Tricky English Words: “That”

1) That can be a demonstrative pronoun.

It can be the subject or the object of a sentence. It replaces is singular or non-count noun.

(For an explanation of this grammar term, visit this website: Ginger Software – What is a Demonstrative Pronoun?)

Do you see that? That is a bull.

The woman is riding on the handlebars of the man’s bike. That looks dangerous. You know that, right?

That #1 = riding on the handlebars.

That #2 = riding on the handlebars is dangerous.

2) That can also be a demonstrative adjective.

In this role it emphasizes the importance of the noun. A demonstrative adjective comes directly in front of a noun. The noun must be singular or non-count.

That woman is scary. I’m afraid to talk to that woman.

(For an explanation of this grammar term, visit this website: Grammar Monster – What is a Demonstrative Adjective?)

 3) That can also begin an adjective clause.

An adjective clause describes a noun. It follows the noun it describes. The noun can be singular or plural.

(You can find explanations of adjective clauses in other blog postings on this site.)

The bag that the woman is carrying is full of apples. The bag that she is carrying is yellow. The apples that are in the bag are red.

4) That can also begin a noun clause.

A noun clause has a subject and a verb and replaces a noun.

(You can find explanations of noun clauses in other blog postings on this site.)

He is pretending that he is playing a guitar.

That he is doing this at work is funny.

You Practice: Write the number that shows how “that” is being used in these sentences. (Answers are below.)
  1. We all know that grammar is difficult.
  2. Where are my keys? That is strange. I can’t find them.
  3. The last movie that I saw was from Nicaragua.
  4. That bird is so beautiful.
  5. That vegetables are healthy makes me eat a lot of them.
  6. Did you understand the question that he asked?
  7. I want to buy that computer.
  8. Do you hear that? What is that noise?
  9. I learned that albatross can sleep while they are flying. That is amazing!


  1. #4
  2. #1
  3. #3
  4. #2
  5. #4
  6. #3
  7. #2
  8. #1/#2
  9. #4 / #1