Before You Submit: The Use of ‘That’

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about the use of that.

My editor thought ‘that’ should only be used if it was needed to keep the meaning of the sentence clear. Here’s an example of where it’s not needed.

Kendra smelled the odour of sweat coming from the ski boots that were resting askew on the floor.

The easy fix my editor recommended was to remove ‘that were’ from the sentence. The new sentence becomes:

Kendra smelled the odour of sweat coming from the ski boots resting askew on the floor.

I think the editor was reminding me to cut back on words. There are many places on the internet to get find the detailed rules, but I thought a quick example would give you something to check for in your writing.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.



Thanks for reading . . .



4 thoughts on “Before You Submit: The Use of ‘That’

  1. I use to have issues with could feel. I don’t know what compelled me to use could feel but I finally rid myself of it. That was another tough one to break.


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