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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • That vs. Which : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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That vs. Which

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:22 pm
by rjas2112
I have a pedantic grammatical question.

When is it appropriate to use "that" in the nominative, and when is it appropriate to use "which?"

For instance, "The shovel which he had used to dig the grave was leaning in the corner." or "The shovel that he had used to dig the grave was leaning in the corner."

Is there even any difference, or can the two be used interchangeably?

Thanks.

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:51 am
by pls
There are rules governing the use of "that" and "which", but I cheat and depend upon Microsoft Word to remind me which one is appropriate.

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:53 am
by TerryRodgers
Grammar Girl all the way, although I'm the same as Paul.


Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:03 am
by mammamaia
just google 'that vs which' and you'll find all the info you need...

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:03 pm
by DrG2

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:15 am
by James A. Ritchie
The shovel he used to dig the grave was leaning in the corner.

Grammar girl nails it, but first make sure you need that or which.

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:01 am
by onceuponwednesday
There's always who.

The boy, who had long hair, volunteered to be shaved first.

The boy who had long hair volunteered to be shaved first.

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:39 pm
by James A. Ritchie

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:12 pm
by DrG2
Strunk and White have an excellent example (involving, iirc, a horse in a paddock). It's hard to write good examples, but here's my attempt.

The puppy that is in the tall grass is going home with me.
(I'd use this in a situation where puppies were scattered about, but only one was in the tall grass).

The puppy, which is in the tall grass, is going home with me.
(here I'm merely telling you where the puppy is.)

these examples are less than perfect, because you could delete "that is" or "which is" without loss of clarity.

Re: That vs. Which

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:09 am
by James A. Ritchie