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The 'that that' prescription

 
 
JTT
 
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 11:04 am
The discussion surrounding this prescription started in another thread;

http://able2know.org/topic/167119-173

It started as the main language issue but was quickly shucked by its originator for another equally nonsensical prescription when that person, Ionus, realized that he had taken an indefensible position.

Spendius wrote in a reply there:

It was predictable that that is what Gadaffi would do.

Ionus responded with:

that that ??? We dont double words....one is always sufficient . It means the same thing .

jtt responded to Ionus:

Who's we? It's certainly not native speakers of English. One is so very often not sufficient. Speakers and writers use two quite frequently.

A Google exact phrase 'that that' yields About 147,000,000 results

A Google exact phrase 'that that' limited to the New York Times website yields About 42,900 results

Many times, it's absolutely essential to meaning. Here's a sentence, marked 1), from the NY Times.

1) “There's no requirement that that trade results in a gain to the defendant."

2) “There's no requirement that trade results in a gain to the defendant."

When you remove a 'that' you have a different meaning.

Don't get caught up in nonsensical prescriptions. Spendius, like every native speaker, knows how to use his language.


Spendius: My second "that" Io was shorthand for "firing weapons from tanks and snipers on them for protesting." Which was the last part of the post I was replying to.

I could have written "It was predictable that firing weapons from tanks and snipers on them for protesting is what Gadaffi would do". I simply forced the reader to look at the previous post to find out what the that that Gadaffi would do actually was. I chose the formulation deliberately. It wasn't mere sloppiness. It was an emphasis. Pedantically I take your point in this instance but, as JTT has demonstrated, there is no general rule as you imply.

What I was meaning was that that predictability in Gadaffi's response to rebellious citizens seeking to overthrow him leaves those who encouraged the uprising with an amount of responsibility for the fate of the rebels in proportion to the accuracy of the predictability which has now been shown, admittedly with hindsight, to be 100%. And that that encouragement has talked us into a corner from which I think we might have some difficulty extricating ourselves with the degree of dignity to which we are accustomed to expect in our leaders and their lickspittals and lackeys.

Ionus: replied, not to Spendius, who had explained how Ionus had advanced a rule that has nothing to do with English, but to me. I really hadn't realized just how quickly Ionus falls into his diversionary tangents.

[I've included Ionus's complete post which includes my remarks from my post already posted above. I've done this so that the reader doesn't have to scroll up to see what Ionus is addressing.]



Quote:

jtt: One is so very often not sufficient. Speakers and writers use two quite frequently.

Ionus: And they are incorrect . Like people who use "much more" .


jtt: A Google exact phrase 'that that' limited to the New York Times website yields About 42,900 results

Ionus: And a Google search for bad english produced 45, 400,000 results .

jtt: When you remove a 'that' you have a different meaning.

Ionus: Bullshit . You get exactly the same meaning, you just think it is different .

It was predictable that that is what Gadaffi would do.
It was predictable that is what Gadaffi would do.


How are they different ?


jtt replied:

You seem to have trouble with reading comprehension, but I've suspected that for some time.

I didn't say that in Spendy's sentence there was a difference. Here is what I said:

[quote]
Many times, it's absolutely essential to meaning. Here's a sentence, marked 1), from the NY Times.

1) “There's no requirement that that trade results in a gain to the defendant."

2) “There's no requirement that trade results in a gain to the defendant."

When you remove a 'that' you have a different meaning.[/quote]

And you do, have two different meanings. Anyone that doesn't have a reading comprehension problem knows that.

And that, right there, refutes your 'rule'.


Ionus responded:
Many times ??? Absolutely essential ??? So it cant be said better ? Not by you anyway, that that is obvious .

Notable in his response is that Ionus headed off on one of his usual tangents to avoid having to face the facts that had just been presented.

For anyone who wants to read the remainder, the link is to be found above. The last post before I started this thread and moved the discussion here was the following from Spendius;

http://able2know.org/topic/167119-182#post-4576375

Spendius: A sentence posted last night on page 172 of the "Don't tell me there's no proof of evolution" thread.

Quote:

Not that that has anything to do with evolution, because atheism and evolution are not related.


Using 'that that', as Spendi used it, is fully grammatical and it's also exceedingly common in English. The Ionus "rule" that we don't double words is fatuous. There are many instances in English where we double words, not just 'that', out of grammatical necessity and for semantic reasons, eg. emphasis, which was also noted by Spendi.

1) Not that that has anything to do with evolution, because atheism and evolution are not related.

2) ??Not that has anything to do with evolution, because atheism and evolution are not related.

Sentence 1) and 2) have the same meaning?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 02:47 pm
Well, hey, I use it (that that) and I'm swell with words. ; )
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 03:09 pm
@ossobuco,
That you are, Osso, that you are.



Is there a rule against using double phrases/sentences?

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 03:12 pm
@JTT,
That was sardonic, of course. I'm swell with words except when I'm not; one takes one's chances. I've always figured that people tried to avoid 'that that' for aesthetic reasons, but sometimes that usage works best.

Re double phrasing, I hope not.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 03:51 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Re double phrasing, I hope not.


So you have a problem with my,

That you are, Osso, that you are.


Oylok
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 09:22 pm
@JTT,
But aren't there at least some instances when "that that" should be replaced by "what"?

For example:

"That that is, is. That that is not, is not." --> "What is, is. What is not, is not."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I mean, unless you prescribe away some uses of "that that", then you open the door for three thats in succession; do you not?

Case in point:

"It is not that that that is, is not, but rather that that that only could be, could also not be." Shocked
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 09:44 pm
@Oylok,
Quote:
But aren't there at least some instances when "that that" should be replaced by "what"?

For example:

"That that is, is. That that is not, is not." --> "What is, is. What is not, is not."


It could be argued that the two examples have different nuances. There's ample room in the English language for both.

Language has no need for prescriptions, Oylok. They've been tried for hundreds of years and they simply never took. They don't take because they are alien to the natural workings of language.

Quote:
I mean, unless you prescribe away some uses of "that that", then you open the door for three thats in succession; do you not?

Case in point:

"It is not that that that is, is not, but rather that that that only could be, could also not be."


If there is a limit, it would have to be determined by the limits of our understanding. To my mind, you've created, [is this your creation?] an example that can't be prescribed away because it's something that you [or someone] wanted to say.

It certainly isn't any different, or mind boggling than,


Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo_buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo
Oylok
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 10:54 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:
[is this your creation?]


I do not remember reading it anywhere and am willing to take an oath upon the Chicago Manual of Style that I do not... Confused

Quote:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo


That one had me completely buffaloed until Wikipedia diagrammed it for me.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 11:13 pm
I was taught to use "That this" most emphatically by an english teacher with a yard ruler.

I'm not sure if "that this" works in all situations, however it certainly work in Miss Dons english class.

"that it" can be used as well.

fobvius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 12:19 am
@dadpad,
Ionus, where JTT had had "had," had had "had had." "Had had" had had "had" written next to it as a correction.

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 08:55 am
@JTT,
I meant that I hope there isn't a rule against it.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 10:00 pm
"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." is a perfectly sound sentence and is grammatically correct.
That that is fine in my books.
dadpad
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 06:28 am
@Ceili,
Buffalo etc
It may be sound gramatically but it is also useless for communicating anything meaningfull or real.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 08:50 am
@dadpad,
Having observed animals of the bovine species for some time, including buffalo, I can attest to the fact that it does state something meaningful and real.

It's the same behavior that one would see in all the buffalo that inhabit the NA continent. Just because it's distant and therefore less meaningful to you doesn't mean that it lacks all meaning.

It's meaningful enough to me that I know that I won't cross an open field that has buffalo in it, nor even will I enter a large corral or paddock with them in it.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 09:31 am

"That that" and "much more" are perfectly fine.

Use them freely. You'll feel better.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 11:27 am
@McTag,
Better late than never, McTag. Smile
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 11:27 am
@dadpad,
Tru dat. There are many more examples of sentences that do the same with a myriad of different words as well. I always imagine some great actor, or William Shatner, reading Buffalo then orating it to an inch of it's life, music swelling in the background and then like a flash of lighting, it all makes sense...
But like JTT said, I wont be messing with the buffalo for that alleluia moment.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 06:19 pm
@McTag,
There have been requests that this issue be dealt with in a venue other than the Tunesia thread. It's up to you, McTag, whether you wish to honor those requests or not.

===========================

http://able2know.org/topic/167119-182#post-4579478

Quote:
McTag: "That that" and "much more" are fine, and of course even necessary in the right circumstances.


Quote:
Ionus replied: Just how do you justify those expressions being "fine" or is that a word you use but dont know the meaning of ?


Quote:
McTag: Perfectly good English.


Quote:
Ionus replied: Perfect ? Good English ? Are they perfect or only good ?

JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 06:22 pm
There have been requests that this issue be dealt with in a venue other than the Tunesia thread. It's up to you, CI, whether you wish to honor those requests or not.

=========================

Moved from:

http://able2know.org/topic/167119-182#post-4579478

==============================

Quote:
Cicerone Imposter: Hi McT! Ionus is one confused dude on English grammar. Seems he hasn't learned much in school, and spouts nonsense on grammar rules.



Quote:
Ionus replied: It seems Silly Female Impersonator can not see any reason why a different way of saying something would be better or worse .
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 06:25 pm
Quote:
Ionus replied: It seems Silly Female Impersonator ...


You're not at all fond of females, are you, Ionus?

Tell me again why your wife left you.
0 Replies
 
 

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