“That” is often useless fat that slows down an otherwise elegant sentence. Fortunately, misuse of “that” is one of the easiest patterns to find and evaluate.

I think that you and I need to talk.
I told my readers that I would post an article about speechwriting.

Two scoops are particularly fattening:

I think that that is a capital idea.

The use of “that” may be technically correct, but in many cases, “that” is superfluous; it adds no clarity. The example sentences function just as well without it.

I think you and I need to talk.
I told my readers I would post an article about . I think that is a capital idea.

Of course, “that” can help to differentiate between “this” and an array of other choices. In my “two scoops” example, I underlined the second “that” because that one isn't the “that” that's causing the problem. “That” is fine when used as a pronoun or an adjective.

Could you hand that to me? (used as a pronoun)
I don't like that sentence. (used as an adjective)
That's what it takes to be a writer. (used as a pronoun)

Our own style habits are often invisible to us, but words like “that” can be easily searched for and found with your 's “find” function. Locate each occurrence of “that” in your and make a conscious decision about whether to leave or delete it.

Sometimes, you'll find that an unnecessary “that” sounds better. Leave it.

Sometimes “that” is used correctly as a pronoun or adjective. Leave it.

Like great , great is a process of subtraction. Identify “red flag” words and writing patterns to get the objective handle you need to track down and eliminate fat from your writing.

And that is that.