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105
votes
10answers
9k views

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

When is it appropriate to use that as opposed to which?
11
votes
6answers
989 views

Why does legal English sometimes repeat the antecedent noun after “which”?

Here's a standard English sentence: The folder which is missing from the principal's office contained the answers to today's exam. (Separate question, discussed elsewhere I'm sure, whether it ...
9
votes
3answers
557 views

The use of nominative “whom”

From page 48 of Law: A Very Short Introduction, by Raymond Wacks: In other words, you owe a duty to persons whom it is foreseeable are likely to be harmed by your conduct. To try to parse this, ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

“The way in which”: a grammar mistake or not?

I'm studying English pronouns and my book says that the sentence "the way in which" is incorrect and I have to use, instead, only "the way". Is it true? And if so, why? Here are some sentences: ...
6
votes
1answer
424 views

Whoever or whomever: 'happy for ___ has the pleasure of working with you next.'

So sad to lose you, yet happy for whomever has the pleasure of working with you next.
6
votes
2answers
61 views

“It was the kind of story that / where you had to be there.” — Are the relative words 'where' and 'that' interchangeable?

Consider this exchange: A: Your story wasn't funny at all. B: Maybe it was the kind of story where you had to be there. I encountered something like that a few days ago, and wondered if the ...
6
votes
2answers
239 views

Grammatically, why does it seem that 'that' can't follow the verb expressing propositional attitude in this sentence?

Consider the sentence, Together with corroborant documentation, the petitioner must submit his own account of the events that he claims (that) justify the exemption. That can follow any verb ...
5
votes
3answers
437 views

“Who should be ashamed is your wife” is this ungrammatical? Why?

Is this usage common? Example: In your case, who should be ashamed is your wife. I ask because 99% of the results in Google Books are "the one who should..." or "the person who should." Maybe ...
4
votes
5answers
363 views

The film [that/which] I selected for viewing

The film that I chose for the class to watch is called The Life of Igor. The film which I chose for the class to watch is called The Life of Igor. —At the margins, are both correct? ...
4
votes
4answers
28k views

To whoever it may concern

I received a letter of confirmation for funding from an English native speaker. She started the letter with: To whoever it may concern, I am not a native speaker, but that sounds quite odd to me ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I use 'whoever' or 'whomever': “I will kill ___ despises me.” ?

I know this sentence is a little awkward. Bear with me. "I will kill whomever I despise." -- This one feels correct. However... "I will kill whoever despises me." -- Is this right? Would this one ...
4
votes
3answers
631 views

What allows the omission of subject relative pronouns?

“There’s some men wouldn’t look at a girl with a baby.” (Ken Follett, Fall of Giants) There is a young student comes here some evenings. (James Joyce, Dubliners) “That’s a smell could ...
4
votes
5answers
161 views

When “who” is an antecedent, does it need to directly touch the person it's referring to?

When who is an antecedent, does it need to directly touch the person it's referring to? For example: I called Sally, who urged me to move in with her in Texas. OR I called Sally, the mother ...
4
votes
2answers
21k views

The use of “who has” or “who have” in a sentence [duplicate]

Consider the following example: It is you who has taken the garbage out. It is you who have taken the garbage out. Does one use "has" or "have" in this sentence construction? Which of ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
958 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
3answers
641 views

Problem in adjective clauses’ grammar

I have read some grammar points about adjective clauses, but I still have problems recognizing the right choice in questions requiring them. For example: All the students ____ do well in writing. ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“Put me in touch with whomever created it”? [duplicate]

He created it. Put me in touch with him. So which is correct and why: Put me in touch with whomever created it. Put me in touch with whoever created it.
3
votes
1answer
44 views

Can “where” ever be used as the subject of a relative/adjective clause?

Here's the sentence that was confusing: He went back to Santa Monica which was his hometown. Why can't "which" be replaced with "where"? "Where" can be used as a relative pronoun, but it's ...
3
votes
1answer
30 views

Omitting Subject Relative Pronouns

Most textbooks state that subject relative pronouns cannot be omitted, e.g. A: Alan threatened Brian. B: Alan was a gangster. A+B = Alan, who was a gangster, threatened Brian. However, ...
3
votes
3answers
121 views

Relative pronoun structure beginner's question

I have 2 sentences and I have to join both in a single sentence with a relative pronoun: People visit CityA. They love to ride the cable cars. I am confused by the publisher of the question ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Singular or plural verb after “what”

Which sentence is more grammatically correct? He is being tried on what look like trumped-up charges. He is being tried on what looks like trumped-up charges.
2
votes
2answers
692 views

When are relative pronouns omitted in a sentence?

"For someone used to the tiny creatures we get in England it was something of a shock." I think, in this sentence, relative pronouns before some words have been omitted. I know rules of omitting ...
2
votes
2answers
397 views

Relative clauses: How do that-clauses differ from what-clauses?

Sometimes I can't see which clause fits the best. What "check-up" could be done to make sure which one is the right one? For example, 1) He will do anything that is needed. or He will do anything ...
2
votes
2answers
50 views

is it possible to leave out the relative pronoun “where”? [duplicate]

Look at this question: The Think Tank is the only place in the world _____ visitors have free access to this type of research. a. who b. that c. which d. Ǿ e. where f. when The answer says that ...
2
votes
1answer
298 views

Correct usage of *which* and *that* [duplicate]

I keep seeing written usage of which in cases where the writer clearly intends it to be restrictive. For example: "Is there a word which means whatever you want it to mean? Or has no meaning?" "It ...
2
votes
3answers
411 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
1answer
392 views

Choice of relative pronouns: 'who' and/or 'that' for people?

Albert Einstein is a German-born theoretical physicist. He became world-famous for his general theory of relativity. If you turn these two sentences into one, a main clause + a relative clause, you ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Why is “that” preceded by a comma in this relative clause? What does it mean?

As you know, there are two types of relative clause: Type 1 The woman who lives next door is a doctor. In this example,the relative clause tells us which person or thing (or what kind of ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Who vs. That/ Where vs. That [closed]

This is the teacher that we call "Hot Lips". This is the the place that we read many books. The examples using that instead of who and where respectively are being taught. The pronoun that refers to ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Comparative words after the subject

I'm really having trouble figuring out how to describe a clause describing a subject which contains a comparative adjective (or an adjective of equality). For example: Children [shorter than four ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

I wonder whether it is the relative pronoun

Truth be told, I never graduated from college, and this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. In this clip from Steve job's speech in Standford school, I wonder what is the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Who is” vs. “Who are” [closed]

The beginning of a title reads, *Who are doing Jehovah's Will.. which doesn’t sound correct to me. To me, *Who is doing Jehovah's Will sounds more correct. Am I wrong, or can both be used in the ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Can “which” and its antecedent be used together in a sentence for reading clarity?

Unfortunately I could not find an authentic example of the rare construct I have in mind, but I am just as sure as I am typing this question that I have read so many sentences from older prose where ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Why don't most sources classify “when”, “where”, and “why” as relative pronouns?

I am researching the use of relative pronouns and most websites, including the British Council, list only: who, whom, which, that, and whose What about here? That's the house where I grew ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

who / how / where / what

There was a question on the test that I was not sure which option was correct. The question is "Fill in the blank choosing the most appropriate word." Duke is not ( ) we think him to be. who / ...
2
votes
0answers
49 views

Use of “what” vs “that”? [duplicate]

There is a song titled "Better Not Wake the Baby" by a band called The Decemberists. One of the lines in the song is as follows: Drown yourself in crocodile tears, Curse the god what made ...
2
votes
0answers
53 views

“Whom”/“Who” in subordinate clauses [duplicate]

I've come across the following sentence in a book: “I wanted to learn everything I could about it from whomever in the country might have specialized knowledge of it.” I know that the whomever ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

Pronoun Case in Noun Phrases used as Direct Objects [duplicate]

When I have a noun phrase that contains a pronoun as a subject (of the phrase), but the noun phrase is being used as the direct object of another verb, is the pronoun in the nominative case or the ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Using “which are” or omitting it

A Korean software engineer wrote the following sentence. There are several algorithms commonly used by software developers. But his native English-speaking teacher corrected it by inserting ...
1
vote
3answers
160 views

What kind of structure with a relative pronoun is this?

As Lord Esher once noted, ‘Any proposition the result of which would be to show that the common law of England is wholly unreasonable and unjust cannot be part of the common law of England.’ ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Friends “that or who” I consider my best friends

Can I ever use that for people, or must it be who? Which one is correct? I have friends from all walks of life that I consider my best friends. I have friends from all walks of life who I ...
1
vote
3answers
829 views

Why Do English Speakers Use “Preposition + Relative Pronoun” Form?

As I'm not an English speaker, whenever I encounter "Preposition + Relative Pronoun" forms in the books, newspaper, etc., it is not that easy for me to understand right away. ... it will gain ...
1
vote
2answers
304 views

Connecting two relative clauses in one sentence

I would like to write an essay which gives information about the charts but because I am not native English speaker, when I started to write down my essay I came across the similar problems that I do ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

“What were they doing differently *that* had led to this dramatic improvement?”

What were they doing differently that had led to this dramatic improvement? I saw a sentence having the same structure as the one above. But I am not sure that this sentence is grammatically ...
1
vote
1answer
221 views

Can relative pronoun be omitted in the following sentence?

The color of house that I built is red. This sentence can be written in following way. The color of house I built is red. I can omit that, because that is indicating the house, and it is ...
1
vote
3answers
224 views

The usage of “that” as a relative pronoun

Under what condition should we use "that" as the required and ONLY relative pronoun? Please give some examples. Thanks!
1
vote
2answers
173 views

Is it possible to use the relative pronoun “which” to refer to people?

All of the grammar books I have consulted indicate that who(m)/that are the only relative pronouns to be used with people. I thought that you could use "which" when you point out a specific person ...
1
vote
1answer
286 views

omitting relative pronoun in a non-restrictive clause

We often omit relative pronouns in restrictive clauses. E.g. "I am flying to a place I love" instead of "I am flying to a place that I love." It seems ok to omit the which/who in the following. But ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Is a preposition of place required when replacing “where” with “that”?

A preposition appears to be needed when that is used in sentences such as: That's the store where I bought my computer. That's the store that I bought my computer (at?). with exceptions ...