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  1. #1
    Allthatjazznj Guest

    Default A Figure "Who" or "That"

    Which is better, "He is prominent figure who..." or "He is a prominent figure that..."?

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    Default Re: A Figure "Who" or "That"

    Quote Originally Posted by Allthatjazznj
    Which is better, "He is prominent figure who..." or "He is a prominent figure that..."?
    Conversationally, both 'who' and 'that' are used. Traditionally, though, it's 'who' that's used.

    Question: Who is a prominent figure?
    Answer: He is. (Person)

    1. He is a prominent figure who.... :D

  3. #3
    Allthatjazznj Guest

    Default Re: A Figure "Who" or "That"

    Thanks, Casiopea! That was my hunch, but it's great to get word from the moderator. I am new to this forum (found via Google). Was a devotee of dictionary.com's forum but can no longer access it. I'm a wordsmith of sorts and used to read dictionaries as a hobby. I'm presently copyediting a book on art history and was stumped by the who/that usage in this case.


    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by Allthatjazznj
    Which is better, "He is prominent figure who..." or "He is a prominent figure that..."?
    Conversationally, both 'who' and 'that' are used. Traditionally, though, it's 'who' that's used.

    Question: Who is a prominent figure?
    Answer: He is. (Person)

    1. He is a prominent figure who.... :D

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: A Figure "Who" or "That"

    Quote Originally Posted by Allthatjazznj
    Which is better, "He is prominent figure who..." or "He is a prominent figure that..."?
    Hi, Stephen.

    I agree with Cas, that most people prefer "who" when referring to a person. When the person is not referred to by name or association (John, brother), "that" can often be substituted. This is particular true when discussing a profession or a skill (plumber, third baseman, etc.).

    :wink:

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    RonBee's Avatar
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    As Mike stated, I would use who when referring to a specific person, but I might use that when referring to a nonspecific person or one whose identity is not known.

    :)

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    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    As Mike stated, I would use who when referring to a specific person, but I might use that when referring to a nonspecific person or one whose identity is not known.

    :)
    :wink:

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