...make sure (that), if he gets released, that he now can't do...

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
In a CNN's townhall meeting, President Obama was responding to a rape survivor who defended her Constitutional right to bear arms in defense of herself and her family:

...
And what is also true is, there’s always the possibility that that firearm in a home leads to a tragic accident. Y’know, we can debate that, round or flat. But for now, what I just want to focus on is that you certainly would like to make it a little harder for that assailant to have also had a gun. You certainly would want to make sure that, if he gets released, that he now can’t do what he did to you to somebody else.
...
(For more context, see this article)
Regarding the last sentence, are these variations grammatical?
(1) ...make sure that, if he gets released, that he now can’t do... [original]
(2) ...make sure, if he gets released, that he now can’t do...
(3) ...make sure that if he gets released, he now can’t do...
(4) ...make sure, if he gets released, he now can’t do...

I think that (2) and (3) are fine, and that (4) is problematic. Do you agree?

But I didn't know that you could put both the that's as in (1).
Is (1) grammatical even in writing?
Or is (1) only allowed in speech?
Or is (1) simply an error attributable to spontaneous speech like this one?
 
  • 1) Yes, it contains a redundancy. Common in speech. 3) I like. 4) is more subject to interpretation, but is not defective.

    Note that the meaning of 2) is slightly different or ambiguous; as is 4).

    NOTE: English allows two that's in the following case: "I'm sure that that man is the one who attacked me." But in the OP sentence, the two that's don't fit this possibility.
     
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