Removing “The Fact That/Of” Phrases

by | Grammar Tips, Writing Tips | 0 comments

Many people believe using phrases that contain “the fact that” to connect their points or ideas sound factual, precise, resolute or authoritative. However, much like the word “literally,” “the fact that” phrases have become so over- and misused that they almost always weaken your writing. In formal writing, you should do your best to avoid “the fact that / of”. In this article, I’ll teach you how to remove or replace these tedious phrases and more efficiently and effectively bridge your ideas and points.

Reasons to Avoid “The Fact That” Phrases 

  1. Often the thing you are claiming is a “fact” is actually an opinion or speculation.
  2. Even if you are stating a fact, your reader likely doesn’t need you to point it out. You’re being redundant.
  3. “The fact that” is actually a conversational phrase we typically use in defensive, argumentative, or “emotionally charged” spoken contexts. When you use “the fact that” in writing, you risk sounding like an emotional, defiant teenager [or just an inexperienced professional].
  4. People can perceive your [over]using “the fact that” as a manipulative or distractive writing style with which you attempt to persuade or compel through emotion and verbosity.  Don’t overinflate your arguments or points. Just state the facts.

Good news, though. “The fact that” phrases are some of the easiest wordy phrases to fix.

3 Common “The Fact That” Constructions and Phrases 

  1. The fact of + noun / verb
  2. Due to / because of / by / given + the fact that
  3. “Despite the fact that” and “in spite of the fact that”

How to Fix Them

1. The fact of + noun/verb [something / doing something]

This is the easiest to fix. Simply remove “the fact of.” 

Examples

 INSTEAD OF THIS WRITE THIS
The Agency’s authority is to acknowledge the fact of unfair competition [noun]. The Agency’s authority is to acknowledge unfair competition
We would not likely receive an official act confirming the fact of destruction [noun].  We would not likely receive an official act confirming destruction. 
The fact of threading [verb, gerund form] suture 15 through opening 23 indicates that the securing elements 15 and 16 can slide along suture 17. Threading suture 15 through opening 23 indicates that the securing elements 15 and 16 can slide along suture 17. 

 

2.  Due to / because of / by / given+ the fact that

Due to / because of / by / given the fact that express a causal relationship. To express causality in a more professional and concise way, just use because. Simply replace your wordy phrase with “because”, and you’ll be good to go!

! Punctuation note:  You can place “because” at the beginning or middle of your sentence.  If “because” is located at the beginning of your sentence, you need a comma to separate the 2 clauses.  If “because” is located in the middle of your sentence, you do not need a comma to separate the clauses. When “because” is located in the middle of your sentence, it replaces the comma and links the independent and subordinate clause.  These are the same punctuation rules you may know about in conditional sentences with “if”.

Examples

INSTEAD OF THIS  WRITE THIS 
Due to the fact that the word elements comprise identical letters, the marks are phonetically similar. Because the word elements comprise identical letters, the marks are phonetically similar. 
XYZ cannot be registered in Germany for cosmetics due to the fact of the existing trademark, ABC, Reg. No. 123456. XYZ cannot be registered in Germany for cosmetics because of the existing trademark, ABC, Reg. No. 123456. 
The fact that your product bears the ‘Eagle’ insignia, it causes confusion with our client’s mark. Because your product bears the ‘Eagle’ insignia, it causes confusion with our client’s mark.
We confirmed unauthorized use by the fact that the web site www.XYZco.com contains a statement that it provided access to the product database. We confirmed unauthorized use because the web site www.XYZCo.com contains a statement that it provided access to the product database. 

3.  “Despite the fact that” and “in spite of the fact that”

 

Despite/ in spite of the fact that” show contrast, but are also wordy. Use thoughalthough or even though instead.  You can directly replace them.

! Note: “although” and “though” are more or less synonyms. Use them both with little change in tone when you need variation in your text.  “Even though” is the most emphatic. Use it when you want to stress a point.

More formal / to-the-point: though

More conversational/ slightly friendlier: although

More emphatic:  even though

Note: You can place though, although and even though at the beginning or in the middle of your sentence.  Be sure to follow the same punctuation rules as discussed in #2.

Examples

INSTEAD OF THIS  WRITE THIS
Despite the fact that some obstacles may arise, we could overcome them with simple arguments. Though some obstacles may arise, we could overcome them with simple arguments.
Despite the fact that the Court’s freezing order prohibits cancelling and deleting the domain, we recommend YOUR COMPANY Inc. double check with the registrar. Although the Court’s freezing order prohibits cancelling and deleting the domain name, we recommend YOUR COMPANY Inc. double check with the registrar.
Official records indicate he lives in Dnipro despite the fact that Dnipropetrovsk changed its name after a Parliamentary resolution on May 19, 2016. Official records indicate he lives in Dnipro even though Dnipropetrovsk changed its name after a Parliamentary resolution on May 19, 2016.
Local and regional companies traditionally apply for trademarks for class headings in spite of the fact that the scope is interpreted literally.  Local and regional companies traditionally apply for trademarks for class headings even though the scope is interpreted literally.

Other Situations

In some situations, a direct replacement for “the fact that” does not exist, so you have to reengineer your sentence, thinking creatively about grammar and word choice.  In these situations, “the fact that” could work, but I would encourage you to work on breaking this habit and finding alternatives.

Examples

INSTEAD OF THIS WRITE THIS
The fact that they changed the website is a sign that they are not willing to litigate even if they did not answer our letter. They changed the website, which is a sign they are not willing to litigate even if they did not answer our letter.
Customs drew our attention to the fact that the the tester cap differs from non-tester perfume cap. Customs pointed out that / mentioned that the tester cap differs from the non-tester perfume cap.
We recommend relying on the fact that the Court may not accept new evidence We recommend presuming / being ready to accept that the Court may not accept new evidence.

There you have it. With a little practice you can easily remove “the fact that” phrases and improve your writing.  If you need further explanation or assistance, please get in touch!