Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “that”

that

conjunction     strong /ðæt/ weak /ðət/
A2 used to introduce a clause that reports something or gives further information , although it can often be left out: She said (that) she'd collect it for me after work . Is it true (that) she's gone back to teaching ? We'll be there at about 7.30, provided / providing (that) there's a suitable train . It was so dark (that) I couldn't see anything.Connecting words joining words or phrases with similar or related meanings Grammar:ThatThat is a very common word in both writing and speaking. We use it as a determiner, a demonstrative pronoun and a relative pronoun. We also use it as a conjunction to introduce that-clauses.Grammar:That: determiner and pronounWe use that most commonly to point to a thing or person. We use it with singular nouns. The thing or person is often distant from the speaker and sometimes closer to the listener, or not visible to either the speaker or listener:Grammar:That: relative pronounWe use that to introduce defining relative clauses. We can use that instead of who, whom or which to refer to people, animals and things. That is more informal than who or which:Grammar:That-clausesWe also use that to introduce that-clauses after some verbs, adjectives and nouns:Grammar:That: other usesGrammar:That-clausesWe use that as a conjunction to link a verb, adjective or noun with the following clause.Grammar:Verb + that-clauseVerbs commonly followed by that include reporting verbs (say, tell, admit, etc.) and mental process verbs (believe, think, know, hope, etc.):Grammar:Adjective + that-clauseWe use be + adjective + that-clause to express opinions and feelings. Some adjectives commonly used in this way are sure, certain, right, important, afraid, pleased, sorry, surprised, worried. We can omit that with no change in meaning:Grammar:Noun + that-clauseWe use a noun + that-clause to express opinions and feelings, often about certainty and possibility. We also use that with reporting nouns. Some nouns commonly used in this way are belief, fact, hope, idea, possibility, suggestion, statement, claim, comment, argument:Grammar:Verb patterns: verb + that-clauseGrammar:Reporting verbs + that-clauseSome verbs connected with reporting can be followed by a that-clause acting as the direct object (underlined in the examples):Grammar:Verbs followed by an indirect object and a that-clauseSome verbs (generally those connected with reporting) can be followed by an indirect object (underlined) plus a that-clause acting as the direct object:Grammar:Verbs followed by a prepositional phrase and a that-clauseSome verbs can be followed by a prepositional phrase (underlined) and a that-clause acting as the direct object:
(Definition of that conjunction from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of that

Definitions of “that” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

scramble

to mix eggs with a little milk and mix again as they are being fried

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More