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  1. #1
    mas94010 Guest

    Default relative clauses

    1.When do you use "whom" and when do you use "who" in American English? Are they interchangeable in some cases? If so, is it a matter of being formal/informal or do you use "who" for speech and "whom" for writing?
    2. When do you use "that" and "which"? Are they interchangeable? Is it a matter of being formal/ informal, or speech vs. writing?
    3. Is it incorrect to say or write:
    There's the man whom gave us a lift.
    There's the man that gave us a lift.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    1- I'm a British English speaker, so you'll have to wait for an American to check this, but 'who'is subject and'whom'object. However, 'whom'is often replaced by 'who', though when it comes directly after a preposition, it must be 'whom'. 'Whom' is more used in formal English. Many speakers never use it.

    2- This is what an American poster said:
    If you are asking about that versus which as relative pronouns, there is some difference bewteen American English and British English.

    In AE, we tend to use "that" in restrictive/defining relative clauses -- those that are necessary for the sentence's meaning. We use "which" for non-defining/non-restrictive relative clauses -- those that simply add additional information. Non-defining/non-restrictive clauses are set off from the rest of the sentence with commas.

    In BE, they use either "that" or "which" for restrictive clauses and only "which" for non-restrictive clauses.

    AE: New York is the US city that hosts the United Nations.
    BE: New York is the US city that/which hosts the United Nations.

    Both: New York City, which has 8 million residents, hosts the United Nations.

    3- They are both correct, but 'whom'is more formal.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    1- I'm a British English speaker, so you'll have to wait for an American to check this, but 'who'is subject and'whom'object. However, 'whom'is often replaced by 'who', though when it comes directly after a preposition, it must be 'whom'. 'Whom' is more used in formal English. Many speakers never use it.

    2- This is what an American poster said:
    If you are asking about that versus which as relative pronouns, there is some difference bewteen American English and British English.

    In AE, we tend to use "that" in restrictive/defining relative clauses -- those that are necessary for the sentence's meaning. We use "which" for non-defining/non-restrictive relative clauses -- those that simply add additional information. Non-defining/non-restrictive clauses are set off from the rest of the sentence with commas.

    In BE, they use either "that" or "which" for restrictive clauses and only "which" for non-restrictive clauses.

    AE: New York is the US city that hosts the United Nations.
    BE: New York is the US city that/which hosts the United Nations.

    Both: New York City, which has 8 million residents, hosts the United Nations.

    3- They are both correct, but 'whom'is more formal.
    Thanks for citing me! :wink:

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