The curse of THAT!

thatI recently did a search of my WIP to look for the word ‘that’ as I had a feeling I overused it. It was everywhere!

There were three uses of the word I was able to replace.

Use ‘it’ instead

“Where is that?” became “Where is it?”

Use ‘the’ instead

“Where is that newspaper?” became “Where is the newspaper?”

Delete ‘that’ completely

“She realised that she used it too often.” became “She realised she used it too often.”

By using these replacements, I was able to remove almost half of my ‘that’s and the WIP reads much better for it.

I didn’t realise that I used that word so often. Now I know that, I can eliminate that and that’s a good thing.

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6 thoughts on “The curse of THAT!

  1. My mum read my first draft of my novel and found I’d used ‘that’ over 700 times! In a 78,000 word document. I had absolutely no idea I used it so freely. I don’t now! I like your simple but effective solutions. πŸ™‚

  2. I must check how many I have in my books, just for fun. However, my current bugbear is having to replace that by which or who by which when proofreading or editing others’ work. Everyone has words that they overuse – I know mine are thought and smiled – I do separate edits just for those!

  3. That is a good one to crack down on because it is mostly redundant. My most overused word is look or looked. I like the unspoken interplay between people so I often find myself writing he looked, she looked, they looked up etc. I have started to use alternatives (glanced, stared, glared) but these too are now popping up more frequently than I would like. Good blog.

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