You see this phrase often. I use it; you use it; The New York Times
The phrase is “the fact that.”
In The Elements of Style
, William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White devote a paragraph to the term that made Strunk “quiver with revulsion
.” They insist “the fact that” should be revised in every instance.
The writer Bill Bryson is more forgiving.
In his book, Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words
, he says that Strunk and White might be putting it a “trifle strongly,” but he still urges writers to omit the phrase.
“The phrase generally signals a sentence that could profitably be recast,” he writes.
Bryson provides this example in his book:
“Blumenbach, on the other hand, was astutely aware of the fact that apparently closely allied species could differ markedly in the kinds and morphologies of the teeth they possessed.”
Bryson says: “Remove ‘of the fact’ and the sentence loses nothing in terms of sense.”
Seems easy enough. I’ll promise to omit the phrase if you do.