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


  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?


2 Answers 2


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.

  • I don't know how you'd phrase your sample sentence without using "the fact that", barring a considerable recasting.
    – siride
    Dec 14, 2010 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, 2010 at 15:59
  • 1
    @ptomata: sorry, I misread that as "not always appropriate".
    – siride
    Dec 15, 2010 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, 2016 at 20:37
  • Good question - I'm not sure I can give you a good answer.
    – ptomato
    Oct 29, 2016 at 21:25

If the "the fact" doesn't add to the sentence, remove it.

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