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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Most Common Words in English: 8 ways to use ‘THAT’

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Hi, everyone.

In this lesson I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about "that".

"That" is one of the most common words in English.

Let's have a look at how we can use it in conversation and in writing.

First use is something close or distant.

When something is close, we can say...

"This" is a pointing word; it means close to me.

"This man", "this room", "this pen".

"This pen is close to me."

But when something is further away, I can show that in language by saying: "That woman",

"that house", "that pencil".

"This pen; that pencil" - more far away.

We can also use "that" when we want to reduce the length of a sentence.

Because "that" is a pointing word, we can take a longer sentence, such as: "The song

that is playing sounds great", and instead we can just say: "That's a great song."

In a sentence like this, "that" means the song that's playing now.

You already know about it, so I don't need to say those extra words.

I can make it shorter: "That's a great song."

Another example: "What's that thing in your hand?"

I can simply say: "What's that?"

If I'm looking at it, my eyes will show what I'm talking about: "What's that?"

Another example: "The outfit that you're wearing looks great."

You're dressed up, you're wearing something nice.

I don't need to say all those words; I can simply say: "That looks great.

That looks really great."

The next use of "that" is to intensify something; make it more strong.

I can say...

An example...

An example situation: "Trust me.

It's that bad", and I use my tone of voice to add the intensity on "that", and also a

bit on "bad".

"Trust me.

It's that bad."

Another example: "I'm not joking.

His cat really is that fat."

And when we use "that" with our tone, it's something that native speakers would do to

emphasize something.

When we're making a joke perhaps or we're exaggerating something in a story, we'll say

"that" with a lot of emphasis.

Next use of "that" is the difference between writing and conversation.

In conversation we don't always say the word "that"; whereas in more formal writing, we

often will write "that" in a sentence.

"I thought that it was a mistake."

That's what I'd write.

"I thought that it was a mistake", but perhaps I'd just say: "I thought it was a mistake."

I could...

I could also say, if I wanted: "I thought that it was a mistake."

It's not right, it's not wrong; it depends on the speaker.

But typically, if we do something in writing, that's because it's considered more formal,

or more standard English, or more proper English.

Another example: "They said that the package has not arrived."

Perhaps I would write that sentence: "They said that the package has not arrived", whereas

I would say: "They said the package has not arrived."

Another example: "You promised that you would be home by 9."

A written example, maybe we'd see that in a novel.

Maybe not actually because this seems like spoken...

Spoken dialogue.

We could simply say...

We could simply say, instead: "You promised you would be home by 9."

Now let's look at example number five of when to use "that".

We can use "that" in situations to comment and share our feelings about something that's

happened.

First example: "That's insane!"

If I use that tone, I'm surprised.

This could be you tell me that you've won 20 million pounds on the lottery - I'm so

shocked about that, I say: "That's insane!"

But equally, I can use this expression when I'm really shocked that something happened,

and I think that it's crazy and insane.

Let's say you knew about a criminal incident that happened - a crazy guy came and smashed

up your friend's car.

Maybe a jealous boyfriend or something like that - he smashed up the car, but when the

police came, in the end they didn't charge him for anything.

So, nothing happened to this guy who smashed the car.

When you hear about it, you can say: "That's insane!" because you think it's a bad thing

that happened.

It depends on your tone.

The next ones: "That's a pity", "That's too bad", and "That's a shame" all mean a similar

thing, which is that something unfortunate has happened to you, you've been disappointed.

This could be you had a job, you loved the job, you thought it was going really, really

well and then two weeks after you've been doing this job the boss suddenly comes to

you and says: "Sorry, but we can't keep you on", so you lose your job.

When I hear about that, I say: "That's too bad" or I say: "That's a shame", because I

knew you really liked it.

Or I say: "That's a pity."

I feel for you at the time.

And the last example I would say: "That's good."

That's...

Well, it depends how enthusiastic I say.

When I say...

When I say: "That's good", I'm excited for you and I'm happy for you.

Something good has happened to you today.

Perhaps you did well in an exam.

When you come back, I've got more examples for you.

Now that you're back, I've got some more uses of "that".

We use "that" when we want to report facts or information.

"Info" is short for "information".

Here's an example: "The graph shows that exports have declined."

When something declines - goes down.

And "export" is the goods that a country sends out to other countries.

Effectively, they sell these things to other countries.

"The graph shows that exports have declined."

This is a fact or information because I'm looking at the graph and I can see the line

where the exports are declining.

Another example: "The paper says that the Glitter Fairy Party will win the election."

Same thing happening here.

The newspaper reports the news to us, and we can use the construction: "says that" so

that we have the information about who's winning the election.

And another example here is: "This report claims that global warming is a hoax."

We have the same thing happening in all the examples.

We have the source of the information or source of the data, a report, newspaper, or graph,

and we use a verb plus "that".

"...claims that", "says that", and "shows that".

And when we use the verb and "that", this is how we show the information.

The next one is we use "that" to link noun...

Noun phrases together, and when we do that we show causation; we show that one noun phrase

is linked to the other one - they're in a relationship.

Here's an example: "I was so happy that I jumped for joy."

Here's the first phrase: "I was so happy"; here's the second phrase: "I jumped for joy".

"I was so happy that I jumped for joy", and "that" is in the middle to sandwich the two

phrases together.

Another example: "Tom was so tired that he fell asleep at the wheel."

Same thing happening here.

Here's the first phrase: "Tom was so tired"; the second phrase is: "he fell asleep at the

wheel", and we link them together with "that", and we know that this phrase is in a relationship

with the second phrase.

Another time when we use "that" is for statements we make using "suggest", "recommend", or "advise".

Here's some examples: "I advise that you get a second opinion."

In this sentence, "that" is optional.

I can also say: "I advise you get a second opinion."

Similar to a previous example, in writing, "that" is considered more formal; but often

in speech people don't say it.

"May I recommend that you try the salmon?"

Also we can say it without "that".

"May I recommend you try the salmon?"

This is your waiter speaking to you in the nice restaurant.

One more example: "I suggest that you apologize."

When we use "suggest" in that way, often we are...

We pause before we speak.

We hesitate.

Perhaps because we...

We don't want to quickly give that person advice, so we don't say "advise" and we don't

say "recommend" because we don't want to tell them what to do, so more softly we say "suggest",

like this: "I suggest that you apologize."

Sometimes we can hear the pause after "suggest" because people are careful about telling the

other person what they think they should do.

Now let's look at some common expressions where we use "that".

When we're...

When we've reached the end of what we're saying, very often people will say: "That's about

it", or they'll say: "That's about it then", and after they've told their story or they've

explained something, this is an expression that says: "I've finished now; this is the

end of my point", and then the other person will reply or start speaking about something else.

Another expression is: "That's a good point."

When somebody says that to you, they agree with what you're saying.

"That'll be the day" means you think something is really unlikely; you don't think it's going

to happen.

Perhaps your... your... your son has a really, really, really messy bedroom; he never brings

the cups down to the kitchen, he never keeps it clean and tidy, but one day he says to

you: "I'm going to keep that room tidy now, Mum, don't worry.

I don't want you coming in there and cleaning it anymore."

She might say: "That'll be the day."

She...

She doesn't believe what you're saying; it's so unlikely.

Another one is: "With all that being said..."

This is a...

This is an expression we use after we've made a very long point and giving an opinion on

something - we say: "With all that being said" when we follow it with a contrasting opinion.

Perhaps this opinion comes to us after we said...

Said everything before.

It's the opposite.

This tends to be a more formal expression.

Or not necessarily formal; you would only hear it in situations where people are discussing

and talking for a long time about things; perhaps not in regular, daily conversation.

More examples, here.

"And that's that.

That's that" - that's another way of saying: "I've finished my point.

You can talk now".

"That'll do.

That'll do.

Let's get out of here" - enough or finished.

Actually we can also say this one when we want some people to stop making a noise or

a commotion.

For example, kids in the classroom, the teacher can come in and say: "Hey, that'll do now",

and that means: "Stop.

I'm here."

Another example is: "That's done it.

That's really done it now."

That's what you say when you're angry and when you've come to the final straw.

The "final straw" is when you've reached that point where after this point you can't ignore

it anymore, it's too late now, you gave them many chances before, but now: "That's done it."

You did something too far, too much, and the person reacts.

Often they're angry with you.

And last of all we have: "That's all folks."

This one is a slogan from Looney Tunes, the cartoon.

And I can't really do the accent for it, but it means: "We're finished now.

That's all folks."

That's my best.

That's my best.

So, here are all these uses of "that".

What you can do now is go and do the quiz on this lesson.

That's all folks.

Bye.

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