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> Context: On the other hand, Italian writers did well to draw on the Tuscan vernacular rather than the other vernaculars of Italy [1250] for the reasons that everyone knows and which we have stated pp.1246, end-47, beginning.

But it would be silly, absurd, pedantic, and ridiculous to conclude from this that only that vernacular can therefore be drawn on, that writers can only write in the manner and to the extent that that particular people speaks, that the Italian language and Italian literature wholly depend on the common people of Tuscany (when it does not even depend on the common people at all, but simply uses them when it so chooses), that in and outside of Tuscany, an Italian writer cannot create words or phrases that the Tuscan populace does not use, that, in short, someone who is not Tuscan, indeed, who is not Florentine, or not actually from the Old Market, is not Italian.

The questions would be:

1.There are two 'that' in line 3, would someone kindly explain this queer using of 'that'?

2.Is it acceptable writing in English using 'that' so many times in a single sentence? Wouldn't it be more appropriate if for example the first and second line: 'But it would be silly, absurd, pedantic, and ridiculous to conclude that only vernacular can therefore be drawn on'

3.If we decompile those 'thats' into multiple sentences, would it change the conveyed meaning?

Thank you!

marked as duplicate by Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Robusto, Edwin Ashworth, Peter Shor , Drew Nov 17 '15 at 19:12

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  • Source: Zibaldone - Giacomo Leopardi (Italian writer, translated into English) – Flonne Nov 17 '15 at 15:24
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    It's the standard use of two thats, that happens occasionally in English. See this question. It's much less confusing in the spoken language, because the first is generally pronounced /ðət/ or /ðɪt/, while the second is pronounced /ðæt/. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '15 at 15:26
  • @Peter Would you care to explain more of this standard use of two thats? – Flonne Nov 17 '15 at 15:30
  • You could rewrite the relevant clause as that writers can only write in the manner in which, and to the extent to which, that particular people speaks. Hopefully that helps. The first that replaces both in which and to which. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '15 at 15:32
  • To answer your revised question, I think all the parallel that's are fine (that only, that writers, that the Italian language, that in and outside of Tuscany, and that, in short). The non-parallel ones tend to confuse the reader, though, and it would be good to replace them where possible. For (2), a better rewrite would be "that only the Tuscan vernacular can therefore be drawn on" (and I would agree that that is an improvement). The penultimate that could be replaced by which, and that that could be replaced by that this, leaving only one non-parallel that. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '15 at 15:45
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There are two uses of the word that in English.

He went through the door that was open. She wanted that car.

This use is describing something. Which car? That car. Which door? The one that was open.

She said that the car was marvelous. He wished that the door was spring-loaded.

This use is different. It is connected to the verb - I can "wish that I had something" or "promise that I will return" but not all verbs will work with it.

So

to conclude from this that only that vernacular can therefore be drawn on

could be rewritten as " to conclude from this that only the Tuscan vernacular of the time can therefore be drawn on" as a way of replacing the second that, which is the "describing that". You can't replace the first that as easily, maybe replace "conclude that" with "draw a conclusion such as".

Most sentences with both uses of that in them should be rewritten to avoid it, in my opinion. Even native speakers sometimes have to back up and read them again. Your sentence is really quite difficult to read and gives a "show off" vibe that may not be intended, since it's a translation.

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