HomeQ&AHow many thats can you put together?

How many thats can you put together?

4
votes

My dad and I did this once. We tried to see how many thats we could string together in an unbroken chain and still have a sentence that made sense.

Our record was 5.

The teacher said that that that that that boy used was wrong.

It makes perfect sense to me. Does it to you? Can you get even more thats together? (It has to make sense and be grammatically correct).

8991 views
updated OCT 8, 2010
posted by webdunce
My roommate in the Army used to do that a lot. He stuttered. - 0068e2f4, NOV 13, 2009
My dad had a boss who stuttered that way (repeating the same word several times). The boss said he hated going to McDonalds as he couldn't go there without ordering 30 hamburgers. - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
jajajaja - 0068e2f4, NOV 13, 2009

11 Answers

3
votes

More commonly you'll see two thats. One is being used as a conjuction (Spanish uses que) and the second is being used as an adjective or occasionally as a pronoun (Spanish would use eso/a in both cases).

She said that that boy was sick. (Ella dice que eso niño estaba enfermo.)

Then there is the pluperfect or past perfect of "to have," which is "had had."

I had had breakfast already. (Yo ya había tenido desayuno.)

I can get three hads in a row. (Picture the word "had" written on a chalkboard, with a line drawn through it).

That had had had a line drawn through it.

updated OCT 8, 2010
posted by webdunce
2
votes

I can get 11 "had"'s .....

Smith, where Jones had had "had had", had had "had". "Had had" had had the teacher's approval.

Beat That!!!! grin

updated OCT 8, 2010
posted by sheila-foster
whoa..! I feel dizzy ;)) - Issabela, NOV 13, 2009
Wow! I concede my title. Now I'm just the greatest "had been." - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
It took me awhile to make sense of it, too...but it does. - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
Of course, using quotes is cheating! (Just kidding) - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
1
vote

perfectly clear, web, wonderful example, jejegrin

Could not be possible in Spanish.

updated NOV 13, 2009
posted by 00494d19
1
vote

The boss said to the new labourer go and get a shovel off donkey over there so he went for the shovel and then asked, why did he call you donkey? I i i don't know he haw he haw he haw he he always calls me that.

updated NOV 13, 2009
posted by kenwilliams
funny :-) - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
1
vote

La maestra dice que ese eso que ese niño usaba era incorrecto.

I have a question regarding this sentence. Since the use of that that is a single action completed in the past, why isn't usar in the preterite tense? Is it because it set the scene for the teacher's correction, and if so why isn't that in the preterite?

updated NOV 13, 2009
edited by lorenzo9
posted by lorenzo9
Good question, I hope it gets answered. - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
1
vote

Fascinating, webdunce! I love linguistic puzzles like this. grin

It made me wonder if there was anything on the www and I actually found two wiki articles that mentions this style of "lexical ambiguity."

Here's the example (and link) I found in wiki that uses 'that':

That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

This apparently is four distinct sentences that lack punctuation. However I don't think this example is as good as the one you have. (Maybe you should contribute the sentence you and your dad came up with! wink)

Sheila said: Smith, where Jones had had "had had", had had "had". "Had had" had had the teacher's approval.

Issabela said: whoa..! I feel dizzy

If that is true then this example might just push you over the edge into nausea! ill

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

Thanks for starting such an interesting post! smile

updated NOV 13, 2009
posted by chaparrito
good links. - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
1
vote

The teacher said that that that that that boy used was wrong.

Replace the bold that with "that that that that that" and it would be a correct sentence about a teacher correcting an incorrect use of "that that that that that" by a student. Now that we have a correct sentence with 8 thats, we can add 4 more in the same manner. This process can be iterated to produce a sentence with an arbitrarily large number of thats in a row.

updated NOV 13, 2009
edited by lorenzo9
posted by lorenzo9
You get a vote just for using the word "iterated" in a sentence, and correctly at that. - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
1
vote

La maestra dice que ese eso que ese niño usaba era incorrecto.

grin

updated NOV 13, 2009
posted by 00494d19
Wow...I've been saying/writing eso all this time (embarrassed). - webdunce, NOV 13, 2009
0
votes

I had said:

La maestra dice que esa eso que eso niño usó estaba incorrecto.

.

Heidita corrected me:

La maestra dice que ese eso que ese niño usaba era incorrecto.

.

So, actually, I am the boy who used that incorrectly, and Heidita is the teacher who said so.

Could it get any more ironic than that?

updated NOV 13, 2009
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
0
votes

The teacher said that that that that that boy used was wrong.

In Spanish, I think that would be:

La maestra dice que esa eso que eso niño usó estaba incorrecto.

updated NOV 13, 2009
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
0
votes

No, I can get four hads...

(Picture the word had on a chalkboard, another had had been drawn next to it and now is erased)

That had had had had drawn next to it.

updated NOV 13, 2009
posted by webdunce
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