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I read an article on the National Geographic website:

In this sentence:

We reach the water and I try to swim – but the water is so salty I just float on the surface.

Cannot we use "that" between "salty" and "I"? If so, why has it been omitted?

  • The subordinator "that" is optional in your example. – BillJ Mar 10 '18 at 9:38
  • Thank you. May I know when can we omit "that" like this sentence? – Saeideh Mar 10 '18 at 9:40
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    In declarative content clauses, "that" is sometimes obligatory, sometimes optional, and sometimes inadmissible. It's obligatory where the clause is subject of the matrix clause, as in "That I need help is clear" or when the clause is preposed so as to precede the subject, as in "That I need help I can't deny". It's inadmissible in a clause that is complement to a preposition, e.g., *"I left before that he arrived". Elsewhere, it's generally optional, though it is more likely to be omitted in informal than in formal style, or after short and common verbs than longer and less frequent ones. – BillJ Mar 10 '18 at 9:58
  • Oh no! That link is to an article on relative "that" -- the kind that introduces some relative clauses. It's not the same use of "that" that you asked about, so different considerations apply. – BillJ Mar 10 '18 at 11:18
  • Alright. I removed it. – Saeideh Mar 10 '18 at 12:05
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In declarative content clauses, "that" is sometimes obligatory, sometimes optional, and sometimes inadmissible. It's obligatory where the clause is subject of the matrix clause, as in "That I need help is clear" or when the clause is preposed so as to precede the subject, as in "That I need help I can't deny". It's inadmissible in a clause that is complement to a preposition, e.g., *"I left before that he arrived". Elsewhere, it's generally optional, though it is more likely to be omitted in informal than in formal style, or after short and common verbs than longer and less frequent ones.

BillJ

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