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That Way signI learned a lot about editing from Kathleen Imhoff, a friend and former librarian, who has edited hundreds of books. One thing she taught me is to eliminate unneeded use of the word “that”. I have become sensitive to the word in my own writing, and also in the writing of others. Journalists and authors seem to love the word. My pick of the week comes from the Wall Street Journal.

“A se­nior ad­min­istra­tion of­fi­cial said that idea is one that is on the ta­ble, but em­pha­sized that no fi­nal de­ci­sions have been made.”

Here is a re-do. “A se­nior ad­min­istra­tion of­fi­cial said the idea is on the ta­ble, but em­pha­sized no fi­nal de­ci­sions have been made.” 

Both versions are ok, but the re-do reads more smoothly to me.