What's the difference between "that which" and "what"?

Which of the following sentences is correct, and how (if at all) do they differ?

We only want to free technology from that which makes it inhuman.
We only want to free technology from what makes it inhuman.

(example from Return to Order ch. 10, penultimate ¶)


2 Answers 2


There's no difference in actual meaning.

"that which" is more formal, appropriate in traditional or literary writing.

"what" is good for everyday use, especially in speech.


I think I can be of a little help to you.

When you have a range of options to choose from, you use which. When you choose from unlimited available options you use what.

I am not sure about it thought.

I remember my teacher say "No two sentences are the same in meaning.'

Hope that helped.

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