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US English "that" - puzzling grammatical structure

Posted by Anders on November 29, 2003

"That," it seems to me, is used more often in US English than in British English. We have the colloquial "that" where grammarians would have preferred "which." That is, in the non-defining relative clause. Then there is another type of "that" with which I would like your help, as I don't know what to make of it. E.g.: "It's recognizable enough that most people understand what you mean, but it's just out-of-date enough (and silly sounding) to elicit a smile." (Word Spy defining "tomfoolery"). Thus, we have "enough . . . that". The sentence could also have been rendered "It's recognizable enough FOR most people TO understand what you mean . . ." Would you say the latter is more formal, or more British (or both)? In addition to "enough . . . that", we may of course have "sufficient . . . that" etc. Can you think of any other examples? Can you say, for instance, "The price is just right, THAT people will want to buy it"? If so, then what's this tricky "that" called (or the grammatical structure of which this type of "that" is part)? Is it colloquial usage in all instances? Oh, I've got an idea! Maybe it's just that "so" before "that" has been omitted?