What is the difference between these two sentences?

This is a book that I brought from the library.

This is a book I brought from the library.

Do both work? If so why do they both work?

  • This topic is addressed in the Wikipedia article complementizer. Yes, they both work. Typically, "that" is understood and can be omitted. Nov 5, 2017 at 2:57

1 Answer 1


There's no difference between the two sentences; they convey the same meaning.

The word "that" is a relative pronoun in the relative clause "that I brought from the library". You can omit the relative pronoun when it's the object of the clause.

I think the sentence without "that" sounds more common and idiomatic.

  • I agree except that "that" is not a relative pronoun - it's a subordinator. In both the OP's example, the relative pronoun is missing but represented by the 'gap' notation ___ : "This is a book (that) I brought ____ from the library".
    – BillJ
    Nov 5, 2017 at 19:57

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