1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Hacking off "of" and "that" from sentences

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by John Carlo, May 26, 2010.

    Hey all,
    Is it acceptable to just take out the words "of" and "that" in the following kinds of phrases:

    all of those, so that it instead reads, all those

    and

    they would think that I am crazy - a Hemingway line from "The Old Man and the Sea" - so that it instead reads, they would think I am crazy
     
  2. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    Re “of.” In more formal writing I’d say retain the “of.” In informal writing, its removal may be O.K., but only if it doesn’t affect the meaning of the sentence or look too awkward.

    For example: “Get real Jim--all those men are idiots.” That’s clear and not awkward.

    But in this next example, you wouldn’t want to remove it (unless the character can’t speak properly):

    “All them were late.”

    Clearly the “of” is an essential bit of “glue” in the above example.

    In both formal and informal writing, you don’t need to say “off of.” Drop the “of.” For example, don’t write: "I wiped it off of the table."

    Re “that.” Remove it, provided the meaning of the sentence isn’t changed.

    I’m pretty sure, although I don’t have it in front of me, that Fowler’s Modern English Usage says not to bother using “that” after “provided” in sentences such as the one above.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'that' can be left out more often than not and still be both good grammar and reader-friendly...

    'of' can also be done without in many cases, but neither should be subjected to an all-purpose 'not needed' rule... decide on a case by case basis and make sure you're still making good sense...
     

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