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Which is the formal one?

  • Given I’m tired, I won’t be there.
  • Given that I am tired, I won’t be there.

Can we omit the “that” after “given” or it won’t be formal anymore?

Other examples:

  • I don’t like you, given you’ve been mean lately.
  • I don’t like you, given that you’ve been mean lately.

*formal please

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    Both of those example sentences should include that, but that's not always the case. (1) Given my tiredness, I won't be there. (2) I don't like you, given your meanness lately. It's use depends on context. (Note that neither of my two counterexamples would work if that were added.) I believe the general rule is it should not be present if it's immediately followed by a noun or noun phrase, but if it's followed by a verbal phrase or clause, then you need it. Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 2:32
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    The general rule is indeed "given" followed by a noun/noun phrase, and "given that' followed by a clause. But the second usage can still legally omit "that`" exactly the same way "He said that it's true" or "He said it's true" are both correct.
    – Son Nguyen
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 11:58
  • So, is this sentence correct : Given that I am tired, I won’t be there to the party tonight. And if I said : Given I am tired, I won’t be there to the party tonight. (It’s informal?) Thanks for your answers!
    – Nina
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 13:14

2 Answers 2

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The issue is not formal speech/writing versus casual speech/writing; the issue is how given or given that is functioning grammatically in the sentence.

Given is a preposition -- a word that typically combines with a phrase to form a modifying phrase. (Examples of common prepositions = between, among, under, and on; when inserted into a prepositional phrase, they modify a noun, as in the book is on the table, the book is under the table, the book is between the sofa cushions, etc.)

The preposition given means "in view of" or "considering," and it appears at the start of a modifying phrase (not at the start of a complete sentence): Given the high cost of gas, I had to stop driving. I canceled the reservation, given his allergy to shellfish.

Given that is a compound conjunction. Conjunctions join parallel elements -- in the following examples, the conjunction joins two complete sentences: He bought a laptop so that he could work from home. She feels much happier now that she has moved out of her sister's flat. The boss deemed the purchase unnecessary given that she planned to sell the firm.

Parts of speech are not interchangeable. You can't use a preposition (a modifier) where a conjunction (a joiner) is needed. Both of the examples you shared require given that (conjunction) because both are composed of two complete sentences that need to be joined: Given THAT I’m tired, I won’t be there. I don’t like you, given THAT you’ve been mean lately.

I've been a copy editor and a writer for 30+ years, and I checked reference books to make sure that my post is accurate (it is).

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Given I’m tired, I won’t be there.
Given that I am tired, I won’t be there.

"Given" is normally followed by what is given, i.e. a noun.

"that I'm tired" is a noun phrase, so is quite appropriate.
"I'm tired" is a statement, so is formally wrong.

It would be okay, but slightly awkward, to omit the "that" when speaking informally.
But it's never wrong to include the "that", and when writing one should always do so.

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