Category: Who vs. Which vs. That

Rules and Preferences

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, at 1:09 pm

There were fervent protests from readers reacting to “Old Superstitions Die Hard.” The article established that the relative pronoun that refers to people as well as to things and has done so for centuries. Never was an essay more aptly named. “I don’t care what all of your quoted sources say,” wrote a fiery businesswoman. …

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Old Superstitions Die Hard

Posted on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, at 4:15 pm

People that try hard usually succeed. Is that sentence grammatical? Some nitpickers say the relative pronoun that should never refer to humans. Here is an interesting piece of mail that arrived recently: Please review your “rule” about the use of “who” and “that” when referring to persons. The use of “that” when referring to people …

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Media Watch

Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 1:59 pm

Let’s zero in once more on cringe-inducers culled from recent dailies and periodicals … • Newspaper headline: “New look for a old test.” One of the principles of English you would think we all learned in third grade is that the article a goes before consonants (a pen, a hat), and the article an goes …

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That vs. Which

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012, at 2:58 pm

Last week’s grammar tip focused on the rules for using who vs. that. This week, we will learn the rules to guide us on when to use that vs. which. NOTE: We feel that maintaining the distinction between that and which in essential and nonessential phrases and clauses is useful, even though the principle is sometimes disregarded by experienced writers. …

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Who vs. That

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012, at 2:49 pm

In a recent newsletter, I corrected myself after some readers wrote in saying the word that should have been who in the sentence "There's not one mother I know that would allow her child to cross that street alone." However, it got me thinking more about this topic, so I dug a little deeper into …

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