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So I understand that comma should not be added before a “that” when it serves as a relative pronoun or conjunction. But I just encountered this sentence:

“I noticed right away how meticulous he was, that for him there is no such thing as a trifling concern, every case was important and required attention and care.”

What is the function of the “that” here? Adverb?

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In your sentence you simply have two object clauses separated by a comma:

I noticed right away (object clause 1) how meticulous he was, (object clause 2) that for him there is no such thing as a trifling concern, every case was important and required attention and care.

That here is a conjunction, not an adverb, and it is introducing a that-clause which happens to be an object clause in this case. To simplify your sentence, think of it like that:

I knew that he was meticulous, that for him there is no trifling concern.

In simplifying this sentence, I was mindful of simplifying the structure, not of preserving the precise meaning.

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  • Thank you, fev. This is vey helpful. So, is the last part of the sentence also an object clause? “I knew that he was meticulous, that for him there is no trifling concern, and that (for him?) every case was important and required attention and care” ?
    – sho
    Dec 9, 2020 at 8:24
  • yes, well spotted. In fact there are two other object clauses there connected by and which explain in greater detail the previous clause that for him there is no such thing as a trifling concern. So your sentence would look like that: _I noticed right away how meticulous he was, that for him there is no such thing as a trifling concern, that every case was important and that every case required attention and care.”
    – fev
    Dec 9, 2020 at 9:01
  • How meticulous he was and that for him there is no such thing as a trifling concern are not objects. Only NPs can be objects. They are both subordinate clauses functioning as complement of "noticed".
    – BillJ
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:25

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