This was a problem (that) he had to face.

I find it a little odd (that) you don't get out much.

Are these two that-omission situations the same (e.g. regarding to parts of speech)? Why or why not?

  • 1
    What do you think? Do the sentences have the same structure in terms of what "that" is connecting?
    – nschneid
    Oct 21, 2021 at 13:58
  • 1
    @nschneid In the first sentence, I see a noun before that. In the second, it seems to be an adjective ... but I'm not very sure.
    – alexchenco
    Oct 21, 2021 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


Right, as you point out in the comment, the first one is in relation to a noun. It is a relative clause modifying a noun: This was a problem [that he had to face] (which implies He had to face a problem). "That" is completely optional in this relative clause.

In the second sentence I would say "that you don't get out much" is a clause functioning as a nominal with it-extraposition. Compare I find that you don't get out much (to be) a little odd—"that" is mandatory here. Omitting "that" as in I find it a little odd you don't get out much may be more informal.

  • 2
    To see the difference, replace "that" with "which." The first sentence still works, the second doesn't. Oct 21, 2021 at 22:04
  • @AndyBonner That's a good test. Thanks for suggesting it.
    – alexchenco
    Oct 26, 2021 at 13:02

In either case, 'that' is not required. They are the same for omitting 'that'.

I don't know why however from the years of writing I have done, I know that you don't need 'That'.

However, I would say that not omitting it is not too bad. It makes sense but makes the sentences wordier.

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