Results 1 to 7 of 7
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Danish
      • Home Country:
      • Denmark
      • Current Location:
      • Denmark

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 26
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    that or which?

    Anyone who can help me with this one?

    Which is the more correct sentence?

    I had never heard of the movie that he gave me
    I had never heard of the movie which he gave me

    And why?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 52,425
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: that or which?

    In British English, you can use both forms.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 670
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: that or which?

    A long time ago, both would have been used. Nowadays, we tend to use one or the other. Which one we use is arbitrary. You can still find uses of 'that which' together:

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    What is your favorite part (of the movie), that which you feel came best together?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,135
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: that or which?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    A long time ago, both would have been used. Nowadays, we tend to use one or the other. Which one we use is arbitrary. You can still find uses of 'that which' together:

    Never attribute to malice1 that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    What is your favorite part (of the movie),2 that which you feel came best together?
    Note that that which cannot be used together in the two examples given by tbensen.

    In those defining relative clauses, as Tdol wrote, "In British English, you can use both forms". (in the sense of either)

    In non-defining relative clauses, only who (for people) and which( for things) can be used:

    The movie, which I found very interesting, was new to me.


    Pedroski is actually referring to a different type of construcion.

    that which is possible in #1 above, though many speakers would use what here.

    In ~2, that which sounds very strange to me. I feel that the one that (or, possibly, the one which) is more likely.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 21,533
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: that or which?

    'Which is the more correct sentence?'

    I had never heard of the movie that he gave me.
    I had never heard of the movie which he gave me.
    You can use either or neither:

    'I had never heard of the movie he gave me.'

    Rover

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,267
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: that or which?

    Quote Originally Posted by tbentsen77 View Post
    Anyone who can help me with this one?

    Which is the more correct sentence?

    I had never heard of the movie that he gave me
    I had never heard of the movie which he gave me

    And why?

    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********


    Tbentsen,


    Some people like to follow this "rule":

    Use "that" if the information is absolutely necessary; use "which"

    if the information is not -- if it is only a nice but unnecessary addition

    to your sentence.


    *****


    Tom, Joe, and Martha each gave you a DVD. When you next see

    Martha, you say:

    The DVD that you gave me was really interesting. Don't tell Tom and

    Joe, but their DVDs were really boring.

    As you can see, the clause that you gave me is absolutely

    essential to identify which DVD was interesting. If you said only

    "The DVD was really interesting," one would not be 100% certain that

    you were referring to Martha's DVD -- not Tom's or Joe's.

    Another example:

    The newspapers that are published in London are very attractive

    and well-written. The clause in bold is essential identification information.

    I am referring to papers in London, not in X, where the papers may not be

    so well designed or written.

    *****

    Now let's say that you see Martha a week later.

    Martha: What's wrong. You look so sad?

    You: The DVD, which you gave me last week, has been stolen.

    or

    I have lost the DVD, which you gave me last week.

    In either answer, the clause is something like a reminder to Martha.

    It is not necessary information. If you did not say those words,

    Martha would still know that you were referring to the DVD that she

    gave to you last week.

    You may wish to think of this use of "which" as something like a

    parentheses -- something extra:

    The DVD (which you gave me last week) has been stolen.
    I have lost the DVD (which you gave me last week).

    In writing, one usually uses commas -- a sign that the

    following information is not essential and can be discarded.

    P.S. Of course, if Martha had given you two DVDs, one last

    week and one yesterday, then you would have to say:

    The DVD that you gave me last week has been stolen.
    I have lost the DVD that you gave me last week.

    The information is essential because you want Martha to know that it

    was last week's DVD -- not the one that she gave you yesterday.


    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

  2. lauralie2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 774
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: that or which?

    Quote Originally Posted by tbentsen77 View Post
    Anyone who can help me with this one?

    Which is the more correct sentence?

    I had never heard of the movie that he gave me
    I had never heard of the movie which he gave me

    And why?
    To my ears, "which he gave me" sounds different, but not all that ungrammatical.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •