Uses of that

September 14, 2011pdf

That can be used as an adjective and a pronoun. It is the singular form of those.

Compare:

  • Look at that man over there.
  • Look at those men over there.

As an adjective that can refer to either people or things.

  • This photograph is much better than that photograph.
  • That boy says that he is tired.

When that is used as a pronoun without a noun, it can only refer to things.

Compare:

  • Look at that photograph. OR Look at that.
  • Ask that man to come here. BUT NOT Ask that to come here.

However, that can be used as a pronoun when we are identifying people.

  • Who’s that?
  • Is that Ruth?

In a colloquial style, that can be used as an adverb.

  • I couldn’t walk that far. (= I couldn’t walk as far as that.)

Relative pronoun

That can be used as a relative pronoun. As a relative pronoun, that can refer to both people and things.

  • The letter that came this morning is from my brother.
  • Give help to anyone that needs it.

That as a conjunction

That can also be used as a conjunction.

  • His manners are so bad that nobody invites him to a party.
  • Bring it to the light so that I can see it better.
  • You may borrow my car on condition that you bring it before 10 pm.

That can also be used in exclamations.

  • Oh, that I could see you again! (= How I wish it were possible for us to meet again!)
Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."