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I've seen the three versions. The one with a comma, the one with "that," and the one with nothing:

It was so big, it was scary.

It was so big that Sampson had to drag it to her.

Only it was so big it couldn't help making some noise when it moved.

Source

I think this is more a matter of style than grammar (or perhaps it depends on the verb or length?).

Or maybe the comma and the "that" can always be ignored in cases like these?

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I think this is more a matter of style than grammar.

Yes.

Sometimes a comma is required, and other times it's optional. Here, the comma indicates a pause in the sentence. One might wonder if the pause is mandated or not. The example sentences strongly tend towards their current form. "It was so big it was scary" (without the comma) is like someone speaking quickly and not pausing when you'd expect. Or a computer voice that says every word with the same intonation.

The word "that" is often optional.

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