With formal writing

Should we keep or omit "that"? or Is it optional?

Is there anything (that) happened (that) you particularly remember?

  • Could anyone please explain why this question is consider off-topic, so I can edit it.
    – Shannak
    Mar 4, 2017 at 10:15
  • I am downvoting this question not because I believe it is off-topic but because I believe it is a poor question inasmuch as it is ostensibly about "formal" writing and yet the example provided reads like the transcript of an informal conversation.
    – TimR
    Mar 4, 2017 at 13:11
  • 1
    Others may have reasons for their close-votes. I didn't vote to close. I think the question deserves to be open; but I felt that you chose a poor example, if you were interested in formal writing.
    – TimR
    Mar 4, 2017 at 15:22
  • This question is complicated by the choice of verb in the example, namely happen.
    – TimR
    Mar 4, 2017 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


The first "that" is obligatory because it is the subject of the relative clause "that happened."

The second "that" is not obligatory because it is not the subject of the relative clause "that you particularly remember." However, considering the presence of the first relative clause between the referent "anything" and the second relative clause, using the second "that" might be particularly advisable in writing.

You can read some theory and examples below for further reference (source: Swan's Practical English Usage):

Double relatives

  • @Araucaria You are right. I will edit my post accordingly.
    – Gustavson
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:39
  • 1
    @Araucaria Let me check, just in case... It sounded to me as necessary the first time I read it, but then read your version and found it fine too.
    – Gustavson
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:43
  • If it's not part of the sentence (like the subject), then it's a conjunction (and can be omitted). Jul 1, 2019 at 20:27
  • 1
    @AlexeyIvanov You're right. The second that is a conjunction and can be omitted.
    – Gustavson
    Jul 1, 2019 at 21:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .