Boys don't play with dolls that they know for a long time, unless they see another boys playing with them.

Well it means that boys sometimes boys are not interested in a girl they know for a while until they discover the girl has someone.

In this sentence, dolls is a symbol for girls. I'm a bit confused if I should use that, which or who?

(by the way, should use 'until' instead of 'unless'?)

  • a doll is a thing. I would use which. Also use have known, also other boys or another boy. Not another boys
    – mplungjan
    May 7 '11 at 10:59
  • @mplungjan can you give an answer do that I can tick it.
    – janoChen
    May 7 '11 at 11:39
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  • 1
    @janoChen: don't be in a rush to tick the first answer you get within a few minutes. Leave the question open for a day or two, then you will usually get more and better answers. Wait until no further answers seem to be immediately forthcoming. (Oh, and this is not meant as an offense to mplungjan. (^_^))
    – RegDwigнt
    May 7 '11 at 11:47
  • I am offended, @Reg. Very ;)
    – mplungjan
    May 7 '11 at 16:11

Use that where it refers to an object, and is a restrictive clause (meaning, if you left the word out of the sentence, the meaning of the sentence would change):

I want the hat that has the giant flower in the band.

Use which where it refers to an object, and is a non-restrictive clause (meaning, if you left the word out of the sentence, the meaning of the sentence wouldn't change):

I have a lovely new hat, which has a giant flower in the band.

Use who where you are referring to a person:

I saw a lady who was wearing a lovely new hat.

I'm having trouble answering your question more directly, because I can't really understand your sentence. I'm not sure whether you are referring to dolls in the sense of toys (in which case you should use that because "know for a long time" is a restrictive clause), or in the slang sense for women (in which case it should be who, and I would probably recommend that you find a less sexist term!).

  • @Loquacity it is not a slang, it is a symbol (or metaphor?).
    – janoChen
    May 7 '11 at 11:59
  • @janoChen A metaphor? So you are saying that women resemble playthings?
    – Loquacity
    May 7 '11 at 12:09
  • @Loquacity I mean not in a bad sense. More like playing in the game of seduction.
    – janoChen
    May 7 '11 at 12:13
  • @janoChen The 'game of seduction' still portrays men as the hunter and women as the hunted. Even if you disregard all the sexist ways the term 'doll' has been used to refer to women for generations, it is still offensive. I strongly recommend you find a new term.
    – Loquacity
    May 7 '11 at 13:08
  • @Loquacity I'm very far from being a sexist (towards women). I even think that women are superior than men. But I think you are right, I will look for another word.
    – janoChen
    May 7 '11 at 13:11


Boys don't play with girls they have known for a long time, unless they see other boys playing with them.

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