1. Just Harry

    Just Harry New Member

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    Grammar Which one is correct?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Just Harry, Apr 15, 2017.

    "At first I wanted to run, but then I realized that if someone wanted to kill me, they would just burst in."
    or
    "At first I wanted to run, but then I realized if someone wanted to kill me, they would just burst in."


    If they are both correct which one would be better? If they are both wrong what can I use instead?
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I've never been clear on when 'that' is considered grammatically appropriate in cases like this, if I'm being honest (and trying to google gets mostly 'that vs which' discussions), so I can't cite any rules, but I think the first sentence reads better.
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I believe that (heh) the "that" is perfectly correct. I perceive its removal as mildly incorrect. But I know that many people advocate for a ruthless assassination of all such "thats".
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think either is correct, slightly prefer the first one, but would almost certainly rewrite the sentence to get rid of the filter words anyway.

    ie. "At first I wanted to run, but if someone wanted to kill me, they would just burst in."
     
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  5. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    The use of 'that' in this context is quickly falling out of fashion. It's deemed redundant and I'm inclined to agree.

    I also don't think you need the second comma either, but @Tenderiser is the person to ask on that front.
     
  6. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I'd go with the first one ... the pacing seems better.
     
  7. Vincent Liang

    Vincent Liang New Member

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    I feel like it depends on the character's voice. If they're a bit more formal and you want to display that aspect of their character, you can use:

    "At first I wanted to run, but then I realized that if someone wanted to kill me, they would just burst in."

    If they aren't as formal (or drop the formality because they're in a terse, dire situation), then you might use:

    "At first I wanted to run, but then I realized if someone wanted to kill me, they would just burst in."

    When writing in the first person, voice becomes much more natural to manipulate and convey, so I would use whichever one fits the character best. You could go even more truncated to reflect the fact that danger is afoot and shorten the sentence even further while still keeping the meaning, such as with:

    "I wanted to run, but if someone wanted to kill me, they'd just burst in."

    While there's certainly a single most grammatically correct choice, favoring a character's voice that reflects their situation (without compromising readability to the point that the reader can't understand you) can feel like the better choice depending on the effect you're trying to go for.
     
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  8. Just Harry

    Just Harry New Member

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    Thank you for all the answers.
     

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