Can you delete the word ‘that’ from your writing?

According to one writer, there are at least three instances when you need ‘that,’ and two when you should cut it.

Is that advice accurate?

“Whether you say ‘I think you are wrong’ or ‘I think that you are wrong’ is partly a matter of idiom but mostly a matter of preference,” author Bill Bryson explains in his book, Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words.

Bryson does offer some guidelines. Three words require “that,” he says.

1. Assert
2. Contend
3. Maintain

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