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49

Well, the difference is slight but real. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary: In U.S. English, it is usually recommended that which be employed only for nonrestrictive (or nonessential) clauses: : the horse, which is in the paddock, is six years old (the : which clause contains a nonessential fact, noted in passing; the horse would be six ...


48

That and which are interchangeable when introducing integrated relative clauses. Although some grammar mavens (i.e., people who hold forth on such topics but know little or nothing about linguistics) and copy editors will insist otherwise, the rule is completely bogus. See, for instance, Language Log on that vs which, written by the co-editor of The ...


30

It is grammatical, but it is indeed extremely jarring. It is (to me at least) just as jarring (if not more so) to say *Remember me, who is your friend. A much better way to express the idea is to say Remember me, your friend. On what basis do I say that it is grammatical, if it is so jarring? It is usual, in formal English, to make the verb in ...


18

The Original Poster's Question 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. Both that and which can be used with restrictive relative clauses. A third possibility, is dropping the relative word altogether when the verb in the relative clause ...


16

Well, no. The sentence which you quoted must be a typo of: We’re now going to move on to words whose first letter originates on the top row. for the following two reasons. The word “who” only refers to living beings. For non-living beings, “which” is used instead. The word “who’s” is the contraction of either “who is” or “who has”, but either way, “...


15

Generally, "that" goes with restrictive clauses - those where the information provided in the clause is necessary to identify the subject: "The beer that belongs to me" (as opposed to all other beers in the world). "Which" goes with non-restrictive clauses - those which give information but which do not define the subject: "The beer, which was a little warm,...


15

Actually, there's more to this than the above. The word that is a subordinator; it is not a relative word like who, where, when, or which. Even in integrated relative clauses, they are not always interchangeable. When the relative construction follows a fronted preposition, only relative words will do, so relative pronoun which is available, but that isn't. ...


14

That is restrictive, it limits / restricts / specifies the identity of the subject. Using your example, the bear that scratches his head refers to one specific bear -- "the bear that scratches his head". Which is non-restrictive, meaning it refers to something incidental about the subject. "Consider the bear, which scratches its head" refers to the bear (...


13

Whose is the way to go here. Merriam-Webster defines it as follows: of or relating to whom or which especially as possessor or possessors Which wouldn't work, because it doesn't indicate possession. It would work, however, if the phrase read: I am looking for elements which are relatively large (in size). As to the "size is" vs "sizes are", I ...


12

Whom would be wrong in your example; it should be who. The reason is that a relative pronoun functions as part of the relative clause, not of the main clause. Don't let the question mark fool you: who is a relative pronoun here, not an interrogative one. Are you comfortable with [the person] who he is? This shows the structure of your sentence a ...


12

The first one is correct in formal and informal contexts. The second sentence would not be used by a native speaker. The reason is that there is a difference in the way that English handles wh-words, when they are in the main clause vs. when they are in the embedded clause. The structure also depends on whether the wh-word is the subject or the object in ...


11

They are interchangeable. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/that 1 a : the person, thing, or idea indicated, mentioned, or understood from the situation b : the time, action, or event specified c : the kind or thing specified as follows d : one or a group of the indicated kind Beware of grammar books. They very often describe the authors' ...


11

There were 10 people who went to the store. There were 10 people who had brown hair. Who refers to people. That and which refer to groups or things. (grammarbook)


11

In both of the examples in which that is optional, the relative pronoun is the object of the embedded clause. Long books [that] religious people like tend to be Bibles. [Religious people like long books.] Water tanks [that] fish need are spacious. [Fish need water tanks.] In your other examples, the relative pronoun is the subject of the embedded ...


11

This use of who (as a subject relative pronoun without an antecedent noun phrase) is almost obsolete. It was so used in older English, and survives in a few proverbs and quotations, such as: Who steals my purse steals trash. (William Shakespeare, Othello) But it is likely to confuse people if you use it today. Edit: Oddly, what is still used in this ...


10

It's not the most authoritative/formal source ever, but the grammar book Woe is I provides an easily remembered rule of thumb that has stuck with me through the years: "Commas, which cut out the fat, go with which, never with that."


10

The word you need is whose.


10

I would avoid the "for which" entirely and opt for a more straightforward version of the story: Last night I went to the theatre to see a play with X. Before that, my cousin joined us for dinner at a nearby pub.


9

Indeed, whose is the (only) correct possessive form, for both animate (sentient) and inanimate objects. The Wikipedia page supports this. In addition, the possessive version of the non-sentient pronouns is the same as that of who: whose takes this role for all of them. E.g., "I will have to fix the car whose engine I ruined".


9

Google ngrams shows "people who" being twice as common as "people that" around 1820, and increasing ever since while "people that" stays flat. "The man who/that" and "The person who/that" show similar patterns. So, "who" is certainly more common than "that" in reference to people, and certainly there are authorities who say "that" is wrong, as you have ...


9

No, that is wrong. It should be whoever, because it is the subject of whoever has the pleasure. Don’t be distracted by the for: it’s just a decoy, for the entire clause is its object, not just the next word.


9

Whose is the right relative pronoun to use, but the placement of the relative clause makes it awkward and incorrect. Relative clauses typically closely follow their referents: Peter, whose parents were from Japan and India, was born in England in 1982. Alternatively, you could try to subordinate the other clause like so: Peter, who was born in ...


8

In this particular case, either 'which' or 'that' is grammatical. In general, 'which' and 'that' are interchangeable when referring to something inanimate. The main restriction is that that is not usually used to introduce a so-called "non-restrictive relative" (essentially, relative clauses where a pause is obligatory between the relative clause and the ...


8

There are two types of English relative clause. Their traditional names are defining (or restrictive) and non-defining (or non-restrictive). ‘The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language’ uses the terms integrated and supplementary, which seem to me to explain their difference more clearly. Integrated relative clauses are essential to the meaning of a ...


8

The answer is that it has to be whoever, because the relative pronoun takes the case of the function it serves in the subordinate clause. That whole clause is “whoever is writing it”, where whoever is the subject. Swap in he-vs-him on things like this to see which one works right: you would never say *him is writing it, so it cannot be whomever. No, this ...


8

You are correct, the relative clause is misplaced. It should be placed thus: Peter, whose parents were from Japan and India, was born in England in 1982. To maintain the given sequence of topics, you need to break it into coordinated clauses; the best coordinator here would be a point, either a semicolon or a period. Peter was born in England in ...


8

Some of the style guides that I have are categorical in claiming that the plural verb is correct in such constructions as: One of the things that makes/make him great is he brings it every night. Follet in Modern American Usage (p298) states: These words (one of the [plural noun] who .. ) introduce the most widespread of all defiances of ...


7

If you want to know when you can omit that it is essential that you first understand the different functions of the word. In your examples, the that in the following sentences introduces an object clause: I recommend that you take my advice. I know that you are correct. Similar examples are: I hope that you have a happy Christmas. I ...


6

Grammatically, both are equally correct, but stylistically, the second construction can be used for greater effect. For example: I was walking down the street with my mom when she got hit by a truck. He was playing piano when he dropped dead. Compare that with: My mom got hit by a truck when we were walking down the street. He dropped ...


6

Both are correct; you would choose according to context. The first suggests that the fall is the topic (i.e. you are explaining the circumstances of a fall, for example to a doctor) while the second suggests his play is the topic (you are describing his play in the field, and mention the fall as the next event in a sequence.) The ambiguity of the sentence ...



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