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Is this sentence using "that" correctly? Is it correct?

It's a story about the brotherhood of people, that we are all children of the same land.

Can a conjunction be dropped in these types of examples for flow, for instance?

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  • As a written sentence, it is horribly clunky in writing.
    – Fattie
    Commented May 19 at 14:48

2 Answers 2

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That's a fairly natural way for someone to speak without preparation, but in writing it isn't great. I'd expect an editor or standardized test examiner to mark it wrong.

The structure here is an appositive. An appositive is where one phrase follows another, usually separated by a comma, and one identifies the other in some way. When using this structure, both phrases should be of the same category. Some simpler examples:

Einstein, the mathematician who discovered the power of atomic energy
"Christine", a Stephen King novel about a car that kills people
Communism, a social system without private property

Notice that both terms are of the same type: person-person, book-book, system-system.

It's bad grammar for the types not to align:

*Einstein, that he discovered the power of atomic energy

Here we have "Einstein", a person, and "that he discovered the power of atomic energy", which is a description of Einstein, rather than a person.

In your sentence, the phrase "the brotherhood of people" is a concept, but "that we are all children of the same land" is a description of the concept. These two things are not similar enough to be in apposition in formal writing.

"Brotherhood" and "children" could be in apposition though, because they're both groups of people.

Here's two improved versions of the sentence with that in mind:

It's a story about the brotherhood of people, the concept that we are all children of the same land.

It's a story showing that we are a brotherhood of people, that we are all children of the same land.

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    If you're going to insist on matching phrases, then your first proposed edit is ok, but not your second. The two instances of that are inconsistent. I'd drop the second "that": It's a story that shows we are a brotherhood of people, we are all children of the same land. Commented May 19 at 1:31
  • @PeterKirkpatrick Thanks. How now?
    – gotube
    Commented May 19 at 1:48
  • How is this not editing? Where is the "research" from the OP?
    – Lambie
    Commented May 19 at 19:51
  • @Lambie There's certainly room for improvement on the question. It's initially phrased as a request for proofreading, but the learning intent becomes clear later. Also, it would be better if the OP had mentioned they searched online and found nothing, but I myself wouldn't know how to look that up online, never mind someone without my education and professional background, so I gave it a pass. I didn't edit anything, so I don't know what you mean by that.
    – gotube
    Commented May 19 at 19:57
  • Lookit, you can't play same game two ways. No point in endless palavering. I'm sure you get my point re yesterday/the other day. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented May 19 at 19:59
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Is this sentence using that correctly? Is it correct?

Yes, that usage is correct. That here means roughly "the fact that" or "the reality that".

Can a conjunction be dropped in these types of examples for flow, for instance.

I don't know what conjunction you have in mind here.

The clause "that we are all children of the same land" is an appositive; it refers to the same thing as, and elaborates on, the phrase "the brotherhood of people". (It's analogous to saying "It's a story about Benjamin Disraeli, a British statesman who served as Prime Minister in the 1860s and 1870s.")

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