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74
votes
9answers
4k views

When to use “that” and when to use “which”?

When is it appropriate to use that as opposed to which?
15
votes
10answers
2k views

What rules make “Remember me, who am your friend” grammatical?

An acquaintance recalled this specific example from an English textbook, but it is jarring to my native ear. Is this an example of prescriptive grammarians gone wild?
9
votes
2answers
382 views

“That” or “which”? Does it matter?

If I wish to say something along the lines of Consider the bear that scratches his head. It seems to me that I could instead say Consider the bear which scratches his head. I am unsure ...
8
votes
3answers
18k views

Should you use “who” or “that” when talking about multiple people doing something?

Which of the following is correct? There were 10 people that went to the store. There were 10 people who went to the store. Edit: Which of the following is correct? There were 10 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is 'that' sometimes optional before dependent clauses?

Sometimes, the word 'that' to introduce a dependent clause is optional. For example, these sentences both make sense with or without 'that': Long books [that] religious people like tend to be ...
7
votes
1answer
152 views

“I do not know where … is” vs. “I do not know where is …”

Which of the following sentences is correct in the formal context? Both? If possible, please also explain why each of these sentences is correct/incorrect. I do not know where the best place to ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

“all that” vs. “all what”

I’ve heard somebody say: All what is needed is … I thought the correct way to phrase it was: All that is needed is … However, thinking about it more, the former doesn’t sound too ...
6
votes
1answer
227 views

Relative clause introduced by an adverb

“Your employment at Chent will terminate directly we find a suitable replacement.” (John Brunner, Quicksand, 1967) This sentence is said by a highly formal and stuffy character. I guess this use ...
5
votes
3answers
652 views

“He was playing when he fell” or “he fell when he was playing”?

Which one is correct? He fell down when he was playing in the field. He was playing in the field when he fell down. Why?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Using “who” for things (nonliving beings)

On an online typing tutor site I came across the following phrase: We're now going to move on to words who's first letter originates on the top row. Can "who" normally be used in this way (to ...
5
votes
4answers
376 views

Confused with the interpretation of the restrictive relative clause

The sentence: My sister who is from Chicago visited me last weekend. The interpretation from YouTube: I have more than one sisters and I am specifically talking about my sister who is from ...
5
votes
1answer
505 views

Relative pronouns after prepositions: is it okay to use them in speech?

Consider the following usages of relative pronouns: The lecturer introduces a study in which participants were asked to choose one attractive picture. At the university I met famous professors, many ...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

'Which', 'whose' or something else?

I would appreciate your help phrasing the following: I am looking for elements which/whose/... size/sizes is/are relatively large.
4
votes
2answers
217 views

Relative clause with “whose”

I just read the following sentence in a short-biography: "Peter was born in England in 1982, whose parents were from Japan and India." I think that the use of the relative pronoun "whose" is wrong ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “of which” a proper way to begin a relative clause? [closed]

Germany is subdivided into 16 (federal) states, of which Bavaria is the largest. The thing is that my dictionary is not perfectly clear about this, i.e. there is no direct translation available. ...
4
votes
2answers
383 views

Using “that” before a preposition

It's correct to say: Here's a nice recording, which I think you will like listening to. Here's a nice recording that I think you will like listening to. What about these? Here's a nice ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Independent clause markers

I understand independent clauses, and how there are certain markers such as however, therefore, consequently which can denote an independent clause. The common example of use is when one of them ...
4
votes
1answer
35 views

In “set of reasons that” what does *that* modify?

Suppose that there is a survey of people asking them their reasons for thinking or behaving a certain way. While analyzing the survey results, a researcher may discuss all the different reasons the ...
4
votes
2answers
576 views

Can I replace “that is/are (supposed) to” with just “to”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? [This method] binds a handler to one or more events to be executed once for each matched element. source Is it just a contraction of the following ...
4
votes
6answers
302 views

Help reworking a sentence to make it less ambigious

Are there any rules governing what the "which" refers to in a sentence like this: Every five minutes, the Node.js application posts a JSON document to my CouchDB instance which looks like: ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Proper usage of 'which' in a sentence

I read the post Usage of "which", and am trying to frame my own sentence that uses "which". Consider the sentences below. In the first, I want to say that variable shadowing is the reason ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Are you comfortable with who(m) he is?

Are you comfortable with him? (correct) Are you comfortable with whom he is? (??) You're comfortable with whom he is. (??) Are you comfortable with who he is? (??) You're comfortable ...
3
votes
2answers
435 views

“It is having time to think that makes me depressed” — grammatical function of “that”?

It is having time to think that makes me depressed. In this sentence, what is the grammatical function of the word that?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is 'what' both relative adjective and relative pronoun?

The body was no longer twitching. The skin had taken on a milky bluish tinge. The corner of the mouth seemed to have stopped bleeding, and what little blood was still visible now appeared very ...
3
votes
3answers
392 views

Can “whose” refer to a first-person subject in the third person?

This question came from a friend. It is from a college entrance exam for non-native English speakers. Link the following sentences with "whose": I was a small kid. My classmates laughed at ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“Whoever” Vs. “Whomever”

On the subject of "whoever" and "whomever", I was reading this but I am still confused: http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/whoever.asp What is the correct use of whoever/whomever in the following ...
3
votes
2answers
103 views

“stopping to refill his cup when she did”

Consider the following sentence: She got up to get some of the coffee he had made, stopping to refill his cup when she did. What does the subordinate clause in this sentence mean? Does it mean ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

“that which” used together

When I read essays from Eliot, I find him using "that which" frequently, e.g. the combination which is the murder of Agamemnon is probably as complex as that which is the voyage of Ulysses. A ...
3
votes
1answer
501 views

Omissions of “that” in a relative clause [duplicate]

I am not clear on when the word "that" can be omitted in a relative clause. I only know that when the modified noun is the object in the clause, the antecedent "that" can be omitted. Are there any ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

How to conjugate verb in relative clause where case changes? [duplicate]

I'm not sure how the following sentence should be built: "She gives a blanket to me, who (am/is/?) cold" I can't come up with anything that sounds right, and I'm not certain there is a right. Can ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

What would be the difference between past and present tense here?

1.) I assumed you were the type who kept your promises. vs. 2.) I assumed you were the type who keeps your promises.
2
votes
2answers
155 views

correct usage of 'which'

If I say this sentence, would it be meaningful? Similarly, trees can be described by neighborhood relations which we can see how trees exist with other objects in reality Actually what I want ...
2
votes
1answer
819 views

Word order in defining and non-defining relative clauses

With defining relative clauses, there is a different word order according to the status of the relative pronoun in the sentence (that is, it can be either the subject or the object of the relative ...
2
votes
2answers
100 views

Is this a complete sentence or two? [closed]

Given the example (from a British novel, The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life) Well what did I expect who said it would be easy? I will not let this defeat me. I will persist. Is the first ...
2
votes
1answer
490 views

Relative clauses: integrated, restrictive, non-restrictive, supplementary

H. W. Fowler established a terminology (I do not know if it originates with him), where clauses that are related to another clause through a pronoun are called relative clauses; he further drew a ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Advanced rules for shortening relative clauses with a participle?

Once again, a problem encountered while marking German pupils' exams. We teach them the following rules: A present participle can be used to shorten an active relative clause: The boy who ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Finnegan's Wake: “the least successful of whom was…” [closed]

Does the following sentence sound awkward because of the positioning of whom? Beans grew up in a Roman Catholic household with four brothers; the least successful of whom was the bank president.
2
votes
2answers
811 views

Can adjectives be placed without a noun after them?

Adjectives are placed before nouns. But sometimes I've seen (though I'm not sure if they are correct), things like: The item placed there I know that it may be a short way of saying "The item ...
2
votes
3answers
87 views

Usage of “what”

We recently did a test and we stumbled upon the following sentence: This film is better than ... we saw yesterday. With the answers: a, which b, - c, what d, that I choose "what" and the ...
2
votes
2answers
51 views

How to avoid a preposition at the end of a relative clause

In this example: I am adverting to (noun, eg letter), the reception of which I am asking/tentative about. How can I recast this sentence, and preserve this syntax, without the "empty ...
2
votes
2answers
112 views

To use vs Make use of. when to use what

I often hear 'to make use of something'. Is there any difference from just 'to use something'?
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Is *aware of* grammatically correct in this sentence?

Is there a better way to write this? After you called me at home – angry about a request I did not make, nor was aware of – I cried in front of my family. Second, is of a dangling participle in ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

“for which” vs. “for what”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: "Which" vs "what" - what's the difference and when should you use one or the other? Q: What's the rule-of-thumb on "for which" vs. "for what" ...
2
votes
1answer
823 views

Can “who” as a relative pronoun sometimes be omitted?

Somebody once observed two things: people often omit the relative pronoun "who" or "whom" to avoid having to worry about which is grammatically correct however, in all cases where it can be omitted, ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Is the “to” required in “the person (to) whom I granted freedom”?

I had this phrase "the person whom I granted freedom" in something I wrote; a friend maintains that it must be "the person to whom I granted freedom."
2
votes
0answers
17 views

“Who” usage in interrogative form [duplicate]

When using "who" in a question, which is correct: Is it I who has erred? Is it I who have erred? The latter seems correct by test (take out who), but the former seems correct by question form ...
1
vote
8answers
462 views

Is this usage of 'for which' correct?

I recently typed the following to a friend in an email: Last night I went to the theatre to see a play with X. Before that, we went for dinner at a nearby pub for which my cousin came along. Now ...
1
vote
8answers
563 views

“I know that that that school that is famous because of its rules.” — Can this sentence work?

This is the sentence: I know that that that school that is famous because of its rules. I think the first that is a relative pronoun, the second also and the third is a demonstrative pronoun, ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

Adjective clause with 'so'

I can't find any grammar reference to the correct usage of a specifying adjective clause. Consider an example: The physical activity, so vital for the developing body, is often overlooked by the ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

Does “sell” have a direct object in “This is the car that Peter wants to sell”?

For the below sentence, I can identify "This car" as the direct object of the verb "sell". Peter wants to sell this car. However, if the sentence is changed as follows, does the verb "sell" ...