I am now immensely conscious of every that that (sic) I use in my writing. Some, at least, seem essential. Others merely help the sentence flow. Some are mere padding and can be safely removed. I can under some curcumstnaces reword the sentence to avoid "that" but the rewording can subtly change the communication, especially if I am trying to convey a character or narrator's voice. For example: (1) "you live in a way that is so cut of from everything else, that people give you space". First That can't be removed but could be replaced by which; second one can be removed. "you live in a way which is so cut of from everything else, people give you space". The difficulty is that I hear my narrator saying "that" not "which". "Which" sounds too educated, too correct. (2) "I don’t know about that" This seems to me to be true to the way people talk. What else could I use? "I don't know it's true" perhaps? Doesn't quite fit the bill. (3) "I was a welder by training and that’s how I got into the circus line." Again, "that" seems necessary there. I could say "I was a welder by training, which is how I got into the circus line." but I feel I'm losing my narrator's voice. People often don't speak, or think, in correct English. (4) He’s a man of few words and that suits me. Same problem. I could say "He’s a man of few words which suits me" but that's not how I hear the narrator's voice in my head. (5) " 'I’m Carlo’s niece,' she said. That stopped me. If she’d said anyone else’s name, I’d have gone up the steps and slammed the door in her face." I could avoid that "that", but only by being more longwinded. "Her words stopped me." Much less punch. (6) "After that it seemed she always seemed to be there." (7) "There was a lot of ill feeling against Bella after that, and that’s why she left. " Both that's serve a purpose but I feel I need to reword to avoid having two that's in the same sentence. (7) "What I didn’t know at the time was that she would be trouble for me" I could change the sentence to "What I didn’t know at the time was she would be trouble for me" or even "What I didn’t know at the time was, she would be trouble for me" but both sound wrong to me. I hear them with a US accent. So why am I finding "that" so indispensible in my writing? Is this a UK English/US English thing? So many sentences sound American to my ear if I take out the "that"?