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Recently, I started using just 'That' instead of 'The fact that' at the beginning of some sentences. What is your opinion on this?

Example:

  1. The fact that he answered the question wrong shows...
  2. That he answered the question wrong shows ...

What is better style? 1 or 2?

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Personally, I like 2 better in writing, although both are possible. In spoken language, I would only use 1. One often hears "the fact that" vilified as being redundant, mostly because Strunk & White say it's never acceptable. It's true that it is often used unnecessarily to inflate a writer's style. However, it's not always inappropriate:

The police confronted him with the fact that he hadn't been where he said he was.

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  • I don't know how you'd phrase your sample sentence without using "the fact that", barring a considerable recasting. – siride Dec 14 '10 at 15:56
  • @siride, that was my point. It's not always inappropriate, because any other way of writing that example sentence would be awkward. – ptomato Dec 14 '10 at 15:59
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    @ptomata: sorry, I misread that as "not always appropriate". – siride Dec 15 '10 at 5:13
  • It's been a loooong time since this question was answered, but I wanted to know why both are acceptable/grammatical. If you could explain, that'd be great. – tylerharms Oct 29 '16 at 20:37
  • Good question - I'm not sure I can give you a good answer. – ptomato Oct 29 '16 at 21:25
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If the "the fact" doesn't add to the sentence, remove it.

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