🤔 When to leave out... That, Who, Which

When watching shows on Viki, from time to time I’ve noticed that in the English subs, the word “that” is not present when it should be. I’ve also noticed that sometimes “that” is omitted and a comma is used in its place. While I’m aware that newspaper editors are often guilty of treating “that” as an optional word, it is better that a subber does not blindly follow this principle because omitting “that” is not that simple.

“That” has many uses. It can be a pronoun, a relative pronoun, a conjunction, an adjective and an adverb.

Because of this versatility that “that” enjoys, care is needed when deciding whether or not a “that” can be safely removed from a sentence without damaging the sentence’s meaning.

The below article is especially useful when it comes to understanding when it is appropriate to omit “that”.

The article below has three pages that also look at this from a slightly different perspective.

I hope these insights are useful to my fellow English Editors :slightly_smiling_face:


The article was very informative. The article gave several examples to sentences, which were equally correct with and without ‘That’, ‘Who’, or ‘Which’. Assume that a subber has written a correct sentence using one of the words. What justification is there to edit the sentence by omitting the word, other than reducing the character count by three to five characters?
Assume that a subber has written a correct sentence which is fine without any of the words. What justification is there is edit to add one of the words?


That’s what I think too. If everything is good, there’s no reason to change it. It’s just making extra work, and it often boils down to personal preference.


I personally think that some articles are written NOT to tell us how to write a sentence, but to give us different choices of how we can/may write a sentence (better or worse is our own choice).

It’s up to us, what we may do with these articles, and if we should follow or not follow their suggestions. I tend to take out some unnecessary That/Who/Which, and many others, as long as the sentence makes sense without them. I learned these things during my College days, and it has stayed with me so far. There is no perfect way of writing since different countries follow different grammar rules, and what may be a right way to write in certain countries, might be wrong way to write in my country (Island).

The only sentence I always criticize here at RViki are the run on sentence, incomplete sentence, and maily the sentence/subs that makes absolutely no sense as I read them. It doesn’t bother me that they used the Goggle translate or other tools of translations. What mainly bothers me is; that they had the choice to write a better sentence with the use of the translator, and without a care in the world, they wrote the sentence word by word without caring if it sounded right or not.

They didn’t took the time to learn something new in the process on: HOW to write a better translated sentence with the use of any translation tool. Was it laziness? Selfishness? (they want to get to the next project before anyone else do). What is it; to this day, I have no clue. One thing I know for sure; they lack ambition in learning new things that can improve so many aspects of their life. For one thing, reading comprehension, Vocabulary, Correct grammar usage etc. They rather criticize you, and will try to find ways to say that you are wrong. If we do our research, write notes, and absorb and learn this new information by other experts, we can learn so much more if only give it a chance to enrich us.

Thank you @manganese for sharing your links with us, and helping us all to learn new things, that some may not know or others may ALREADY know, but needed to ‘‘repass’’ what they may have forgotten with age or health issues (like I am) since there are so many things that can affect our memory retention of what many years back we learned in College or during High School, too. Learning is a gift no one should be denied of, and I’m glad we all are doing our little bit by sharing links or our knowledge with others.


The second article is just about that. When it’s not a bridge verb (“think”, “say” etc.), omitting “that”, “who”, “which” can be very awkward and sometimes even hinder comprehension.

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