard habit to break. *sighs*

Tess said...

Amy: what would we do withou that tool? can you imagine searching a doc otherwise?

Marcia: eek! other words I'll have to check my manuscript for ...

JA: made me giggle. thanks

storyqueen: your 'bit' is my 'little'...another issue I have.

Crystal: hello friend! how have you been?

Kittie: it is hard! *sighs with you*

dellgirl said...

Love the tip. I hadn't thought about that...oops.

My over-used word is 'just'.

I'm stopping in to say hi and to check on you, I hope everything is going well.