My friend Mary Jo helped me out today and edited a writing project for me. Knowing I use the word "that" much too often, I was careful to go through the 20-page manuscript and removed all unnecessary "thats." Or, so I thought. Mary Jo deleted 18 more.
I've entered a 12-step program for "that" addiction.
Did you notice I didn't say, "Knowing THAT I use the word" or "Did you notice THAT I didn't say"? I'm getting better. I'm working the program.
The key is to stay clear of other thataholics. I was doing pretty well getting the "thats" out of my writing, having gone cold turkey, but then I read an article in Writers' Digest about how it's all wrong to take out the thats. The author stated that that is a much needed word for clear writing. He urged other writers to get the thats back in their writing.
It was all too tempting, I bellied up next to the author at the "that" bar and went on a nasty binge. It was ugly, but I've managed to pull myself out of the abyss.
I still have a long way to go, but with friends like Mary Jo, I can do it. I can beat the thats!