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    #1

    that/ which

    Since I haven't decided on a major, she had me take one of those tests that show you what you're most interested in.
    She also had me do one of those personality inventories that tell you what kind of person you are.
    I also found out that I'm most interested in things that involve being on the stage and performing in some way, which doesn't surprise me a bit.
    My advisor is a lady who is also from Winnipeg, so we had something that we could talk about.
    Can we use which in place of that in all the above sentences. If no why not? Somewhere I read for example we don't use which after something, anything, the only thing .... That 's why I asked this question.
    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: that/ which

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
    Since I haven't decided on a major, she had me take one of those tests that show you what you're most interested in.
    She also had me do one of those personality inventories that tell you what kind of person you are.
    I also found out that I'm most interested in things that involve being on the stage and performing in some way, which doesn't surprise me a bit.
    My advisor is a lady who is also from Winnipeg, so we had something that we could talk about.
    Can we use which in place of that in all the above sentences. If no why not? Somewhere I read for example we don't use which after something, anything, the only thing .... That 's why I asked this question.
    Thanks

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Many native speakers also ask this question.

    (2) Here in the United States, many (not all) native speakers

    follow this rule:

    that for a restrictive clause (one that points out a specific

    person, thing, idea, etc.) If you omit (erase) the clause, the idea

    of your sentence is not what you wish to express.

    which for a non-restrictive clause (one that gives an extra explanation

    but is not absolutely necessary to the meaning that you wish to

    express).

    (3) Mr. Walter K. Smart's English Review Grammar gives these

    examples:

    Any house that is burned will be rebuilt.

    (If you delete (erase) "that is burned," you get: Any house will be

    rebuilt. Now that is not true. Only a house that is burned will be

    rebuilt. The other houses will not be rebuilt. Therefore, the clause

    is restrictive. Some books use the word "defining.") Mr. Smart

    reminds us that some speakers would feel comfortable using

    "which" here. I believe that most American teachers prefer "that"

    for restrictive clauses.

    Chicago, which is the metropolis of the Middle West, is a great

    industrial center.

    If we delete the clause, we get: Chicago is a great industrial center.

    And that is our main idea. ("Which is the metropolis of the Middle

    West" is interesting but not necessary to the meaning that we wish

    to express.) So that clause is non-restrictive.

    *****


    (4) I have a suspicion that many teachers will say that "which" is

    also fine in your sentences. And, of course, you must accept their

    answers as the correct ones. Personally, however, I would use

    "that" in all of your sentences. In other words, if a clause does

    NOT need commas, use "that." If it needs commas, use "which."


    Respectfully yours,


    James

  1. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: that/ which

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    In other words, if a clause does
    NOT need commas, use "that." If it needs commas, use "which."


    Respectfully yours,


    James
    I am not a teacher nor a native speaker

    I think that's extraordinary simple rule can help you manage. I, myself, use this rule as well. I wish there were more explanations like that in the books I read!

    Thank you, James, for sharing a great tip.

    Thanks,

    Alex.

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