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That vs. Which : FAQs • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

That vs. Which

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
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MookyMcD
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Re: That vs. Which

Postby MookyMcD » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:07 pm

I agree "that" is very often unnecessary. Unfortunately, I agree with that a lot more when editing than I appeared to when writing. :oops:

On the difference, though, if you don't know the difference between a dependent clause and an independent clause, you're going to have more problems than "that." All you really need to know is "that" for dependent and "which" for independent and you'll be right well over 95% of the time.

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DrG2
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Re: That vs. Which

Postby DrG2 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:00 pm


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MookyMcD
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Re: That vs. Which

Postby MookyMcD » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:40 am

You're going to be hard pressed to find a time "that" or "which" is being used this way (basically, to explain the noun) that it is not a relative clause, and that restrictive/nonrestrictive distinction translates to dependent/independent clause pretty cleanly. I was just trying to provide a much simpler way of looking at the rule that's right about 95% of the time.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: That vs. Which

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:04 am

I don't like methods that are only 95% correct. There are easy to understand rules that are accurate one hundred percent of the time. It's also true that many do not understand these rules, but there's never a better time to learn all you need to know about grammar than right now.

Having said this, some pretty good writers out there couldn't begin to tell the difference between a dependent clause and an independent clause. And a restrictive relative clause? Not a chance. They don't even know what an adjective is, and sometimes can't even find the verb in a sentence. They picked up all they know about grammar and punctuation from reading, and don't know any of the terms. Such writers may write very well, but do have problem areas, such as "that" versus "which", or "who" versus "whom". and for such writers, a ninety-five percent rule is better than none at all, except they probably won't understand it, either.

If a writer lacks grammar knowledge, he needs to start learning at whatever point his lack of knowledge starts. Otherwise, it's like dropping a third grader in a college math class. He won't even understand the language of the math, what the symbols even mean, let alone be able to use those symbols to solve a math problem.

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