EVERYTHING (ALMOST) YOU WANTED TO KNOW (WHO WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF?), BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK. I am totally html inept, but will do my best to keep this blog supplied with plenty of syntax junk. The main aim here is to help my students (my future colleagues, in fact) come to grips with the syntax of English, even if they can't stand it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WHICH and THAT

WHICH and THAT are often confusing. Basically, WHICH is used when referring to the previous sentence (this often carries an abstract idea), while THAT usually refers to the previous noun.

e.g. HE DELETED THE PICTURE, WHICH UPSET ME.
- The fact he deleted it made me feel bad. (There is a tendency in English to use WHICH in non-restrictive adjective clauses)

e.g. HE DELETED THE PICTURE THAT UPSET ME.
- The picture upset me. (There is a tendency in English to use THAT in restrictive adjective clauses).

3 Comments:

Blogger maddie said...

I use "which" when the first clause in the sentence is able to stand on its own as a complete sentence. I don't use "which" to refer to a preceding sentence--only a preceding clause. I use "that" when the preceding clause cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence.

My question is, "Must one always insert a comma after the last word in a clause preceding 'which'?"

11:36 PM

 
Blogger maddie said...

I use "which" when the first clause in the sentence is able to stand on its own as a complete sentence. I don't use "which" to refer to a preceding sentence--only a preceding clause. I use "that" when the preceding clause cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence.

My question is, "Must one always insert a comma after the last word in a clause preceding 'which'?"

11:36 PM

 
Blogger maddie said...

I don't usually repeat myself.

11:37 PM

 

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